The use of science in advertisements is becoming more and more prominent in today’s society. As science continues to develop, it has gained a larger weight of importance to the general population. This use of scientific terminology and images has created a sense of trust; the “science” that is presented in advertisements makes the public feel as if there is no way that the information can be false. An example of this comes from Estee Lauder’s commercial for the Perfectionist CP+R Wrinkle Lifting Serum. It was produced in 2012 to target an audience of those who want smoother, younger looking skin (which of course applies to almost any woman over the age of forty). The purpose of the ad is to convince viewers that their formula is the best way to obtain great looking skin. This is where science comes into play. The use of science in this advertising system is not used to inform; it is used to deceive. Because of how technical and “advanced” the jargon and different science-esque images are, audiences everywhere are led into believing that the advertisement is true, whether or not that is actually the case.
In the video, one of the first images that pops up is one regarding the name of the product line: Perfectionist [CP+R]. This part of the advertisement includes a reference to how new the wrinkle cream is and a futuristic design that sets the theme of the commercial. The streaks of light (like the one below “Estee Lauder”) that flow across the screen are a frequent throughout this advertisement. These streaks enhance the theme of high technology and science that Estee Lauder is trying to produce. The name also contributes to the scientific aspect of this ad, more specifically the “[CP+R]” part. “CP+R” has the connotation of something along the lines of a molecular formula. This, in turn, leads the audience to believe that the name of the product actually carries some significance, and that supplies the cream with a credibility that it would not have otherwise. However, after watching the video through, there is no actual reference to what “CP+R” means. Estee Lauder gives this product line a name including “CP+R” without ever stating what the letters actually stand for. This is all apart of their rhetoric strategy of seeming as technologically and scientifically advanced as possible without having to actually prove it.
The actress used in this commercial has beautiful, young looking skin which is exactly what Estee Lauder is advertising. They want their viewers to believe that they can also have the skin of this beautiful model by simply using their product. Another rhetorical strategy of Estee Lauder’s advertisement is the animations included in the picture above to represent how the wrinkle cream performs to improve the skin of the user. The swirling bright lines on the model’s cheek give the impression of the product working on a molecular level to rid of all imperfections. The audience feels as if they have an actual view of the cream making a difference to the skin of the model. A combination of the model and the animations on the model is used to help further convince the viewer to purchase the product in order to achieve the results that are shown in the advertisement.
The use of technical words such as “in vitro testing of our CPR-75 technology” (located at the bottom of the picture) goes over the typical viewer’s realm of knowledge. Because the phrasing is so complicated, the audience assumes that the information must be something of importance and the product is just as complex and advanced as the company proclaims it to be. Another aspect of this part of the advertisement is the streaks of bright lines that appear across the screen which is prevalent throughout the entire commercial. This, again, adds to the overall theme of science and technology in the advertisement. Also, in the center of the screen there is the phrase “Doubles skin’s collagen-building power.” “Doubles” and “power” are significantly larger than the rest of the phrase, and this puts more emphasis on how powerful the product is. They do this, so that viewers think mainly of how strong the formula is, rather than what it is actually doing.
Estee Lauder’s advertisement for the Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting Serum does its best to combine beauty, science, and technology. By using different images and phrases including various scientific jargon, Estee Lauder is able to confuse their audience enough, so that they just assume the information is true. This is why the use of science in today’s advertisement system is becoming so prevalent. If a company can use complicated enough concepts, people everywhere will be more likely to believe the ad simply because they don’t understand it fully. This is becoming a situation where “too much information” is actually true.
From this project, I learned that almost everything in advertisement has a specific rhetorical purpose, no matter how small. I chose to analyze this ad for a beauty product because I believe the beauty industry has one of the most competitive markets. Therefore, their advertisements have to be convincing enough to beat out all of the competition. By using different screenshots from Estee Lauder’s Perfectionist [CP+R] commercial, I was able to point out some examples of their rhetoric, both prominent ones and minute ones. I found this experience of analyzing to be very easy, and that was surprising to me. Almost everything I found contained some type of rhetorical significance. I chose the images with the most evident rhetoric, but almost every single aspect of the commercial could have been used for this project. Through my composition, I learned that advertising is very purposeful. Companies are sneaky and clever in the ways which they engage their audience, and I hope that through reading my work people can start recognizing these same things in advertisements as well.