You are on page 1of 6

Jacqueline Hill Adv 411 Professor Catherine Coleman Paper Assignment 1 Reason Why vs.

Image Advertising Advertising can be defined as any sponsored, paid message that is communicated and then executed in a nonpersonal way. Advertising has a great influence on society because advertisements have the power of adding psychological value to a product and/or brand. When learning about advertising, it is important to study its history, as well as prominent historic campaigns in the industry. In the post-war period, two main forms of advertising appeared: "reason why" and “image.” These two forms of advertising are used by companies to deliver different messages to their target audiences, depending on the ad and the product. It is evident that there are these differentiations between reason why and image advertising, which clearly organizes and classifies the work of advertising. In the next few pages, reason why and image advertising will be thoroughly compared and contrasted by defining their key tenets, leading authors, classic campaigns and, subsequently, the development of advertising within history to the present through each school. This will help us to examine the forces that have been prominent in influencing the development of advertising and getting a better understanding of how reason why and image advertising impacts the way ads are constructed and interpreted today. The first school of advertising, reason why, is rational, meaning people are motivated and persuaded to buy the product. This does not take into account culture or emotions, but instead logic and knowledge. Reason why advertising also relies on the unique selling proposition, which is the promise or claim that captures the reason for buying the product. The unique selling proposition is mainly used for promoting one key feature or benefit of a brand for a long time,

which aims at eventually breaking through the clutter of other advertising and creating a sole position in the consumer’s mind. Rosser Reeves represented reason why advertising by creating the unique selling proposition in the 1950s. According to Reeves, his aim was to get a lasting message into the heads of as many consumers as possible, at the lowest cost possible (Twitchell, 147). Nowadays, however, the unique selling proposition does not work as well and is not used very often. Reason why advertising can also be described as hard sell, because they usually involve campaigns that are more direct, forceful, and overt in their sales message. Certain characteristics that make up advertisements or campaigns that adhere to the reason why principles include: long copy and numbers, logic, science, measurement, quantitative research, coupons, samples, and zealotry. Products that can be associated with reason why advertising include pharmaceuticals, technology, packaged goods, cosmetics, clothing, and cigarettes. The leading authors of reason why advertising were John E. Powers, John E. Kennedy, Albert Lasker, Claude Hopkins, and Rosser Reeves. John E. Powers, one of the leaders in the birth of the reason-why advertising found that by giving consumers the reason why what he was saying was true within his advertisements, people were more likely to purchase the product. He believed that consumers were more suspicious than believing, and by telling the truth and using the principles of reason why advertising, advertisements would be more effective. Powers developed this reason why school of advertising through the years and helped make lead way for more many more authors to stem off of his ideas and utilize reason why characteristics in their ads. On an English family magazine, Powers inserted a two-paragraph description for an insect device. He ends the ad saying, “It’s worth a hundred dollars, send it back if it isn’t.” It is

important to notice his writing on this ad because as going along with the reason why principles, this writing was simple, easy, and used clear sentences to help readers understand what was being advertised fully, correctly, and logically. The sentences are short, concise, and to the point, making it easy to see the price and purpose of the product. This insect device ad, a good example of an early reason why advertisement, will be interesting to compare to an image advertisement, which will be discussed in the later portion of this paper. In the early 1900s, Albert Lasker learned from copywriter, John E. Kennedy that advertising was really "salesmanship in print." Kennedy's reason why approach instantly appealed to Lasker, who hired Kennedy as his top writer. Kennedy thought that an advertisement should say what a salesperson would say in a face-to-face conversation. Specifically, the ad should offer reasons why the customer should buy the product and what a successful salesman would say face to face with a customer. Kennedy's reason why approach instantly appealed to Lasker, who hired Kennedy as his top writer. Also, instead of general claims, pretty pictures, or jingles, he believed that an ad should provide a concrete "reason why" the product was worth buying. The "salesmanship in print" school of copywriting that Albert Lasker established became the training ground for many writers who went on to form their own successful agencies.

Another reason why author, Claude Hopkins, believed that "advertising is salesmanship" should be measurable and justify the results that it produced. Hopkins was a strong believer in "reason why copy" and the principles that he discovered and documented became a beneficial foundation for advertising today. Hopkins’s views made clear that it did not matter what type of advertising medium one used, from print advertising to the Internet, but that as long as one was familiar with the fundamental, they can be applied anywhere and to anything. He believed, that a good product was often its own best salesperson and as therefore in strong favor of sampling. He

would often use coupons to help trace his results, which gave him the ability to not only measure results, but get feedback on how to improve results. Hopkins also believed that advertising existed only to sell something, which went along with beliefs similar authors had. His influence was significant to the development of reason why advertising, because he initiated the use of coupons, premiums, free samples, mail order, and copy testing. One of his most memorable ads was for Pepsodent toothpaste where he "discovered" plaque and gave out a one-week tube for free, in attempts for consumers to try out this product and potentially purchase it (Twitchell, 48). These type of trial coupons found at the bottom of his ads became popular among advertisers and were amongst one of the many new trends market consumers were adhering to. In contrast, when looking at the other school of advertising, “image advertising,” one can see that it differs quite drastically from reason why advertising. Image advertising influences the reader, tries to make them feel better about a product or service, and most importantly aims at creating brand awareness. This advertising school differs from the reason why school, because it was designed to enhance the public's perception of a company, create goodwill, and announce a major change such as a merger. It is often identified and categorized by three main characteristics: pictures, emotions, and self image. The principles that these characteristics adhere to are the differentiation by user, rather than by product, expression of differentiation by role models and visual styles, and use of targeted messages in segmented media. Image writers are defined more by what they are not. They do not use hard sell, have scientific approaches, use a great amount of detail, or find themselves afraid of using humor or pictures (many reason why characteristics). Consequently, image writers are defined to be respectful of their audience, sensitive to the difference that style makes in the message

communicated, inclined toward evocative, metaphorical language or strong “story appeal,” and passionate about the importance of originality and freshness. Key tenets associated with image advertising include: emotions, soft sell, pictures and music, aesthetic appeal, measurement issues, qualitative research, brand equity, good times, and not zealotry. Leading authors of image advertising were Helen Lansdowne Resor, Earnest Elmo Calkins, Theodore MacManus, Bill Bernbach, and Mary Wells Lawrence. Bill Bernbach, considered the creator of image advertising, believed the main concepts of this school were appealing to the heart instead of the head, using feelings to reach people, and viewing advertising as an art (Twitchell, 112). These established good ground rules for further authors to incorporate image advertising into their ads. While Claude Hopkins, was famous for scientific advertising, or hard sell, which was considered writing down to an audience, Theodore MacManus used soft sell, also known as writing up. MacManus was renown for his soft sell-image-style advertising, which helped introduce both brands such as Chrysler and Dodge. He was also known for having created a style of advertising that resembled original art, which was one of the main components of image advertising. MacManus’s most famous ad for Cadillac, "The Penalty of Leadership," exemplified his philosophy and ultimately established him as the leading author of the second school of creative thought, image advertising. This advertisement is very lengthy and detailed, almost to the point where it looks unbearable to read. MacManus’s aim was at trying to build a durable image of reliability and quality, rather than with a list of facts. This developed the concept of image advertising because he believed that advertising should not be used for a “fast scale” lifestyle, but instead to build a long-term relationship by many steps along the way. Lastly, the reason why and image schools of advertising are two opposing ways to

construct advertisements, aiming to market to consumers. Depending on the type of product or brand one is trying to advertise for, it is important to determine which school to use. When looking back at the historic campaigns of these two styles, one can see how different advertising authors established specific characteristics for reason why and image advertising. To fully grasp the difference in the two schools, it is necessary to study the key tenets of each, leading authors, important campaign examples, and the development of each through history. Each different author and campaign contributed his or her own unique influence to the development of the advertising method, which benefits our advertising business today. Currently, reason why and image advertising are primarily used for promoting different categories of products trying to find the best way to reach their audience and market to their consumers, while still relying on the original foundation developed by each author and campaign in the advertising industry.