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Poffinbarger 1!

Jaycee Poffinbarger

Professor Moore

English 1301

1 November 2017

Air Mail

The goals of American commercials are to make consumers want or feel the need to

purchase what marketers are advertising or persuading viewers to have specific opinions about

issues. Every ad in the U.S. has a meaning or a message that a company or organization wants to

portray. Different corporations tie in a mixture of emotional, colorful, and cultural elements into

their commercials. Paper and Packagings commercial Letters to Dad aims for not only the

person longing to communicate with someone who is unreachable but also the person who is torn

between his job or duty, as well as, the person who just inherently wants to help others. The

characters, environment, and way the product is portrayed in this commercial demonstrate

communication between a military father, stationed overseas, and a son, back home, using paper

airplanes and a caring neighbor.

The characters used in this commercial demonstrate who the targeted audiences are:

families or friends, who know what it is like to be far away from each other with minimal

communication and people who simply see a need and want to fill the gap. In the article,

Character Portrayal: Examining Gender Roles in Television Commercials Targeted at Children

in India and the United States, explains that one of the essential components of commercials

is the characters (Bakir 57). The main character of this ad is a little boy. He is coloring pictures,

writing letters, then folding the pieces of paper into paper airplanes. The son then goes out to his
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backyard and throws of all of them over the fence, hoping that they are going to reach his dad

who is across the world serving his country. All of the airplanes fall into the next door neighbors

yard. The neighbor, another important character, realizes what the little boy was trying to do;

boxes up the boy's planes and sends them to the father. The final character is the father, who

represents anyone who has ever had to be away from home to fulfill the responsibilities of their

job. There was an excellent character dynamic of a hopeful little boy, a father far away from

home, and loving neighbor was meant to pull the heartstrings of the viewers. Papers and

Packagings commercial provide characters that draw on a persons innate desire to communicate

and help others.

The environmental aspects of any ad campaign affect a consumers view of a product. In

this ad, the setting is a family home, that is placed in a friendly neighborhood. Letters to Dad

has a light and airy setting, allowing consumers to be drawn in and their emotions turned on. On

the contrary when the environment of a commercial is dark and oppressive people do not relate

as easily to the commercial, nor do they have the positive emotions that will make them want to

use the product. With an increase in the number of parents working away from home and

military personnel being stationed overseas, this commercials setting provides an environment

that many can relate with. According to Bernice Kanner, companies choose their settings based

on the cultural and emotional aspects of the audience (Kanner 16). Contradictory to what society

thinks, the context and environment of any campaign can affect the way a person views the

products they see on television.

The way advertising companies portray their message impacts viewers thoughts about

their product. Paper and Packagings message demonstrates that to stay in touch with a dad who
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is oceans away, all you need is paper, a pack of crayons, and a box. One of their products, the

paper allows a surface on which the boy and his father can communicate. The packages, hold the

letters that are sent to the father by the neighbor and back to the neighbor from the dad; their

shipping materials provide a way to transport the letters between the two. The manner in which

the product is used in a commercial provides a further explanation of the product itself. The way

Papers and Packaging works in family, and friendly neighbors provide a mode for most

consumers to relate to the commercial. In his article, Exploring the Combination of Language,

Images and Sound in the Metaphors of TV Commercials, Rosario Caballero states by

imposing a higher cognitive load on understanding what is being advertised, metaphor, simile

and the like increase the potential consumers motivation, effective response and pleasure, which

presumably results in bigger sales. (Caballero 33) When a company uses their products in

advertisements, it helps the consumers watching get a feel for the product. If a company airs a

commercial, but their product is nowhere to be found or referenced in the commercial,

consumers will zone out or just be confused or irritated. If the company manages to include

emotions to their ad sales will be more substantial. The effectiveness of a commercial depends

on how well the company can relate to the target audience.

The characters, setting, and message portrayed in the Letters to Dad commercial

provides an insight into an engaging, relatable situation where communication is a significant

part of life. The company chose characters that most people can relate to. Family is a staple in

most Americans lives, and it is an important part of this commercial. People also hope that they

have others around them willing to help when the need arises. Furthermore, the company sets a

situation that most can sympathize with. Even though a person has not been in the same situation
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as the father and son, viewers can be sympathetic towards them because many people have been

in a position where they long to communicate with someone far away. When a person takes the

time to sit down and write a letter to a loved one, it is more meaningful to the person receiving

the letter. In the world today everyone is so engrossed in technology that people tend to lose the

emotional aspect of communicating. When using an electronic device to talk to someone, the

emotions get lost in the thread. Technology does not allow someone to see the shakiness of the

little boys untrained hand as he carefully pens the letters nor the happiness on his face when he

receives letters from his father. People may think that letter writing is an old-fashioned way to

communicate, but through handwritten letters, people tend to pour out their hearts more than

what they would if they were to type a text or an email. People notice when extra care and time

is taken to prepare a package. Receiving such a package brings joy. In Letters to Dad, Paper

and Packaging leaves viewers longing for a simpler time of basic emotional communication.
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Works Cited

Bakir, Aysen. "Character Portrayal: Examining Gender Roles in Television Commercials Target

ed at Children in India and the United States." Journal of Global Marketing, vol. 26, no.

2, Apr-Jun2013, pp. 57-67. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/08911762.2013.804612. Accessed 1

Nov. 2017.

"Exploring the Combination of Language, Images and Sound in the Metaphors of TV

Commercials." ["Explorando la combinacin de lenguaje, imagen y sonido en las met

foras de anuncios televisivos"]. Atlantis (0210-6124), vol. 36, no. 2, Dec. 2014, pp.

31-51. EBSCOhost,

direct=true&db=fua&AN=100261356&site=ehost-live. Accessed 1 Nov. 2017.

New York Magazine. Google Books,


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e. Accessed 9 Nov.