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For the Advertisement Analysis we’ll be writing descriptive analyses of advertisements. Standard length should be a minimum three-to-four pages, double-spaced. You must choose an advertisement you’ve cut out from a newspaper or magazine. Your primary task is to answer the question “How does the advertisement manipulate the consumer?” As you begin your search for an appropriate ad, keep in mind the following guidelines:
1. The ad should be substantial enough to write about. Choose something that has language and images that will contribute to a 3-4 page analysis. Take your ad from a current magazine, and be sure to get the date and title of the magazine; knowing the type of people who read that magazine will help define the target audience for your advertisement.
2. Consider the intended audience. Who is being targeted for that specific product? You might consider the various groups that are likely to buy the product—whether it’s an age group, a certain sex, or even a social class or income bracket.
3. Advertisers use a variety of appeals: Logos, Pathos, or Ethos, and often a combination of each.
Logos (logic) is an appeal to a person’s sense of reason. It often includes facts and figures intended to convince its audience that buying the product is a wise choice and will benefit the buyer. Advertisements for cars will cite design specifications, mileage rates, awards won, and cost.
Pathos (emotions) will appeal to a person’s feelings or emotions. Some standard images they might use are children, cute pets, and family scenes to win the sympathy of the viewer. Or they might evoke any number of emotions to achieve the desired effect. An advertisement for a home security system will play upon our fears by showing a threatening burglar dressed in black creeping around a family’s home. One ad places helpless infants floating on Michelin tires and asks, “Would you trust your family’s welfare to any old tire?”— suggesting that “Caring” parents will buy Michelin tires to protect their babies’ lives.
Ethos (ethics of good character) appeals to a person’s sense of trust or good faith. They make an appeal to our sense of authority. These advertisements get endorsements from famous celebrities who seem to know something about the product. Thus, when we see Michael Jordan flying through the air in a pair of Nike Air Jordans, we “know” that they must be good if Jordan wears them. Similarly, when Burt Reynolds tells us that his brand of motor oil is more durable than the competition’s, we tend to believe him since he has so often outwitted cops in high-speed chases in the movies.
4. What words, sounds, or images are being used, and how are they influencing or manipulating the audience? Advertisers can be profoundly clever in making their sales pitch. They will use certain colors to spark certain moods. Burger King, for example, uses reds and yellows (warm colors) to stimulate appetites, while KLM will use Blues and greens (cool colors) to soothe nerves and calm the senses.