Magazine advertisements contain various symbolic messages in an attempt to reach their target audience. In this analysis, I will analyze two different full-page ads in US News and World Report. I will be using Jib Fowles’ Advertising’s Fifteen Basic Appeals to analyze symbolic construction and basic emotional appeals. Fowles states the goal of advertisers is to tug at our psychological shirtsleeves. Advertisers bombard us with pleasing images to draw us in and get us to pay attention to their ads. Let’s take a deeper look at these two ads and what they are conveying to consumers.
The first advertisement is an ad for Philips Brand Computed Tomography scanner or CT scanner for short. The ad depicts a young boy standing on the beach smiling and holding an umbrella to shade him from the sun. This adorable young boy has been specially selected to stimulate our desires.
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US News and World Report is a general interest magazine appealing to a broad spectrum of audiences. The ads primary symbol is the young boy. This image calls upon our need to nurture. The umbrella shading the boy from the sun furthers this need. When we look further and read the text we find out that Philips has improved their CT scanner and lowered the dose of radiation when this machine is used. Appealing again to our need to nurture and protect. In the background we have the ocean. Though the least effective symbol it appeals to our need to escape.
The need to nurture is often aimed at women. More nurturing by nature it is an effective technique when used properly. Had this ad been seen in a magazine such as Contemporary Diagnostic Radiology, I’d wager the ad would have been geared more towards medical professionals, siting the technical aspects and benefits of the product. Changing the appeal to the need to achieve. Using only the X-ray symbol and text, the ad would still convey its’ meaning to the audience.
This ad would still be effective for the target audience. Without knowing what a CT scanner is or why we would need to use one, Philips tells us they care for us and are working to better their products for us the consumers. In turn, this may cause people to look at all Philips products in a positive light and possibly purchase them.
The second advertisement is for a Citibank American Airlines AAdvantage program. The ad shows a woman relaxing in a canoe on a peaceful lake near snow-covered mountains. The ad has two of Fowles’s fifteen basic appeals. These are autonomy and the need to escape. The ad appeals to our sense of pride and self-worth.
They (Citibank) want us to believe that by using their card for everyday purchases will lead to our ability to take time off and enjoy ourselves. The image of the woman relaxing and enjoying a beautiful view is focusing on her independence. The independence Citibank wants us to believe we have used their card. She is shown alone so you get the sense she doesn’t need anyone or anything, except her Citibank card, to get what she needs. There is a strong need for autonomy in women and this ad meets it. The advertisers chose not to use the negative approach, guilt or neglecting yourself. This would have cast a bad light on their card for some viewers.
When you read the question you start to think about stopping on your way to work for a latte. There is nothing visual to suggest this but our minds start to form a familiar narrative by seeing the ad. One that is logical and that we can accept showing steps taken by the woman to bring her to this lake in this boat. She obtained her card, used her card, earned rewards and used her rewards. The advertisers are appealing to our need to escape. This need often comes with a sense of pleasure and advertisers use it often. We hope to leave behind the daily drudgeries of our lives and relax or live out an adventure.
This very ad would continue to work well in other more specialized magazines. Travel magazines, for instance, in an effort to inform their readers of destinations and attractions, would be furthered by Citibank’s ad on how they could obtain these trips. This ad would be less effective in a magazine such as GQ. Published with a male demographic in mind, the female image would be changed to a male image to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Both of these advertisements appeal to the need for aesthetic sensations. Fowles states “Some few ads have their emotional appeal in the text, but for the greater number by far the appeal is contained in the artwork.” Advertisers use this appeal in almost every ad. Advertisers have learned it is easier to communicate with prospective buyers using visually pleasing images than with text. These ads have two forms of content; consumer appeals and information. These ads would be hard to improve upon.
Advertisers have learned to use beautiful pictures and well laid out ads to spark interest from consumers. Witty slogans and carefully thought out camera angles step up their ads. They have been sneaky and underhanded in efforts to bring us a message they want to convey. Advertisers have used the fifteen basic appeals to reach us by any means necessary, sometimes using several appeals in one ad. Their campaigns have been and will continue to be successful. A. C. Neilsen Company states that seventy-five per cent of new products expire each year yet advertisers spend fifty billion dollars a year in ad costs. Advertising sells.