Written Task Essay

916 words - 4 pages

The advertisement above by Stihl was published in 2009 with the intention of capturing the Western male population. With the main focus on the Bedouin man, cultural aspects are more likely to arise. Bedouins are Arabic-speaking nomadic people of the Middle Eastern deserts (North Africa, Egypt, ect.). The Bedouins consist a small portion of the Middle East, yet, inhibit a large part of the land area. These tribes traditionally despise agricultural and manual labor; many have become sedentary as a result of the political and economical work. This is the main purpose of the ad, where this transition in labor is emphasized with the electronic chainsaw. While the advertisement is visually compelling and slightly humorous, it also emphasizes the manner in which advertising is able to play to cultural and gender stereotypes, such as the Bedouin, even more so when the assumed audience is Western and male.

The chainsaw ad is effective as a result of its humor. The advertiser pins the audience’ attention on the striking but plain desert scene. As the audience, our portrayal of a desert varies, as our imagination takes over. Some claim that the desert is dangerous with a deadly sand storms and scorpions, while others picture camels and colorful cultures. However, this scene with its never ending desert, a man with a chainsaw and a tent with camels, appeal to the audience as a romantic version of the desert. The man and the chainsaw are placed in the middle of the ad, while the tent and the camel are placed farther away in the corner, providing the audience with the stark sensation of the environment. The advertiser introduces humor by juxtaposing the text with the image itself. The text states: “the desire to cut thing up”. The word desire creates the assumption that cutting is joy and noticing the man’s facial reaction, the audience is able to sense the satisfaction he receives from the chainsaw’s abilities, believing that not even this environment can withstand the power of a Stihl chainsaw. The ad is able to humorously portray the nomadic man living in the desert. This humor unfortunately, wouldn’t exist without the particular depiction of a culture, while many would think that the ad would be more appropriate in an environment with a plethora of flora.

The effect of the ad initially comes from stereotypes of an Arabian or North African culture. This particular group is represented with typical signs of racism. Those that have never visited Arab cultures are familiar with this typical portrayal. The man is alone in the desert, almost isolated; furthermore, the tent is made of fabric probably a carpet of some sort, he is wearing a scarf...

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