Ariel and the Ads of Sunsilk Shampoo

Nowadays, advertisement is something important to the mostly of mass media, especially television. As the media that combine sound and visual matter, television become the most effective place to inform people about something (widyatama, 2005). The ads supports the television station by sponsoring some programs provided. As the compensation, the company or institution that pays certain television station to put their ads on it will get more customers who see the ads. Moreover, the advertiser also makes the ads as attractive as possible, and one of the tricks is by using a celebrity or public figure as the model (warto, 2007). This strategy is used to construct a certain image toward the product (suasana, 2001). However, there is also some deviation which is used by the advertiser to strengthen the message from the commercial. One of the recent examples can be seen at the Sunsilk shampoo ads. Instead of using perfect woman as the main figure, this ads brings the handsome vocalist Ariel Peterpan. This tactic must have particular reason to increase the product selling indeed. In this essay, we will see the effect of the ads in constructing the gender identity to woman as the main consumer of the product, and also, How Ariel as the main figure impact the women position in gender relationship.

The current hair style in Indonesia today is the straight and long hair. This phenomenon can be seen at most of the shampoo ads included Sunsilk that use straight and long hair woman as the additional model, indeed, beside Ariel Peterpan. In real society, also, it’s common to hear a particular term which is called “rebonding”. The term “rebonding” refers to an activity to straighten the curly or wavy hair by using some chemical substances . This kind of method can realize the intention of some woman to have the straight hair. Salon usually provides this service which becomes the second most popular used after the hair cutting . Obviously, this fact shows us that the shampoo ads contribute in defining the meaning of beauty among women.

Moreover, the ads not only effect to the hair style, but also to the other beauty parameters such as the color of skin and the shape of body. In reality, Sunsilk and other shampoo ads usually use a woman with white skin and slim body as the model. In the Sunsilk ads, Ariel looks spellbound to the woman who has black, long, and straight hair. In fact, the woman also brings the white skin and slim body as the one package which called beauty. It gives us one question, why the owner of beautiful hair must the white and slim woman? In sociology, this kind of perception is called Social Construction. Society defines something that generally applied. In the same way, ads help to strengthen the social construction which is displayed at the ads.

On the other hand, in this ads, Ariel is used to show the patriarchal gender relationship. Normally, it is rather awkward to display a man in the woman’s ad like Sunsilk shampoo. His position in this ads is definitely not as the user, but as the handsome and charming guy who become attracted in woman with beautiful long hair. However, Ariel pretends himself as the person who defines the meaning of beauty for the woman. He shows to the woman that they must have a white skin, slim body, and straight long hair for being loved by a guy like Ariel. Beside that, the woman is considered as not beautiful. Ultimately, this ads fortify the man position as the player and determiner in the society.

Furthermore, this ads take woman in the lower position of gender relation. In recent days, Sunsilk create an event titled “Sunsilk Soft and Smooth Shampoo Program”. This competition promises that Ariel will visit the home of chosen girl who sends a text to certain premium number . Beside that, the chosen girl also has to provide a bottle of Sunsilk shampoo in her home. In the glance, it looks like an usual quiz; conversely, it brings the big impact toward the society. In this case, the ads set Ariel as the person who chooses the lucky girl. Woman is taken in the weaker position that must be waiting for her prince charming. Definitely, it shows the gender inequality.
In conclusion, an ads such Sunsilk shampoo ads has the quite important impact in society. Not only aimed to promote the new product, but also contribute in constructing the gender identity and relation. How the ads sat up and performed, is really have a role to define the message told about. Therefore, we must aware to interpret and filter the meaning behind them.


Suasana, Arif Agung. Nirmana, Vol 3, No 1 (2001)
Widyatama, Rendra. Pengantar Periklanan, (Jakarta: Buana Pustaka Indonesia 2005) Downloaded at December 10th, 2009 3:30 pm

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