For this assignment, I chose to analze an advertisement portraying Aruba, One Happy Island. This advertisement is an example of a travel guide from Roland Barthes essay, The ‘Blue Guide.’ In Barthes essay, he mentions quite a bit that in travel advertisements such as this one, tourists are not shown the whole picture; they are shown what they want to see, what will make them buy. Barthes admits that “It is unquestionable that travel has become (or become again) a method of approach based on human realities rather than ‘culture.’ In class, we discussed how many advertisements such as ones from Italy, Spain, and even this one from Aruba are not depicting the whole package. It only depicts the package that will sell.
In this advertisement, we see a female wearing a bikini. Just this alone is apt to attract to male customers. In the picture the weather is sunny and the water is as clear as the sky is. The girl pictured has a very wide smile and seems to be enjoying herself. She also appears to be tan. This aspect would help allure female buyers with the hope they too would get tan if they come to Aruba. This portrays to tourists that Aruba is the perfect destination spot. One the right of this advertisement, the advertiser lists several characters of Aruba helping to describe it as “One Happy Island.” The seller is claiming that Aruba is Caribbean, sunny, friendly, exciting, and special. In my opinion, these characteristics all do describe Aruba and these all help to represent Aruba as “One Happy Island.” Unfortunately, these characteristics are only showing the happy, touristy side of the island. All of Aruba’s money is put into its tourist industry. Once you are off the long strip of hotels and attractions you no longer see friendly, exciting, and special.
As you can see, this advertisement is a good example of what Roland Barthes would consider a Blue Guide. The characteristics listed on the left side of the picture are only mentioned to help attract more customers. The picture showing the woman on the boat is going to show people that Aruba is the perfect vacation getaway spot where they can have the time of their life. Unfortunately, this travel guide advertisement is only showing one side of Aruba: the touristy side. There is a whole different side to Aruba, one that is not so friendly and exciting.