How are Sandra Dee and Danny Zuko related to Hollister’s Fragrance Line?

January 1, 2010
The screen lights up. Various scenes of beaches, the ocean, and summer coolly flash before your eyes. Fun beach music plays in the background and finally the camera settles on the ideal surfer coming out of the water, but something catches his eye… he sees a beautiful girl sitting on the beach, and it’s love at first sight. We watch their perfect summer day montage before us and of course at the very end of the day they watch the sunset together, and the scene fades away with a kiss. Sounds more like the opening scene of “Grease” than a commercial for Hollister’s new California men’s cologne and women’s perfume line, doesn’t it? That is exactly what it is, though, but is it really a commercial for their new fragrance line or for a new experience? Hollister presents consumers with a new and appealing situation; in retrospect Hollister is selling us the ideal summer “fling” that all of us have dreamed of at one point in time or another, but is this really something a person can easily purchase just by walking into their local Hollister? Will buying Hollister’s products guarantee me to be “summer loving” in sixty days or less?

Hollister is an expensive high quality-clothing store that mainly seeks attractive, “in shape” teenagers and young adults as customers. When viewers reach Hollister’s website homepage, the first thing you see is a sepia photo of a male model with wet hair and his bare chest showing, Hollister has become quite famous for such advertisements. On their website when you go to the Lounge Room tab you can view their gallery of print advertisements. In the print advertisements gallery, there are a handful of sepia photos of shirtless male models; how much clothing is the Hollister Company really advertising when none of their clothing can be viewed in the advertisement? In the Lounge Room you can also view Hollister’s new fragrance line commercial. Again, the models in this commercial are wearing close to nothing, and while it may seem like the commercial is trying to sell their new fragrance line, California, the commercial portrays a Grease inspired summer fling situation. What does a summer fling have to do with perfume or cologne? Instead of providing valid reasons why consumers should buy their products, Hollister tries to make you feel comfortable and safe with their company, so that once you feel at ease they can trap you by playing on your desire to be sexy and lead the “ideal” lifestyle or, in the case of the fragrance commercial, to be sexy and experience the ideal summer fling.

From beginning to end the Hollister commercial sets an old home movie feel to the advertisement, as if trying to warm up to consumers by saying, “Hey come here, sit down relax, stay awhile we won’t bite” The video quality of the commercial is not the typical crystal clear HD quality that we have become accustomed to today instead the commercial uses a more “home movie” quality of video that sets a relaxed tone to it, making the consumer feel safe with the company. Throughout the commercial various calm scenes of nature and summer are displayed and even a few scenes of just people smiling are shown, again making the consumer feel safe and at ease. While most of the commercial is in color, the colors have been dulled and muted, again adding to the relaxed feeling. The sky appears more gray than blue the ocean isn’t it’s usual blue-green but instead has taken on a grayish-blue hue and tone. Browns, grays, blues and tans, the dominate colors of the commercial, are also members of the group of cool colors in the color wheel which often represent feelings of relaxation, calmness, and tranquility (“Color Symbolism and Psychology”). Another interesting aspect of the advertisement is that it switches from color to black and white for certain scenes. The sections of the advertisement shown in black and white portray the love aspects of the commercial: When the girl sees the boy surfing it is in black and white, when he comes up to her and the start talking it’s again in black and white. This could be attributed to the fact that the colors gray, black, and white often can represent sex, mystery, and innocence, which are emotions that can be related to what average Hollister consumer’s desire. Who wouldn’t enjoy an innocent summer fling with a sexy, mysterious member of the opposite sex? The advertisement takes this deceptive element and uses it again when showing the couple together. Every scene in which the young couple is together, you never really see a clear picture of them; they are always silhouetted against the scene in the background, playing up the sexual and mysterious aspects of the “summer fling” concept. While there are sexual accepts to the images and colors all throughout the advertisement, Hollister downplays them by focusing on the summer aspects of the story and the role of innocence in it all, making the consumer feel more morally upright and innocent in turn.

The music played throughout the advertisement pushes the summer feel on the commercial even more so than the images and colors. As soon as the lights come up on the screen, you hear a mellow acoustic guitar riff play while the scenes of the ocean come up the guitar helps to establish the calm innocent feel to the commercial while at the same time keep it alive enough so it doesn’t put its young audience to sleep. Then slowly a drumbeat is added as the video begins to pick up speed. The music and the video picking up speed shows a more youthful side to the commercial, appealing to a younger teenage audience and also to those not so young who want to feel young and “hip” again. Finally when the summer fling plot begins the lyrics kick in. A young male voice sings through out the entire video “Summer Season…where anything can be all right…summer season… where anything can be all right…lalalalala…summer season…lalalalala…summer season…”(“Hollister Fragrance Line Commercial”) the lyrics pull you into the summer atmosphere and put you at ease, just as the words say “anything can be all right” The lyrics make anyone feel accepted and as if no matter what’s going on or what you do, everything will be okay. They may as well broadcast over radio waves to the public “Go ahead and throw your moral standards out the window and go have a meaningless week long sexual relationship with an almost stranger because it’s all going to be okay! Oh, and use Hollister products by the way.” This moral mentality appeals to the vast majority of teenagers today who have lost the old morals of the past over time through the media. People would rather buy products from a company that accepts them as they are and makes them feel good verses a more morally upright company that does not support the all too common moral less attitude of the world today, Hollister knows this and uses this information to their advantage.
All human beings are born with desires and needs good companies can appeal to these desires and needs in their advertisements better companies can make you believe that their products can satisfy these needs, but the best companies can make you feel desires and needs that you don’t really have and at the same time make you feel as if their products satisfy those non-existent needs. Hollister takes this concept to the extreme. Their advertisement is set up exactly like a hunter’s trap: they make you feel safe and comfortable as they slowly feed you their message: “Everyone wants to have fun, and everyone wants to be sexy. Sit down, relax, it’s okay to want this. Hollister has it. All you have to do is come and get it” Hollister finishes off its tactic by masking its true intentions using the innocent summer fling cover up. In the end, Hollister is just doing what every other company out there in the world of advertisement is doing- trying to sell perfume and clothing by saying that in every package happiness, love, sex, confidence, and in general the “ideal life” come with it.












Work Citied
“Hollister Fragrance Line Commerical”. Hollister’s Website. 7 Feb. 2009 <http://www.hollisterco.com/hol/flash/club_room/clubroom.html>.

"Color Symbolism and Psychology." Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Feb. 2009. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 7 Feb. 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_symbolism>.

Hollister California. 8 Feb. 2009 <http://www.hollisterco.com/hol/homepage.html>.





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