The Shape of America As marketing strategies have evolved, they have enhanced the ability of advertisers to communicate to the 'masses' more effectively than ever before. This ability has allowed advertisers to not only reach more markets, but to be more influential in the decision making process of the audience. American society, especially young women, is being influenced by advertisers more now than in previous generations. It is not by accident that teenagers and young adults are targeted by advertisers, especially since their purchasing power as a group exceeds that of any other consumer group.

Not only have advertisers learned to identify specific products that appeal to men and women, but they have also found that the 'want' of the consumer can be turned into a 'need' for the advertised product. Many of the beauty product companies advertise their products as a 'need' which ultimately appeals to a vast majority of women. Estee Lauder's beauty product is one such advertiser. In an August 2004 issue of Vogue magazine, enclosed was a two-page ad campaign intended to sell Estee Lauder's "Future Perfect Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Moisturizers SPF." This advertisement is appealing to the consumer because it stresses the importance of remaining young by the use of this product. This advertisement then goes further to stress that, "The past is forgiven, the present is improved, and the future will be perfect." This advertisement includes three alluring models, all of which are of different ethnicity but essentially have the same physical attributes.

This image is used to appeal to all sorts of American women. The models all have famished bodies; this includes their angular, somewhat gaunt faces and protruding collarbones. Located right below this image is the company's slogan which reads, "ESTEE LAUDER. Defining Beauty." The attempt is made with this advertisement to define beauty with images of starved and malnourished models which Estee Lauder claims to be the standard for beauty. Estee Lauder is presenting its view of beauty to the consumer as the defining truth. The issue with the advertisement is the acceptance by the consumer that the Estee Lauder definition of beauty is truthful and factual.

The targeted audience for this advertisement is women of all ages. Beauty is something extremely important to women and is constantly being reinforced in the society of today. Very few women are confident and satisfied with their appearance. Society only needs to examine the polling done by CNN when the question, "Are you satisfied with your appearance?" was presented to a group of women between the ages of 18 and 30. Over 55% responded negatively to this question (CNN. com).

This Estee Lauder advertisement was created to persuade women to 'perfect' their appearance. The problem lies in the defining of beauty as seen by Estee Lauder. The models in the ad are all appealing to both the mental and visual senses. However, the models in the advertisement are anything but your normal woman. The consumer must decide if the definition of beauty rests in the hands of Estee Lauder. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or in the eye of the advertising agency? Estee Lauder not only creates an unrealistic definition, but they also pass these models off as being the standard for beauty and the look that women need.

As long as the consumers buy into the Estee Lauder advertisement, then and only then, is Estee Lauder's definition of beauty validated. By starting out the advertisement with, "Can you change the destiny of your skin," it reinforces that people are not satisfied with the way they are; they need this product to become beautiful. When Estee Lauders professes that the past is forgiven, the present is improved, and the future will be perfect, the reader is being conditioned to wonder if they too are or can become beautiful. According to this claim, consumers were previously inadequate when compared to culture standards, but now it is made possible by Estee Lauder's 'future perfect' product to become beautiful. Are advertisements impacting our culture? Of course they are! Society must define beauty in its own way and not be so gullible as to accept the definition provided by a company that is trying to sell us its products. Beauty should be defined by the individual and not by an advertising group or company that is looking to maximize profits through the sale of their products.

Why would advertisements on television cost so much and companies compete for advertising spots on television if they were not effective? Companies do not frivolously spend advertising dollars without expecting the "biggest bang for the buck." Advertising is not going away. Companies will continue to "court" the consumer with their slogans and promises as long as the advertisements are successful. The individual has to decide if the advertisement is valid or not and if he / she is going to buy into the advertiser's standards. The shape of America should not be defined by an advertising agency's slogans, but rather in the consumer and their ability to analyze and make their own decisions. Why would any American wish to conform to societal standards? Women are constantly comparing themselves to these air-brushed, tanned models in these advertisements. Of course these women are not 'real' women, but far to often do women take drastic measures look like these fashion models; this eventually will lead to eating disorders or severe depression.

According to Natural Health magazine, 44% of women who are average or underweight think that they are overweight. The average woman's dress size is 12 and the average mannequin / model 's dress size is 4 (NBC. com); this makes women feel as if they will never be good enough. According to Melissa Rafter y, 'When we open a magazine, we never see some 400-pound woman on the first page. Instead we see a woman who is 23% skinnier that the average American woman' (What Is Beauty? ). Unfortunately, Estee Lauder is not the only beauty product company that puts forth this "definition of Beauty" and beauty product companies are not the only companies "defining beauty." As long as the targeted market continues to buy into the advertisers "perfection line," the advertisers will continue to deceive the public.

For those who are gullible enough to believe this line of advertising, Estee Lauder ensures confidence and beauty all in one product. After all, their slogan does read, "ESTEE LAUDER. Defining Beauty!".