Advertising is a message or notes for a vendor a consumer. It intends to provide information which can be factual or fable to influence a consumer to spend money on a product. Different adverts use various different approaches to appeal to a target market, some of which this text will explore. Even though there’s an option for a direct approach, most adverts tend to stick with the indirect approach as most marketing agencies think that using symbolic codes and representations are more effective at attracting buyers.
Gillette is a safety-razor manufacturing company worth US $43 billion and aims towards young men. And it sometime uses some other resources to penetrate through to the target market such as; Rugby League, US football association and Baseball. Some well known names such as Tiger Woods, Thierry Henry, Vincent McMahon, Michael Clarke, Shoaib Malik, John Cena and Rahul Dravid have been used to market their products. The company also utilised brands such as Saturday Night Live, Mad TV, NFL and WWE to enforce the advertisement of their products. This is done, so the customers, fans and audience loyal to these names and brands might want to try something from another company associated to that one just for the sheer fact that the company is linked to them in some way. This on its own in my opinion is a good advertising technique and one that is most common.
The two images of the advertising posters are promoting the razors produced by Gillette. One is a razor aimed towards men and the other for women.
Advert 1 is aimed towards young men via a celebrity promoting the product using connotations to sport (football; which is influential to most young English men). Advert 2 uses a female model to promote the female division of their product and presents the product in more of a feminine way.
Firstly the two adverts use symbolic codes and uses a medium shot. Advert 1 features a mid-shot of David Beckham (a famous celebrity, a stereotypical image of a macho-man and a sports icon for some). This is done mainly to focus on the person and to bring the feeling of intensity. It connotes Beckham to be a very intense and manly character. This would be effective to attract young men as most young people picture themselves as an intensive character and most people are deeply influenced by David Beckham as he is supposed to be the typical image for a man. Also a stereotype is being used by the advert to attract a buyer. This implies that the advert companies get the best selling name in the industry and USE them to sell their products. At prime of Advert 1’s duration, Beckham was considered the ideal image of a man whereas today he has been reported of committing acts which bring shame to his name.
The camera angle is on an eye-level shot. This creates the effect that a viewer is looking at the object or model from his point of view. This places the audience on an equal foot with the character which could suggest that anyone can be like that character, provided that you buy the product the character is uses. This could also imply that the advertisers are trying to say that you can mix in with high class people like this because an eye level shot creates a feeling of comfort with the character.
The gesture of the model in an advert also holds significance. The gesture in advert 1 suggests a direct approach being used to promote the product compared to ad2.
Advert 2 features a female model who is walking freely on a beach with her arms in air. This shows an indirect approach being used. It could also imply to the results of using the product as the body of the model is pretty hair-less. Personally, I think that the indirect approach leaves a larger impact compared to the direct one as the messages you comprehend subconsciously stay with you for a longer period.
Additionally, the gesture could symbolise freedom as maybe the designer is trying to imply to the fact that you feel free after the use of the product and freedom is something that the modern society targets for women due to the unfair past of women’s rights
Stereotypes are also used to influence the audience to purchase a product. Advert 2 uses an image of a female model that is seen to be walking on a beach with a ‘stereotypical shaped’ body that most people consider beautiful. It’s a long shot which allows an observer to look at the whole figure/ body of the model. This doesn’t just do so, but once again it presents the result of using the product. Also in a long shot, her face is not the centre of attention, which implies that it’s not important who she is, but what she is doing and what she is representing is more important. On the other hand it could suggest that the advertiser is hoping the market to just be absorbed in the ad just by looking at the “beautiful” model. This also shows sexuality being used to manipulate the audience.
Next, in Advert 1, David Beckham is holding the razor in his hand in such a way that it looks like he’s holding a sword. This could be a connotation of power, pride and strength. This suggests the razor to be personified as a sword and is like an object that represents power and strength and it’s something that you would take pride in holding (it’s a gladiatorial pose). He is also holding the product near his chest area which connotes that the product is close to his heart. A smirk on the model’s face and a shining lens flare coming off the razor blades also reinforces the idea of pride, confidence, strength and power. This also contributes to the suggestion that the designer includes the emotional advantages of buying this product.
Furthermore the setting of Ad 2 is at a beach which could symbolise femininity. This could also imply the girl to be showing off her dreamy body. An emotional benefit sewn in this picture is the idea of gaining confidence.
However, the lighting used in Advert 1 is a ‘single point lighting’, this means that only the ‘key light’ is present. This gives a gradient effect on the subject and only one half of the subject is highlighted. This creates a mysterious effect which could mean that there’s either a secret or hidden side to the subject or the subject stands for two different things. It could also suggest enlightenment, as the side that has the razor gets more light then the opposite side. As a result, controversy is created, just by the lighting effect, which, I believe, is always a good tool to attract a consumer.
Whereas, the background used in Advert 1 is black; this could be because the advert wants to highlight the person and the product. This is referring to the idea that they are more important than anything else.
Even though it seems like there is a lot going on the posters, the product that is being advertised stands out. In Advert 1 everything except the product is in duotone (or black and white). In Advert 2 the product is placed as a part of a banner which covers almost a quarter of the poster which makes the razor stand out. In both ads, a small picture of the product can be found on the bottom right of the poster and they both stand out. Advert 2 has a lot of bright colours which gives a heavenly impression which could connote that by using this product you will feel as if you’re in heaven. This also shows the continuity that the advertisers have included in both of the adverts which makes the whole brand look like something done on a bigger scale and it’s not just some any small company.
Both adverts involve models who have limited costuming. In advert 1 the model is topless and in the second one the model is wearing a beach/swim suit. This can be found offensive by some religions and personally, being a Muslim, my culture would never accept this sort of images of men and women showing their skin. This could also interpret to the idea of nature which can also lead us to believe that it’s in our nature to use this product or in other words it’s a necessity for every individual to buy and use this product. This is thought to be ironic because using a razor is more un-natural while just keeping your hair is more natural. This is pretty much the designer trying to provoke a target market to buy this product.
Aswell as the adverts offending certain cultures, the second advert in particular could be found offensive to women in general. The figure of the model could make the female audience feel uncomfortable and unhappy with their body compared to the model’s. It could also make them feel more self conscious. However some of the people who feel oppressed might actually purchase this product in hope that they can look “as perfect” as the model.
Nevertheless, both adverts promote the product using sexuality which is appealing to both genders.
The head of the razor held by David Beckham is green in colour which can be a connotation to a football field or Astroturf which sort of symbolises and represent machismo because in Britain nearly every man is crazy about the sport.
Additionally, a couple of catchy phrases are to be noted in Advert 1. The slogan ‘Precise, Smooth and Powerful’ is a line made by using triads which is a persuasive device that persuades a viewer to buy the product. Advert 2 features the quote (the name of product) ‘Venus Divine’ which is also the name of the product as well as a phrase to made the product look feminine and sound good enough and promising for a user to buy. The name of the company ‘Gillette’ is present on both ads to symbolise the manufacturer and to highlight that this product is part of a well known brand. I think that a consumer would feel more comfortable relying and purchasing a product which has a huge reputation than buy any ordinary one.
To conclude with, adverts use various different devices to promote their product and the most significant techniques to me are the emotional and materialistic benefits because these two, in my opinion, are the main reasons for the sale of a well advertised product. As well as these two techniques being effective, they are also fascinating as ad designers present the emotional and materialistic benefits in new and innovative ways. However the use of stereotypes could be the most immoral and un-ethical way to advertise as it could have a huge negative effect and even impact on someone who manages to misinterpret the messages hidden in the adverts.