I use this set of engagement ring ads, though any set would do, to illustrate the way in which ads have to sell much more than just the product. To sell an engagement ring, these ads also are selling: monogamy and the pair bond; marriage as the proper way to cement that bond; love, and love as a basis for marriage; the need for a symbol of commitment and a ring (a diamond ring specifically, apparently platinum preferably) as that symbol; men’s role as financial provider and decider (in that he buys the ring and proposes); the importance of the proposal (it needs to be a surprise and an event in itself); the importance of an expensive ring (i.e., “Does he know how much I really love him?”); and… what else?

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Text: “When you can truly be yourselves. Your love has just gone Platinum.”

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Text: “Tacori: A symbol of unending love”

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Text: “Never compromise… when asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you.”

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Text: “Platinum. For a lifetime of love. Platinum’s purity endows it with a natural white luster which allows the true radiance of your diamond to shine. As uncommon as true love, platinum is 35 times rarer than gold. Like the bond between you, platinum will hold your diamond securely now and for always.”

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She asks: “Does he know how much I really love him?”

Under the image: “With love comes questions. The right diamond shouldn’t be one of them.”

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Text: “For one moment the world is spinning around her.”

Here’s an ad for earrings that has the same message about love:

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