Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Media Moment #1, "American Horror Story: Coven" Poster

A couple of weeks ago, I was riding the subway home one night on my way home from class, and I was taken aback by this poster I spotted as the subway stopped at a nearby station. It's advertising the upcoming third season of "American Horror Story," the hit FX anthology series.

Each year, FX has done a marvelous job marketing the series, both through print and televised advertisements, but this one particular poster caught my eye unlike any other. In it, three women in bright red lipstick have their mouths opened wide as a long snake unrealistically makes its way into all three of their mouths. Without giving it much thought, it was clear that there lied phallic undertones, although it's hard to imagine that the marketing team behind this image was trying to be cryptic. The marketing team is clearly trying to make something sexual out of this, as the actions here would make anyone think of oral sex.

Sex sells, and linking your show to an image that looks very much like a sexual act is a way of capturing the attention of media consumers. I don't watch "American Horror Story," but this ad clearly captured my attention. The question I pose, a question that has often been posed before, is whether it's acceptable for images like this to be on display where children might be exposed. Is the image cryptic enough to guard children from its sexual undertones, or is it too on-the-nose? You be the judge!


  1. I think it might also be valuable to think of what the snake represents in biblical terms, how the snake tricks Eve into eating from the tree of knowledge, thus causing the fall from Eden. I'm in no way denying the phallic associations here--I think you're dead on, but I also think there's more to it than that.

  2. I saw this ad while walking and thought about taking a picture and making it my media moment, so it's nice to see someone else had a similar reaction when they saw it. I don't watch the show so I'm not sure if the snake somehow relates to the show itself, but either way I agree and think that snake is a pretty sexual object to use in those women's mouth's. If snakes have nothing to do with the show then it is an unnecessary and sexual object to use.