We see them in the subways, bus stops, magazines, and television, but what do they mean? How do they manage to catch our attention? Advertisements often find ways to sell their products by psychologically manipulating people. The advertising industry makes us envious of others and convinces us to be unhappy with what we have (Valko). Steve Madden ads usually feature women with absurdly large heads and hourglass bodies which try to force the audience to wonder what the ad is about.
One of these odd ads appears in the March/April 2001 issue of Twist Magazine. It features a young woman with a big head helplessly running, as an airplane zooms over her at an abandoned airport. There are three characteristics within the ad that contribute the whole idea that Steve Madden shoes, clothes and accessories will improve your self image. The main purpose of Steve Madden ads is to suggest to its viewers that they will feel good about themselves by wearing his products.
The model’s big head conveys self-esteem and self-pride and she challenges the consumer to look as good as she does. The young woman wears a face of apprehension and is running away from her old self to start her new confident life with Steve Madden products. The sleek black leather jacket on top of a sexy white shirt, short enough to reveal her stomach and curvaceous hips together with her tight low rider blue jeans, black pointy high boots, and trendy black bag complete her fashionable outfit.
The embellished woman’s physique is aimed to appeal to women and girls between the ages of 16 through 25 in search of funky, hip, sexy clothes. Steve Madden likes to think of his clothes of as being distinctive and he illustrates his idea by setting an abandoned airport as the background for the ad. There is not a body in sight as the model runs across the old gum stained pavement. This calls attention to the idea that by wearing Steve Madden buyers isolate themselves from everyone else.
She is too proud and conceited and cannot imagine being compared to anyone else. The Steve Madden logo in the ad also contributes to the main idea of the ad. It could have been anywhere on the page, why the sky?. Steve Madden ads always have their logos imprinted on the sky to imply that the “sky is the limit” with Steve madden products (Liza). Steve Madden’s use of the airplane flying across the model’s head are to let his consumers know that the only thing to stop them from accomplishing the look they have in mind is the limit the set upon themselves.
Steve Madden will help its buyers attain the appearance they have always envisioned. Furthermore, it can be said, in Bertrand Russell’s words that “Good advertisements will either make the audience envious of the lifestyle being advertised, or will generate within the audience the desire to be envied by others” (Harris). Many advertisers aren’t as successful but Steve Madden manages to persuade his buyers to buy his products through his eccentric ads.