Women Studies

Modern media actively apply different sexual images to attract customers. In particular, the following paper focuses on the using of scenes with people of the same gender. However, the intentions of media are not as clear as they look from the first sight. Thus, despite claims about undermining heteronormativity, there are also arguments that such media images make the opposite: specifically, they reinforce heteronormativity. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to investigate the real intentions of the media that use these homosexual images in their campaigns. The research is conducted on the example of Angel champagne billboards presented on the streets of Los Angeles. To be more precise, there is a detailed description of the media image and the analyses of the things depicted on it. Then, the implicit images as well as the hidden message to customers are studied.

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To begin with, the billboard advertises a premium-class Angel champagne that is one of the most expensive brands on the market. Its first twenty-four bottles were sold for 250,000 pounds as collection items (Davies, 2010). Its billboard appeared on the well-known La Cienega Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. One of the models is Sophie Monk. The face of the second model is not shown. In general, the billboard can be conditionally divided into parts. The smaller part occupies approximately 1/3 of the image. It has the black background. This element presents information about the company. In other words, advertisers located the logo of Angel that resembles an angel’s wings. Below the wings, customers can see the name of the company and the name of the champagne producer that is Stefano Zagni. Additionally, consumers can see the company’s website address. All this information is presented in the same style as on the Angel’s website. All the letters are white. As for the rest of the billboard, it occupies approximately 2/3 of the media image and is located on the left. The background is white. This circumstance creates the contrast between two parts of the image. It also conveys the main colors of Angel. On the second part of the billboard, customers can see two girls. One girl has blond hair and resembles an angel that is effective for reinforcing the brand name of the company. As it has been said earlier, the girl’s name is Sophie Monk. She is a celebrity, so her image occupies larger part of the billboard. The second girl has dark hair. Customers cannot see her body. She is located under Sophie Monk. Both girls are wearing black sexual underwear. They are young and beautiful. Everybody can enjoy models’ buttocks and busts as well as their arching backs. The scene between the models looks as the sexual scene between two lesbians. However, not everything is so easy because their sexual underwear and a bottle of champagne demonstrate that the main intention of advertisers was to attract male customers. In particular, the company wanted to connect the image of exclusive champagne with the image of two attractive women. Therefore, the hidden massage to the customers reveals that Angel champagne is able to bring the same enjoyment as two sexual girls on the billboard. In addition, the celebrity status of the main model conveys that Angel champagne is not the drink for ordinary people. It is an exclusive alcohol.

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On the other hand, there are claims that the Angel’s billboard undermines heterosexual normality depicting two women that have sexual outreach. This theory also has some supporting ideas. First, the girls are very sexy and look excited about what they are doing. Second, they are wearing erotic lingerie that makes people think about their romantic relationships as well. Nevertheless, the idea that the Angel’s billboard is aimed to convey the message to male customers looks more reasonable.

To sum up, a billboard is a combination of the lesbian sexual scene on the left and the company information on the right. The focus of the advertisement is put on sexuality of the girls. It helps to convey the message to male customers of Angel. Thus, men that see the billboard realize that Angel champagne is exclusive and able to give a as pleasant experience as as the girls on the photo. However, those who want to enjoy this champagne need to invest a considerable amount of money because, similarly to the girls on the image, the following drink is not affordable for everybody. It is a premium class drink.

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In fact, the idea of using images of homosexuals is not new (Gauntlett, 2008). Nonetheless, it becomes more popular over years, and these images are typically referred to as “lesbian chic.” Advertisers do not usually depict lesbian sex or vulgar interaction between representatives of the same gender. They prefer depicting some degree of tension between girls as well affection and interest. These effects are achieved through facial expressions, touches, construction of the media image, etc. (Reichert, 2001). In case of the Angel champagne billboard, advertisers demonstrated the sexual desire and affection through arching backs and erotic lingerie. What is more, “lesbian chic” interests men due to several reasons. First, according to Reichert (2001), homosexual erotica is not connected with showing real lesbians. On the contrary, “lesbian chic” is closely related to depicting “femme-femme images in male-oriented erotica” (Reichert, 2001, p.9). Therefore, these lesbian images in advertising are not used to promote lesbian sex and heterosexual romantic relationships, but they do more with voyeurism. This concept denotes intention of men to look at images of women for receiving pleasure. Second, “lesbian chic” intrigues males because the girls on the images look and behave as stereotypical heterosexual women. For example, the girls from Angel champagne campaign are wearing sexual lingerie and have the pose traditional for heterosexual partners. As a result, “lesbian chic” is not associated with real homosexuality.

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