Buddy Lee, Man of Action. The doll who wears a plaid work shirt, boots, and a pair of Lee Dungarees. He is featured in the most recent advertisements for Lee Dungarees jeans as a movie stunt man who jumps out of airplanes without a parachute. It is the jeans that he wears that allow him to do these wild stunts. They are durable enough to take on any type of task, and are genuine made since 1889. By portraying Lee Dungarees as cool, youthful, glamorous, and adventurous, this ad says that the 17-20 year old males aspirations can be realized, but they can still maintain the authenticity of their current life.
The history of Buddy Lee in relation to Lee Jeans sets up this ad to portray Buddy as an glamorous, cool, and youthful doll. Buddy was originally a spokesperson for a series of Lee Jeans ads that were originally run in the 1920s. Buddy was a young male doll, dressed in a variety of Lee outfits, which ranged from overalls to regular jeans. Created by Lee Jeans sales manager Chester A Reynolds, Buddy was meant to represent the "youthful, unstoppable spirit that Lee is built upon" (Lee). Because Buddy represented these things, he also represented them in the products that he wore, which were only Lee jeans. Buddy is a guy who stars in movies, who sky dives out of planes, who everyone knows. Everyone wants to be famous, and achieve the level of glamour that Buddy has reached. He represents the hopes and dreams that people aspire to reach someday. Buddy is also very young looking. His face is like that of a baby, with a very innocent expression. People want to stay young, and in seeing that Buddy is young, they want to know how he stays young. It is because of the jeans that he wears that he stays young, and the readers of this ad see that. He paints the picture of a glamorous, cool, youthful person who can do anything...because of the jeans that he wears.
There is also a theme of adventure and durability present in the ad that weaves into the other themes of glamour, coolness, and youth. Lee Dungarees are tough, and this is told by relating the jeans to other things that are tough and can withstand beatings. A worn metal frame with bolts gives it the appearance of toughness, the feel of something that will last. The jeans are shown to be a type of denim that is ring-spun, making them a lot like a chain mail coat. But unlike the chain mail coat, it is implied that the jeans will last longer, because "chain mail tends to rust." Chain mail is familiar to many people, through stories of fantasy, of knights and damsels in distress. This gives a sense of adventure to the ad, because we relate to the feel of a timeless adventure because of the chain mail. And if these jeans last even longer than chain mail does, then they will lead us to even greater adventures long after the chain mail has rusted away. Also, chain mail has was used by knights to protect them from being hit by a sword. If the jeans are woven like chain mail, then the advertiser is implying that the jeans can withstand being hit by a sword, and will not rip. Besides being tougher than chain mail, these jeans are tested by Buddy, who has been able to jump out of an airplane without a parachute and survive the landing, all because of Lee jeans. Since Buddy is a doll, then he is most likely to be hurt upon upon hitting the ground after falling 10,000 feet. But because he wears Lee Dungarees, he cannot be hurt by the impact. The jeans are portrayed as being so tough that they protect buddy from a 10,000 foot skydive. If Lee Dungarees are durable enough to withstand this, then they can take on anything, and even "come back and beg for more."
Having established that this ad portrays Lee Dungarees as durable, and able to give someone adventure, glamour, coolness, and youth, then we can look at the target audience of the ad, which is the 17-20 year old young male. According to an article on USA Today Ad Track, this advertisement is targeted at 17-20 year olds. These people are in search of adventure and glamour in their lives. People in this age group are either in high school or college, and working blue collar side jobs to make money. By wearing these jeans, they can go sky diving and take on adventures, activities that would usually cost quite a bit of money to do. But in doing so, they do not have to leave behind the comfort of their current lives and take on the lifestyle of a wealthy person. They go back to who they are, the same person, without being changed by the glamour and adventure. They can stay authentic, just like the jeans that they wear. This ad appeals to the young male because of the cool way that Billy is portrayed; a skydiving stunt man who wears jeans that are tougher than chain mail. If they can hold up against the beating that Buddy went through, they can withstand doing any number of activities that are tough on clothes, such as hiking, climbing, and construction work. The "Buddy Lee: Man of Action" header appeals to the younger, more exuberant generation that likes to go out, get dirty, and do dangerous activities. This ad speaks to those who are hard workers, but still play in their spare time, and more to males because of the tough image portrayed by Buddy. Young men can wear these jeans, be tough, be cool, and be adventurous.
The message depicted in this advertisement is that by purchasing Lee Dungarees, you will be able to be cool, glamourous, young, and adventurous. You can take on any task, no matter how dirty or rough, and come out unscathed. All without loosing your authentic self to another image of rich snobbishness. The jeans that are pictured in the ad do make the reader truly appreciate why Lee jeans can say that "no dolls were injured in the making of our commercials."
Buddy Lee not Worshipped as Hero. USA Today Ad Track. Feb. 11, 2000.
Buddy Lee. Feb 12, 2000. <http://www.furugiya.com/buddy%20lee.html>.
Lee Dungarees - The History of Buddy Lee. Feb 11, 2000.
Advertisement. Handed out on Feb 6, 2000. Professor Dan White, English 101 D.