motions300 This advertisement is typical of many of the outdoor ads in Ebony. The ad is set in the outdoors according to a strict literal definition of the term (there are no buildings, roads, or other human alterations of the landscape), but the feel of the ad is qualitatively different from the outdoor ads in Outside and Time. Here, the outdoor setting is used to convey a feeling of naturalness, of nature, but the model is not really part of the outdoor environment. In fact, taking cues from her dress and demeanor, it is almost as if she is still inside her urban/suburban residence and the outdoors only exists in her imagination, called there by the organic properties of the product.
Ebony: December 1998, p. 141
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This ad is another example of the type of outdoor ad that appears in Ebony. Again, it makes use of the outdoors in the strict literal sense, only this Great Outdoors does not exist in reality. At least not with the giant KOOL suspended across the stream! Adding to the artificiality, the two models, although wearing the proper attire for outdoor adventure, appear to have been spliced into the photo. It is almost as if they could not find black models willing to actually go hiking, so they dressed them up in the studio and then cut and pasted them into the desired location.
Ebony: November 1996, p.111
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This advertisement is technically not an outdoor ad, though it almost qualifies. The main image is set on a paved road, with no props to indicate outdoor recreation (kayaks, mountain bikes, etc.), but notice the smaller image in the bottom right corner. The car is still featured in this picture, but the family is outside admiring a Grand Canyon-like vista. Only this is NOT the Grand Canyon. Instead, it is an advertising company's impression of what they believe their target audience wishes the Grand Canyon were like: a paved road leading right to the edge with a coin-operated binocular stand nearby. No real effort is required, and there is no annoying interaction with the natural environment. The models' style of dress and lack of engagement mark them as passive observers of the Great Outdoors, not participants.
Ebony: September 1989, p. 73
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Finally, an outdoor ad from Ebony that looks and feels like the outdoor ads from the other magazines. The outdoor setting appears to be a real location, and the models are realistically shown engaging in an outdoor leisure activity. They are even dressed appropriately. Of course, they are accompanied by two white hikers, perhaps to lend some legitimacy to the reality of the outing. Is it too much to think that a couple of black hikers would venture into the Great Outdoors on their own? Whites make up only 7.6% of the models in Ebony magazine as a whole, but they account for 32.1% of the models depicted in outdoor ads.
Ebony: March 1999, p. 49
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