This commercial for Mercedes-Benz features a woman in a library who asks for fast food, is made aware that she is in a library, and then proceeds to ask for fast food again in a quieter voice. The tagline of the advertisement is “beauty is nothing without brains”. There are mostly men in background, which indicates that men are the only ones smart enough to be in the library for the correct purpose. The audience for this advertisement is clearly men, and the woman in the advertisement is meant to be mocked and ridiculed.
The value this advertisement is trying to sell is that being attractive is not sufficient; you must also be smart to be desirable. This initially seems to contrast with Kilbourne’s examples where advertisements tried to convince women that beauty is the only aspect of their lives that is of significance. However, the way this advertisement portrays this message is incredibly demeaning and objectifying. This advertisement puts a woman in a situation that would require unparalleled stupidity to occur in real life, and then compares her to a car. This commercial tries to tell us that a car is worth more than this woman because it has beauty and brains. The tagline also suggests that you need beauty AND brains if you are a woman and just intelligence will not suffice. However, this advertisement is realistic in its portrayal of a “beautiful” woman because the woman ordering the fast food has a healthy body image, she does not appear too skinny, and her clothing is not revealing.
After examining this ad, it is clear that it embodies the messages that Kilbourne spoke about in her documentary – that women are made to be objects of beauty and nothing more.