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Calvin Kyaw Zin Thant


Professor Enos
First-Year Writing (Section 29)
24/ September/ 2014
One Creative Spark is All That Matters

In a day and age where towering billboards over a citys skyline advertising a wide
array of varying products and services have become increasingly ubiquitous, it has become
more and more difficult for businesses to design innovative advertisements that are bound to
capture the attention of passers-by. As an increasing amount of advertisements fill up almost
anywhere the eyes are capable of seeing, humans have learned to tune out the hundreds of
advertisements that bombard them on a daily basis. Billboards and roadside advertisements
are becoming a thing of the past, as the electronic age slowly takes over. One particular
billboard, however, refused to conform to this and stood out from the rest. An image of this

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billboard was featured by Sam Kusinitz on a business blog named HubSpot, where blog
writer Sam Kusinitz put together an interesting article titled 15 of the Most Creative
Billboard Ads From Around the World. The author described how billboard advertisements
and the word creative have become tedious. To show that original billboard advertisements
still exist, and as the title indicates, Kusinitz displayed images of fifteen innovative,
enthralling advertisements with a brief description of what the advertisement is about placed
underneath each image. The article did indeed live up to what is presented in the title, but as I
scrolled through, one particular advertisement greatly attracted my attention a billboard
published in 2006 by Formula, an Indonesian toothpaste company. At first glance, it portrays
a man in the billboard uprooting a corner of the billboard with his teeth. Upon closer
inspection, the words builds stronger teeth are displayed underneath a tube of Formula
toothpaste. What is it about this billboard that sets it apart from any other billboard? The
subtle, underlying meanings behind each component of the advertisement combine to make
the billboard successful, in a way that it is fully capable of grabbing ones attention and
making itself stand out from its competitors.
First and foremost, an advertisement is always targeted at a certain target audience. In
this billboards case, since it is most likely to be erected on highways leading into the city,
the target audience is commuters traveling in and out of the city. Even though toothpaste can
be used by people of all ages, the main target is the middle-aged, middle-class people, as this
tends to be the largest population in a city.
Several different elements of this billboard advertisement make it a very eye-catching
piece. One key component has to do with the way the advertisement is designed itself. Here,
simplicity is key less is more. Instead of making an advertisement with a lot of information,
such as verbose descriptions and cluttered images, the producers opted for a simple design. In
the center of the foreground is a man tearing the billboard apart with his bare teeth with a

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tube of toothpaste and three words to his side. Nothing more. By doing so, the advertisement
tells the viewer that Formula toothpaste is a simple product that is simple to as well. As with
most simple things in life, it evokes a sense of need, making the potential customer feel like
this is the brand of toothpaste he or she wants.
The color scheme also plays an important role in trying to convey a message to its
intended audience. All the components of the advertisements are pitted against a white
backdrop. Brushing ones teeth is without a doubt a small, yet important task one performs on
a daily basis for one reason oral hygiene. The target audience, to varying degrees more or
less, cares about oral hygine whether it is maintenance, improvement, or cleanliness. Because
the human mind tends to associate certain colors with certain meanings, a white background
is effectively chosen. Choosing a white background gives the advertisement a sense of
cleanliness, which is a trait associated with the brushing of ones teeth. In addition to this, the
white backdrop also symbolizes the cleaning strength of the toothpaste itself. Leaving the
large unused spaces white is a simple, yet innovative way to sell the fact that the toothpaste
will whiten ones teeth.
Another aspect that cannot be ignored is the typography and word choice. The
advertisement only utilizes three words to send a direct message: builds strong teeth. Three
words which do not make a complete sentence. Nonetheless, it conveys a powerful message
that is confident, concise, and to the point. These three words tell the audience exactly what
intended effect the product has. Although the message itself stands to be concise and
powerful, the font does not seem at all to be imposing. Instead of choosing a font with serifs,
which would make the message seem forceful and imposing, the designers opted for a more
rounded font without serifs, making the message seem more laidback and soothing. This
masterful combination of a concise, powerful message with a calming font makes the
advertisement very effective.

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The most important component of the advertisement, of course, is the hub of it all
the man. By placing the man in the very center of the billboard, the audience is immediately
drawn in with curiosity behind his action. The image of the man screams, Look at what I am
doing, with his teeth firmly clenched at what appears to be a corner of the billboard, the man
is able to give off the perception that he has uprooted approximately a quarter of the billboard
with nothing but his bare teeth. It is evident that this situation symbolizes strength. This in
turn speaks for the product itself: an exaggeration of how effectively the toothpaste is able to
build strong teeth. Instead of a lengthy description describing the exaggerated effects the
product will have on the user, Formulas billboard used one effective picture to get its
message through. It can be seen that the man tore off the billboard with relative ease, which
could be implied as: because he used Formula toothpaste, which is perfect for building
strong teeth, he is able to rip apart a billboard using only his teeth. In addition, black lines
that appear to be broken and bent metal bars from the frame of the billboard are also used in
the advertisement. This, coupled with the man tearing the billboard apart with his teeth,
symbolize, in an exaggerated sense, the strength and effectiveness of the toothpaste, which
can invoke a sense of awe, leading any potential customer to consider purchasing the product.
When combined, the aforementioned elements of the advertisement create a profound
effect on the audience. The advertisement itself, which has a psychological impact on the
audience, embodies a sense of strength as well as the notion that the product will have an
effect similar to the man in the picture (even though it is physically impossible to do so).
This, in turn, empowers the audience, or the potential customers, to purchase the product due
to a desire of the visual and psychological effects displayed on the billboard. By doing so, the
advertisers juxtaposition the pathos, which is the audiences emotion to obtain the product,
and the logos, which is the fact that the superpower the man attains in the advertisement

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because of the toothpaste is impossible. In this case, however bearing in mind that this is an
advertisement the pathos overpowers the logos.
As with any form of advertisement, the primary purpose is to attract as many
customers as possible. Because of this, the medium originally chosen is inevitably in the form
of an advertisement a billboard. Erecting a simple, yet creative, innovative, and original
billboard does just that by catching the attention of hundreds and thousands of passers-by
everyday. In addition to the many billboards looming over the skyline in Indonesia, the
billboard advertisement is also featured on several blogs and websites as a result of its
uniqueness, which also expends its advertising into another medium: the internet. This bodes
the company well by raising the companys brand awareness and its customer pool the goal
of all businesses.
In my opinion, this advertisement is very effective because it stands head and
shoulders above the plethora of dull, unimaginative advertisements we see today. Its simple,
yet innovative components combine harmoniously to create an enticing effect on the
audience and making itself a success story in advertising the product the company is trying t
sell. The only controversy surrounding the advertisement is the question of what benefits one
can actually expect from the toothpaste. As aforementioned, the exaggeration is an important
aspect of the advertisement, and from a marketing perspective, it is absolutely genius. The
humor behind the man tearing apart the billboard is a witty way of evoking ones interest in
the product, as it instantly captures ones attention. This is vital in a world where businesses
strive to stand out in a very diverse, competitive, and densely populated market. Without a
doubt, this billboard will never fail to be the center of attention on a highway and anyone
who sees this will remember it for a very long time.

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Works Cited

Kusinitz, Sam. Formula-Bite-Billboard. Digital image. Hubspot. N.p., 28 March.


2014. Web. 14 September. 2014.
<http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/creative-billboards-around-world>

Kusinitz, Sam. 15 of the Most Creative Billboard Ads From Around the World.
Hubspot. N.p., 28 March. 2014. Web. 14 September. 2014.
<http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/creative-billboards-around-world>