Consumer Liberation


Consumer Liberation – Fiction or Fantasy?

Globally ad agencies have long stood faithful to the view that “sex sells.” And frankly, it does. Carl’s Junior Burger lovers everywhere will attest that after seeing Paris Hilton scantily clad washing a car while tucking into a cheeseburger, the cholesterol forming artery clogging sandwich took on a whole new sexier appeal, despite its ill effects.

Whilst gawking at the locked threshold to Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, creative directors in the Arab world have often pushed their culturally acceptable limits to promote products endorsed by the regions less conservative icons – think Haifa Wahaby, Nancy Ajram, etc.

Today, however, something interesting is happening with the way that creative’s in and outside of the Arab World are coalescing sexual appeal and products, reflecting the more conservative tastes attune for local consumption.

French photographer, Jean Baptiste Mondino, always tells a compelling story through his sexified avant-garde images. Jean Baptist transposed his story telling flair southward to depict an image of a conservative Arab women in his own special risqué way. The result was a futuristic seeming landscape of completely covered women wearing the niqab clutching the latest handbags.

I’m not entirely certain that the images portray the sexy version of an outwardly conservative woman, but shortfalls are compensated with allure. Kohl lined eyes draw the gazer in, while another dark sheered silhouette strides across the page. Yet, the most interesting of these spreads, are the grouped women clutching bags. This ad seems to have shifted the paradigm of selling products through sex, to selling products through liberation. The idea of constraint, being covered and being protected is juxtaposed against the idea of feeling stylish and free through possession – rather than being.

However you may interpret these images, whether positively or negatively, we can agree on a commonality – the images are engrossing. Peculiar – certainly; sexy – the reviews vary; creative – absolutely.

Whereas other cultures have raked in millions by associating products to, say, the libido, the Arab ad industry has paved new ground reinterpreting the science of appeal by raising claim that we don’t just want to look sexy, but we want to be free too – or at least feel as though we are.


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