The ad in question is that of Ketel One Vodka as presented on the back cover of Lavender Magazine’s 458th issue (December 13-26, 2012). The ad presents two thin well-dressed, clean-cut, men in a bar setting. Both men are holding small glasses of clear liquid over ice while smiling in an almost flirtatious manner. The bottom also says “a proud supporter of glaad”; glaad is an organization that supports the GLBT community (www.glaad.org).
The audience this ad is aimed towards is men, gay or otherwise; the effects of this ad however, affect more than just the company’s target audience. The hope of this ad is to influence men to believe that if they go to a bar, are fit, well-dressed and bought some Ketel One Vodka, then that will impart a sort of sex appeal that they may otherwise not have. This message is not appealing. Because whether a person is thin or well-dressed it does not add to sexual appeal. There are plenty of suave people who wear sweats and t shirts who have many suitors and are very appealing. Simply because a person is slender and dresses up does not mean they are sexually appealing.
This ad has the potential to cause harm. In short term, if men are not as lanky as the two men they see in the ad, they are likely to feel sad and unattractive. This can lead to these same viewers to try and lose weight, spend money on frivolous items that they probably do not need, and worry about their own ability to attract mates. In the long term, if these same male viewers cannot mold themselves to look more similar to the men in these ads, it can lead to depression and anxiety in social situations. Overall, the long term effects of this ad are likely both men and women thinking about beauty and attractiveness in terms of slenderness instead of personality attributes and ability.
If someone were to change this ad, the best place to start is the models. They should not be models. They should look more like normal people. If this were the case, then it would allow the general public to see beauty and attractiveness in a more broad view.