Historian Stuart Ewen proposes his idea that the history of style in his essay, “The Marriage between Art and Commerce”, is the crucial turning point of what shapes our culture and everyday life. Ewen’s concept of style in the 19th – 20th century is a combination of modern art and a business device. He describes the uses of symbolic forms of art, as to mainly sustain and promote consumption in the interests of the corporations when he states, “styling and style obsolescence come to the forefront as methods designed to stimulate markets, and keep them stimulated” (211).
Ewen’s perception of style carries on to this day, as big companies during the super ball break on television, challenge the advertising industry. Pepsi-Cola is an example of such an Industry that invested in a two million dollar spot for a 30-second creative commercial flick. This year Pepsi is promoting the stylish pop star Britney Spears, mainly to target the desire of their beverages in the youth’s minds and define their trademark for all generations.
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Ewen introduces a different aspect of style when he specified that, “Advertising not only sought to inform people about the availability and appeal of industrially produced goods, it is also contributed to a reconstructed perception of the resources and alternatives available to people in everyday lives. (204)” It is evident that in Ewens’s mind, a “…reconstructed perception” is recreating a misleading image to recognize these basic mass-produced goods as separate identities with voluptuous themes.
These themes are supposedly used by the corporate businesses to deceit the mentality of the buyer into believing that stylish looks are the main credentials of the goods they buy. This aspect of Style thrives on constantly new up to date ideas that come and go in a snap of an eye blink. It has been beneficial to the industries and markets at the expanse of the consumers, who are cheated into buying unnecessary products just for an up-to-date look.
Therefore it is visible that Ewen is old-fashioned and is fumed with this new vision of style that has absorbed in our culture in the 1900s. Pepsi-Cola demonstrates their advertisements in a reconstructed theme, with a time clip of Britney Spears travelling through Pepsi’s generations. They use Britney Spears, to modernize an up to date Pepsi image with a creative twist to keep their consumers interested in their trademark. In one of the clip shots, she is in the 50’s diner scene sipping on Pepsi.
We then see her dancing on the beach, wearing a giant blond wig in the ’60s with a classic Pepsi in her hand. The next clip after she turns into a 70’s hippie chic with her hair braided and wearing a bright glowing outfit. Later she is recreated in an old commercial acting as Robert Palmer. Last, of all, she does the modern scene of the ’90s with her dancers.
Britney Spears as a performer and singer brings alive and reassures the viewers that Pepsi kept its traditional freshly pleasing, and crispy taste over decades. The historical flick of Pepsi’s generations is an interesting theme to catch a large variety of audiences who grew up during these decades and can reflect back to their old days. It also signifies the vast variety of fashion trends that were established in one decade and flourished over another. As Ewen puts it, “style is something used up” (212), it’s a continual never-ending repetitive process that “Part of its significance is that it will lose significance” (212). Pepsi tries to convince the audience instead of the opposing view, that their beverage quality and taste has been preserved over years, unlike fashion trends.
Using Britney Spears as their model, who signifies fame, popularity, beauty and in style music artist, Pepsi draws attention from the majority of the population in the U.S. As an end result Pepsi creates itself a recognizable logo. As Ewen mentioned, advertising is, “the prime means of acclaim” (206). Pepsi will most likely stand out in the consumer’s mind when they shop for a drink. Some adults may even find Pepsi trendier to drink since Britney Spears drank it. Ewen amplifies Calkins’s point of view, “art contained enormous powers of suggestion”(207). Ewen describes Stylish art as the most important approach to selling a product, and if that particular style is offset, all other qualities will be disregarded in the judgment of the shopper. As a result, some consumers may choose the trendier factor of Pepsi-cola over the taste of Coca-Cola.
Furthermore, Ewen explained Egmont Aren’s notion of “consumer engineering” (206), to describe what went into complex proportioned commodities with great exertion. Ewen described the importance of, “intimacy and the link between style and profitability.” The same resemblance between style and profits is revealed when Pepsi advertised through the use of comic time clips, the distinctive stylish fashion wardrobes on Britney spears worn in every decade. The wardrobes deviated in fabrics and designs through the course of each decade. Pepsi-Cola has also formed an interactive website, where you can design scripts and logos added to your own Pepsi cans. It also allows you to add pictures of Britney Spears and a choice of other famous singers and celebrities. All this promotion is done to inspire and catch the attention of their customers to their individually assembled Pepsi products and new flavours invented for their beverages. Ewen illustrated the comments associated to styled products, that Walter Lippmann made, “the flowering of advertising as a sign that businessmen were attempting to take charge of consumption as well as production” (205).
As a result Pepsi also hopes through distinctive creativity put into their goods and commercials their customers continue to shop in their chain brand of products and attract new customers to increase sales. Ewens mentioned, “beauty is introduced into material objects to enhance them in the eyes of the purchaser(208)”. Pepsi has also introduced beauty by expanding its horizons with the music industry and sponsoring beautiful women pop stars such as Britney Spears, Shakira and talk hostess of MTV Anada Lewis. Many children make these famous stars their idols and are inspired to see the Pepsi trade mark commercializing on their favourite celebrities.
A number of videos these stars perform in, and commercials they advertise for Pepsi, emphasize the beauty of young youth and their talents. Pepsi-Cola targets its beverages to the younger adults who seem satisfied with the stylish logo and taste of Pepsi. Pepsi also is shown to be approved by the older generation of grown-ups, and elder adults, seen in the astonishing time clip.
Ewen analyzed the studies from the 20th century of psychoanalysis and behaviour psychology. He argued, “Style spoke to the unconscious, to those primal urges and sensations that are repressed in the everyday confines of civilization (209)”. Pepsi in are modern generation uses advertisement to expose hidden exotic impulses. Pepsi- Cola just as well uses similar approaches, “to emotion, desire, and the unconscious” as Ewen theorized. Britney Spears is recognized as a desirable sexual figure in the music industry. Many of her outfits she performs on stage reveal her bare body, and sheer nakedness.
When Pepsi turned Britney into their main commercial icon and a performer for their Pepsi trademark, they just as well brought along her exposed sex symbol to the industry. Ewen expressed Harold Van Doren’s analysis on design as a, “fundamentally the art of using lines, forms, tones, colours and textures to arouse an emotional reaction in the beholder.” Pepsi as well conveyed an erotic appeal, and arousing seduction to the eyes of the viewers, in the art of Britney Spears.
Pepsi-Cola as a result has the means to satisfy the consumer’s craving power and thirst. For this reason, Pepsi has the “simplification and control (210)” the same ideas establishing, “Modern Design” as Ewen pointed out. Just through Pepsi’s soft touch of seductive imagery seen in their commercials, they are able to use voice, and music to intensify their audience’s sexual arousal lurking in the unconscious. Therefore they may inspire the individual. In this sensual condition, they are able to control the viewer’s motives and responses to a degree.
Ewen Stuart’s impression of, “Americanism” is a culture full of exposed rotten imageries of mass-produced products, advertised through thousands of channels in effect to gain recognition, and in a moment later blinked away. His observations and sarcastic measurements are linked to the materialistic economy. Ewen’s approach to style is simple, it’s the means of consumption and decay. Pepsi-cola is an example of a trendy advertised product that illustrates the recipe of art and commerce. Pepsi’s advertisements may captivate the attention of their viewers at the present moment but only to be ancient history in the next.
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