Amidst the recent controversy over Rihanna’s derriere in her latest Armani ad campaign (is it hers or did she call upon the assets of Irish model and body double Jahnassa?), one important question surfaces – who the hell cares? I’m far more concerned by the fact that the advert is, apparently, aiming to sell jeans, when for 42 out of 62 seconds Rihanna appears writhing around on a bed in her underwear.
Considering the fact that around 68% of the advert is filmed with Rihanna only one layer away from being in the nuddy, one can hardly blame me for thinking that the advert was in fact promoting Armani’s lingerie range and not their selection of overpriced jeans. Even after the Armani Jeans logo flashed up on my screen, the advert left me feeling profoundly confused: I did my research and discovered that only 9 seconds of the advert showed Rihanna in jeans, and the camera zooms in for a close-up of the Armani logo on said jeans for a maximum of 1.5 seconds.
…a great job of catering to the audience…
Basically, petty statistics aside, the advert has less to do with jeans than it does with fulfilling the bedroom fantasies of a majority of the male population below the age of 20. Congratulations, Armani, you’re doing a great job of catering to the audience that this advert presumably targets, i.e. females over the age of 20. Not.
At any rate, it’s not as if anybody’s even interested in the jeans side of things: clearly the ad campaign has already become submerged under accusations of false advertising and questions about Rihanna’s body consciousness. For the record, I personally believe that anyone who wanders around in skimpy shorts and bralets, flapping their thighs and calling on all Rude Boys to “get it up”, won’t have a problem with their own body being featured in an advert for the brand that they represent.
…swap Rihanna for Beth Ditto…
However, all speculations over the Rihanna versus Jahnassa question are, ultimately, irrelevant. We live in a world where clothes which are displayed on and paraded around by size 6, 6-foot models, are marketed to the average female High Street shopper. This is bound to lead to feelings of inadequacy in women with typically normal bodies, and by showing Rihanna wriggling around in her panties when she is supposed to be selling jeans, Armani have just gone down the classic route of playing upon – or rather creating – female insecurities, forcing them to buy the dream alongside the product.
Ultimately – as with every other ad campaign for designer clothes – what I took away from the advert was “Buy these jeans, they will make you feel sensual and desirable, just like the woman in this advert. If you buy these jeans, you can be just like her.” Whether “her” is Rihanna or Jahnassa, both women represent intangible “ideals” of bodily “perfection”, and the real concern is not whose bum is in the advert, but why whoever’s bum it is can’t be your average Josephine Bloggs? Nobody’s saying to swap Rihanna for Beth Ditto; all I’m saying is that I’d love to see a normal woman in this advert instead of a pop superstar or a model. Oh yeah, and I’d like to know from the outset that I’m watching an advert for jeans, not knickers.