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Analysing Ads

Analysing Ads

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Published by: Mr Rodgers on Nov 06, 2009
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06/28/2010

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Analysing Advertising
Advertising tends to follow a basic format - a slogan or a striking image catches our attention, thebody of the ad contains more factual information about the product , and a pack shot or logoreinforces the brand identity.The combination of these elements, even though we may only look atthem for the average time of 1.5 seconds, leaves us with an impression of the values that areattached to that brand, and a sense of who the target audience for the product is (male? female?pensioner? teenager?).When first analysing an ad you need to decide
WHO the ad is aimed at - describe them demographically andpsychographically
 
WHAT is being advertising and WHAT is specifically highlighted about theproduct (the benefits) in this ad?
 
WHY this helps sell a product
 
WHERE/WHEN this ad might appear in order to reach its target audience
 
Appeals
Then you need to decide what techniques are being used to communicate with the audience.According to Gillian Dyer (
 Advertising as Communication
Routledge 1988) advertisers use, amongother techniques, the following
lines of appeal
. They use images of or references to these thingsto tap into our desires - and fears:
Happy families - everyone wants to belong
 
Rich, luxurious lifestyles - aspirational
 
Dreams and fantasy
 
Successful romance and love
 
Elite people or experts
 
Glamorous places
 
Successful careers
 
Art, culture & history
 
Nature & the natural world
 
Beautiful women - men AND women like looking at beautiful women, so thethinking goes: men admire them, women admire what makes the men admire them.
 
Self-importance & pride
 
Comedy & humour
 
Childhood - can appeal to either nostalgia or to nurturing instincts
 
These lines of appeal are effective because they deal with our social needs.15 Basic Appeals arelisted by Jib Fowler in
Mass Advertising As Social Forecast 
. You can read the listhere.Children are considered a special target group when it comes to advertising, and strategies areused to especially target them - read more from theMedia Awareness Network.
 
When analysing an ad you need to consider what kind of appeal is being made - does this ad tap into your desire to be considered successful by your peers, for instance, or is it more about makingyou feel as though you will belong to a happy group if you own a certain product? Often advertising
creates need
- in order to sell a product that we did not know existed, advertisers have to makeus aware that we need it.
Language of Advertising
The purpose of advertising language is to persuade. Whereas the slogan and the image can behumorous or attention-grabbing, the body copy is always to extoll the benefits of a product andthus persuade the audience to buy buy buy! In his influential book,
Confessions of An AdvertisingMan
(Atheneum, 1988) David Ogilvy lists the most persuasive words in advertising as
suddenlynowannouncingintroducingimprovementamazingsensationalremarkablerevolutionarystartlingmiraclemagicofferquickeasywantedchallengecomparebargainhurry
These words act as triggers to interest audiences in a product. They are also over-used, and may,these days, be counted as clichés.Advertising makes use of a direct mode of address (the most commonly used word in advertising is'YOU') and short, active words. Read a list of the most commonly usedadjectives and verbs
.
When analysing an ad you have to identify the key persuasive words and consider their effect onan audience. Be critical: are the advertisers taking a tried and tested approach or are they beingoriginal? Does the approach work?
Images in Advertising
Understanding the image is key to understanding the message of the ad, which may work on manydifferent levels. You must consider the following:
Denotation
What is it of? How many images are there? Is there a main image plus a
packshot
? It is a literal representation of the product or is it a
metaphor
?
 
How is the image positioned - ie what is the camera angle and where doesthis place the reader? Is it neutral (an eye level shot) or is the subject give authorityover the audience through a low angle?
 
What kind of image is it - high quality, full colour, lovingly enhance image orfuzzy black and white shot? If a TVC, is it shot on tape or film?
 
Non-Verbal Communication - what is being said without words by the bodylanguage of the model?
 
Once you have explored the basics you must consider the
connotations
.

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