A successful advert is one which selects the positive aspects of its product and emphasizes it by the use of repetition and assertion. While visual adverts tend to rely on the use of music and different shades of colours, printed adverts tend to rely more on hooks, signatures and the use of puns throughout the copy. How successful an advert is depends on how successful the advert had been in employing a variety of different persuasive techniques and how clear and concise the advert had been in conveying the message required to the target audience.
The Tango T.V advert is an example of a visual advert which uses slapstick humour to encourage the sale of its product. The advert employs the stereotype of a fat and bold man which is associative with ‘genies’ and ‘fun’. The fun aspect is further emphasized by the Geordie accent which is also reminiscent of football commentators. The tango advert is a satire of serious adverts as it is much exaggerated. It makes fun of adverts used for coffee products as they are usually very serious, with the main character being a white male in the age between 20-30 years, playing the role of ‘Mr. Average’ who goes around having fun and serious about nothing.
A complete contrast to the colours used by the Tango advert is used in a Guinness T.V advert. The advert does not use stark and bright colours to give its audience a ‘peace of mind’. Instead, it is in very faint blue as if it was set very early in the mourning engaging the audience into a relaxed and calm mood. Modern and dramatic music is used to give the advert a ‘live’ sense. While faint colours and slow or no music would give a ‘dead’ impression, one with faint colours and dramatic music gives the audience a ‘soul refreshing’ feeling and a sense of living an emotional dream in which the ‘perfect wave’ is a metaphor for the ‘perfect pint’.
The advert is set in the ocean giving it an ‘epic’ status which, is further emphasized by the use of images of horses, animals traditionally known to having a mighty position. The story of the man who waits for the ‘perfect wave’ is told by a male narrator who attracts the audience’s attention with his powerful accentless voice. The surfer concentrated on is not a professional but rather a bad surfer whose only aim is to enjoy himself. This indirectly points out that Guinness is for ordinary people who want to enjoy themselves. A stereotype describing the surfers further emphasizes this when the audience are told that the group of friends are ‘Polynesian beach bums’ of ages between 30 and 40 years old.
Persuasive techniques used in visual adverts are often used in printed ones too. The use of repetition and assertion is very frequent as it underlines the qualities the advert is emphasizing. Like visual adverts, printed adverts tend to use slogans often as successful ones serve as a reminder to the audience. For example, an advert advertising ‘Glevum Windows’ uses the slogan ‘The class behind glass’ as a way of both emphasizing the quality of the windows sold and flattering the audience by insinuating that they will be classy if they buy these windows.
A Volkswagen printed advert attracts the readers’ attention with the humorous hook: ‘Animals in cars. The results can be horrifying.’ The advert emulates the vocabulary and tone of police reports and crime watch programmes. For example, the advert opens by using a statement that is reminiscent of a police report. Equally, the advert continues by suggesting that the rescue is as dramatic as it would be in real life. Throughout the advert, vocabulary, such as ‘incident’ and ‘occurrence’ is used to insinuate that the advert is actually a police report. This emphasizes that it is a ‘crime’ to spoil the car with fluffy toys and spoilers.
The advert employs stereotypes, for example, people in Walsall having ‘whale tail spoilers’ in their car to flatten the audience into thinking that they are among the ‘normal’ majority that no better than to fiddle with their VW car. The audience are unlike those in Huddersfield, Las Vegas or Palm Springs and realize, from the signature, that some things ‘are best left alone.’ While many adverts choose humour to encourage the sale of their product, a Greenpeace leaflet asking for donations, is much more serious in its approach. The background of the front cover is an image of a leaf conveying the message that Greenpeace stands for nature. The ‘WANTED’ genre emphasizes that crimes are being committed against nature. The genre is then subverted as the reader is told that a hero is wanted rather than a criminal. This technique is used to flatter the audience into thinking that they are the heroes the leaflet is looking for.
Inside the leaflet the audience’s attention is immediately attracted by the large- size and bold rhetoric question in the middle: ‘Do you have the super human qualities required?’ In this rhetoric question the personal pronoun ‘you’ is used so as to address the reader directly. The use of rhetoric questions, in this leaflet, is very frequent, and under many subheadings that all together make up the super human qualities required. For example, the abstract nouns: ‘strength’, ‘knowledge’, ‘vision’ gives the reader the sense that all these skills could be fulfilled if they donated some money thereby encouraging them to do so.
The abstract nouns that make up the subheadings are also placed in order of importance, with ‘action’ placed last in order to persuade the reader to fill the donation form immediately after informing him/her of what he/she will gain if they donate some money in earlier sections. The leaflet is packed with thought-provoking and emphatic images in order to fully engage the reader into what they are being told. And to ensure the reader is not hesitant to make a contribution, the back pages of the leaflet are complete endorsement of Greenpeace with the use of positive selection and assertion. There are lists of achievements and successes which gives the reader the sense that Greenpeace, although in need of more support, is already an established and influential movement.
In conclusion, the most successful adverts have not only used the basic persuasive techniques such as repetition and assertion, but have also gone further by subverting the rules and using many stereotypes and other themes and genres to convey the message required to the target audience. Two adverts, the Guinness and Greenpeace, are the most successful adverts in using complicated persuasive techniques that have resulted in very affective adverts that touched on many different themes, genres and stereotypes. Although simply presented, but hold many deep meanings when looked at closely.
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