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Comparative Rhetorical Analysis of Two Ads

Advertising is everywhere, and it invades all areas of our life. Advertisements are a powerful thing. They persuade the reader to think what they want them to think, want what they want them to want and believe what they want them to believe. To fully understand advertisements, the reader must be able to analyze the advertisement by looking at how the ad is presented, what the verbal text is saying (and what it is leaving unsaid), whom the ad is targeted at, what appeals are made in the ad, and what the advertiser’s goals and strategies are. To illustrate how to do this, the jewelry advertisements for Leslie Greene and Bulgari that appear in Harper’s Bazaar will be examined.

The images and text are purposefully arranged to persuade consumers to associate the product with a certain lifestyle. Obviously, not all types of advertising appeal to everyone, so the target audience is essential in portraying the product’s image and quality. It will be shown that both of the advertisements are aimed at women. However, they have very different approaches to both the target audience and how they appeal to them. In the Leslie Greene ad, jewelry is being advertised. It shows a woman about to bite into a green strawberry held by finely manicured fingers. The age of the woman is imperceptible. There is diamond jewelry draped on the strawberry, the fingers, and lower on the page. In this picture, only the mouth, lower portion of the face, and the woman’s fingers are shown.

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Jewelry is advertised in the Bulgari ad also, but so is Omnia perfume. The ad displays a woman on the right side of the page that is completely naked except for the jewelry along her right arm. The woman looks like she is in her late twenties to early thirties and looks very serene. She is holding the Omnia perfume in her hands in front of her right shoulder. Her long, red, curly hair is being blown around by the wind. The background all around the woman is composed of orange and dark clouds. The two photos are both straight on, and everything in them is in focus and sharp. This clearly shows that the advertisers want the readers to see the advertisements clearly and not put too much effort into reading them. This makes them easier to look at, which in turn makes you want to look at them.

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The two advertisements caught my eye because they are fascinating to look at. The Leslie Greene ad is unlike many other ads because it is mainly black and white, but there is a very bright neon green strawberry in the ad. The uniqueness of the ad intrigues me. It also only shows the model’s mouth, rather than the whole face or body like in most ads. This keeps the attention on the jewelry in the ad rather than on the model. The Bulgari ad also drew me to it, but for different reasons. The main color of the advertisement is a pleasing orange that is calming to look at, and there are many interesting elements to the ad. It seems as if the woman is out in nature because there are only clouds shown in the background. This appeals to me because I truly enjoy being out in nature. The ad is also intriguing because the woman is completely naked except for the jewelry, implying that the jewelry is all one needs to wear.

Both of the advertisements have few colors, but they have different effects on the readers. The black and white of the Leslie Greene ad makes it very dramatic, especially with the neon green strawberry. There is a lot of contrast between the sparkling jewelry, the white face, teeth, text, and nails, and the black background and dark lips. The contrast makes the jewelry stand out on the page. The ad looks very striking because of all of the contrast. The distance of the camera from the subject usually suggests the importance and intensity of the product. In this ad, the advertisers use a close-up on the mouth of the woman, her fingers, the green strawberry, and the jewelry in the ad. This type of shot increases the intensity of the ad, and it gives an attitude that looks are important because it is focusing on the woman with perfectly applied lipstick and flawlessly manicured nails.

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It also shows that the look shown is of importance. This means that the ad is appealing to women who care about what they look like and that they will look flawless like the woman in the ad if they wear Leslie Greene’s jewelry. The Bulgari ad is not primarily black and white like the Leslie Greene ad, but it is all orange and earthy colors. This gives the ad a feeling of serenity because they are warm colors that are comfortable to look at and do not jump out at you. The orange also makes the two products (the jewelry and the Omnia perfume) stick out because they are silver and the only two things that are not earthy colors in the picture. The camera in this ad is focused on the perfume, and then the eye travels down to the jewelry on the woman’s arm. Thus, the two products are the centers of attention in the ad, showing that they are of importance. So, the ad is appealing to people who want their jewelry to stand out and be noticeable – those who are seeking attention.

The lack of colors in the Leslie Greene ad, along with other elements, displays simplicity. The slogan “Simply Greene” adds to the elegant simplicity portrayed in the picture. The diamonds portrayed in the picture are all of a similar size and are all set in white gold (so they are simple), and I believe this also is a show of elegance because they are tasteful and wonderful. It is sophisticated too because the ad shows good taste (it is not a wild and crazy advertisement) and advertises diamonds, which in themselves are sophisticated. The ad also gives off an air of beauty because the woman is flawless and good-looking, and the jewelry is also beautiful. The look in this advertisement is one of simplicity, sophistication, elegance, and beauty.

This elegant simplicity contrasts with the overall look of contemporary beauty in the Bulgari ad. The ad is more modern, stating that Omnia is “The New Fragrance For Women” and Bulgari is a “Contemporary Italian Jeweler.” Contemporary is synonymous with modern and up-to-date to me, so the slogan appeals to people who want to wear what is new. It is also a more free-flowing ad because the woman is naked, and the wind blows her hair back. It is very natural looking without anything unnatural (except for the perfume and the jewelry), making the two products seem as though they belong out in nature. She also exhibits confidence because she is looking straight at the camera, not afraid to hide anything. The woman is beautiful, giving the impression that those who wear Bulgari products will be beautiful, too. The feeling of this advertisement is one of modernity, contemporary beauty, free-spiritedness, and confidence.

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The feelings of the two ads reveal whom the jewellers are trying to target as their audience. The elegant simplicity of the Leslie Greene ad shows it is trying to appeal to the upper class (since it is costly jewelry), sophisticated, good-looking, elegant women, or at least women that desire to have these traits. On the other hand, the contemporary beauty of the Bulgari ad is attempting to target upper-middle to upper class (because it is obviously expensive jewelry), modern, free-spirited, more natural-looking, confident, beautiful women, or at least women that want to be like this. The target is women since the two ads appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, primarily for women. This shows that even though both ads target women, they approach their audiences differently and target different values that different women have.

  • Bulgari. (2003, December). Harper’s Bazaar, 79.
  • Leslie Greene. (2003, December). Harper’s Bazaar, 127.

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Comparative Rhetorical Analysis of Two Ads. (2021, Sep 07). Retrieved August 8, 2022, from