Questions for Analyzing Ads



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Questions for Analyzing Ads

 

To whom (which target audience) is the advertisement trying to sell the product? Describe the target audience (age, gender, culture, lifestyle).



 

 

To what emotion or emotions is the ad appealing?


Look beyond any emotional appeal to find out what the ad really says (or doesn’t say) about the product or service. Do you detect any exaggeration or suspicious promises? If so, describe the “hidden message.”

 

 

 



What is the intended use(s) of the product? Does the advertiser point out special features of the product that distract for the intended use? If so, explain the distractions.

 

 



 

 

Are there any signs or symbols in the ad? If so, what are they trying to tell you?



 

 

 



 

What advertising techniques are being used to sell the product (see glossary of terms)? .

Glossary of Commonly Used Advertising Techniques

 

Beauty Appeal: Beauty attracts us; we are drawn to beautiful people, places, and things.

 

Celebrity Endorsement: Associates product use with a well-known person. By purchasing this product we are led to believe that we will attain characteristics similar to the celebrity.

 

Compliment the Consumer: Advertisers flatter the consumer who is willing to purchase their product. By purchasing the product the consumer is recognized by the advertisers for making a good decision with their selection.

 

Escape: Getting away from it all is very appealing; you can imagine adventures you cannot have; the idea of escape is pleasurable.

 

Independence/Individuality: Associates product with people who can think and act for themselves. Products are linked to individual decision making.

 

Intelligence: Associates product with smart people who can’t be fooled.

 

Lifestyle: Associates product with a particular style of living/way of doing things.

 

Nurture: Every time you see an animal or a child, the appeal is to your paternal or maternal instincts. Associates products with taking care of someone.

 

Peer Approval: Associates product use with friendship/acceptance. Advertisers can also use this negatively, to make you worry that you’ll lose friends if you don’t use a certain product.

 

Rebel: Associates products with behaviors or lifestyles that oppose society’s norms.

 

Rhetorical Question: This technique poses a question to the consumer that demands a response. A question is asked and the consumer is supposed to answer in such a way that affirms the product’s goodness.

 

Scientific/Statistical Claim: Provides some sort of scientific proof or experiment, very specific numbers, or an impressive sounding mystery ingredient.

 

Unfinished Comparison/Claim: Use of phrases such as “Works better in poor driving conditions!” Works better than what?




http://www.mediaworkshop.org/bwc/johnston_gonzalez/ads/glossary.html
Link to Jib Fowles’ essay on advertising: http://www.cyberpat.com/shirlsite/education/essay2/jfowles.html
Advertising’s 15 Basic Appeals, by Jib Fowles
(from “Mass Advertising As Social Forecast”)

1. Need for sex- surprisingly, Fowles found that only 2 percent of the television ads, he surveyed used this appeal. It may be too blatant, he concluded, and often detracts from the product.


2. Need for affiliation- the largest number of ads use this approach: you are looking for friendship? Advertisers can also use this negatively, to make you worry that you’ll lose friends if you don’t use a certain product.
3. Need to nurture- every time you see a puppy or a kitten or a child, the appeal is to your paternal or maternal instincts.
4. Need for guidance- a father or mother figure can appeal to your desire for someone to care for you, s you won’t have to worry. Betty Crocker is a good example.
5. Need to aggress- we all have had a desire to get even, and some ads give you this satisfaction.
6. Need to achieve- the ability to accomplish something difficult and succeed identifies the product with winning. Sports figures as spokespersons project this image.
7. Need to dominate- the power we lack is what we can look for in a commercial “master the possibilities.”
8. Need for prominence- we want to be admired and respected; to have high social status. Tasteful china and classic diamonds offer this potential.
9. Need for attention- we want people to notice us; we want to be looked at. Cosmetics are a natural for this approach.
10. Need for autonomy- within a crowded environment, we want to be singled out, to be a “breed apart.” This can also be used negatively: you may be left out if you don’t use a particular product
11. Need to escape- flight is very appealing; you can imagine adventures you cannot have; the idea of escape is pleasurable
12. Need to feel safe- to be free from threats, to be secure is the appeal of many insurance and bank ads
13. Need for aesthetic sensations-beauty attracts us, and classic art or dance makes us feel creative, enhanced
14. Need to satisfy curiosity-facts support our belief that information is quantifiable and numbers and diagrams make our choices seem scientific
15. Psychological needs- Fowles defines sex (item no.1) as a biological need, and so he classifies our need to sleep, eat, and drink in this category. Advertisers for juicy pizza are especially appealing late at night.

Source: Media Impact Introduction to Mass Media (4th Ed) Author: Shirley Biagi, Wadsworth



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