Interpretation of a Visual Artifact
Looking at this photo the first thing that pops into my mind is wow he is high up. That is what I’m assuming other people will think too when they look at Alex way up there with no ropes or protection. The question is does that sell The North Face products to them or not. In my opinion when I look at Alex I am amazed and astonished by him but that does not necessarily mean when I go into a store and see a North Face coat and a Patagonia coat sitting next to each other I’ll buy the North face because it’s Alex Honnold’s brand. This ad follows to me the classic outdoor gear ad guidelines. Put a really pretty picture of someone in a really pretty place, a famous place is better and in this case it’s half dome. That person is going to do a really death defying cool thing and the logo is there and people buy the gear. The North Face logo in this picture isn’t even that big. It looks more like and Alex Honnold ad than a north face one. Aside from risk and in terms of binary especially gender binary Alex is a man. However I do not think that matters for this ad because Alex is the best at this. You can’t have a woman, Latino. African American, or any other sex or ethnicity there because only one person in the world can do that and it’s Alex. I think people understand that and respect him rather than saying, “oh why isn’t a woman there” or “of course he’s a white guy” I think it has no relevance to this especially when companies like the north face have many diverse ads especially when it comes to women. Outdoor ads however are not very racially diverse and that is due to the fact that the outdoor industry is not very racially diverse especially when it comes to extreme sports. Yet again that binary to me is not a factor for this ad because the people reading it are people that subscribe to outside magazine and are already invested in the outdoor world. This photo is also real. You cannot stage this, put makeup on him or get the lighting right. The last point of this ad is the fact that he is calm. How does being calm relate to The North Face? if you buy their apparel are you more calm?