A Study of Media Advertising

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Media Assignment- A Study of Media Advertising consider why the two Levi’s adverts are both successful Advertising, is a way of increasing the sales of a company, using subtle tactics to provoke the audience into buying the product. The more closely we analyse advertising styles it becomes apparent they do not only set out to sell a product, but an image and lifestyle as well. By stimulating the audience’s fascination with sexuality they can be excited by a product without even realising it. A good example of this is Levi’s.

Levi’s runs a very successful advertising campaign, unrivalled since 1853. L�vi Strauss, a French anthropologist came to San Francisco and invented Levi’s. The jeans he sold were originally workman’s jeans from Western America, which soon became a fashion item. Five generations from all global cultures have worn Levi’s jeans as a symbol of freedom and integrity in the face of adversity, challenge and social change. They have been noted for their expensive, individual image and their button flies, also by selling the ‘classic’ 501 the jeans seem more traditional and irresistible.

Adverts reflect the time they’re produced in, their value and society. Those made 20 years ago would never have tried to seduce us in the way they do today. They were more literal, relying a great deal more on words and catch phrases; today advertisers use actions and body movements to a greater extent. There are far more adverts now so the companies have to try harder to attract us. Levi’s adverts try to rise above all other adverts. Intending to manipulate the audience’s subconscious into craving more of the product. Levi’s want to target the audience, entice them, so they will desire the product more than anything. They want the audience to feel it has made such an impact on them, therefore their product must be a good design.

Ad.1 (Pool Hall) and ad.2 (Modern) are the adverts I am going to write about. Ad.1 is about an old man, dethroned by a man who is young and handsome. The old man challenges the attractive man to a pool game, but he loses and is humiliated. Ad.2 shows clips of people doing strange movements, almost like insects. They are very powerful and sexy, yet cool and carefree at the same time. Both adverts have things in common even though they are made in separate eras.

They are set in the city and no one looks really wealthy, which is quite ironic because Levi’s are quite expensive. The camera, in the beginning focuses on each character individually and sometimes gives a close up on their faces to show emotion and detail. The expression of the protagonist conveys mood and passion. Framing is used a lot on important images and panning applied to focus on key features. The subtext, like most adverts today, is sex, projected in a very tactile and sensually tangible way. Although the adverts are very varied, some of the ideology is very similar, for instance ‘if you are in Levi’s you are in control of your body’. Both adverts are about Levi’s giving victim power. Levi’s adverts are also incredibly suggestive, provoking thoughts and feelings of a sexual nature.

The two Levi’s adverts have more differences than similarities. The terminology in ad.1 has much slower editing (26 edits) than in ad.2 (52 edits). The camera work used in ad.2 is much more sophisticated e.g. long shot through door framing a girl. It also uses tilt-quite a modern technique, and reinforcements. Ad.1 has much simpler terminology and shows a recurring shot on the button up flies that ad.2 does not do. The colour use in ad.1 is very contemporary, bright blues and reds. The only thing, which is dull, is the old man not wearing Levi’s. He is made to look humiliated because he is ‘ugly’ without Levi’s. Ad.2 has sullen, grey, lifeless colours. They give us a sinister, oppressive feeling, unlike the brilliantly flamboyant colours in ad.1.

Music always gives life, in ad.1 the song ‘Should I stay or Should I go’ by Clash, blends in with the advert making it memorable and rhythmic. Timeless, classic songs will always be remembered. Ad.2 has a completely different feel to it. I would not call it music; it is effects and urban noises. The sounds are actually like jeans being rubbed (hence the name ‘rub yourself’). Different techniques are used to seize the audience’s attention; the popular song in ad.1 is an obvious way, but in ad.2 the audience is captured by its perverse nature – it uses reverse psychology. Ad.2 has a number of different settings around the city, and each scene in each setting has different people. It is an urban scene, with a surreal touch to it. There is no narrative sequence either, which makes it very clipped and precise. Ad.1 only has one setting (Pool Hall) and it does tell a story.

The images used are completely opposite from one another. Ad.1 only has beautiful, sexy people, except the man not wearing Levi’s. In ad.1 fatter, uglier people are always looked down on, and they are always the ones getting hurt or embarrassed. It is almost ‘if you wear Levi’s you are sexy’, because they make you sexy, and if you don’t have them then you are valueless. Ad.1 reinforces sexual stereotypes which ad.2 does not have. Ad.2 is unlike ad.1 because the people in it are not plastered in make up to make them look gorgeous, they are more interesting and unusual.

The mood displayed in ad.2 gives a very sombre, depressing and sleepy feel to it. It is quite creepy, as if everyone is insane. The people are isolated although they are in the city; emotion becomes more surreal as the ad goes on. Ad.1 is lively, humorous and mischievous. There is a friendly, relaxed feeling. Levi’s ad.1 is very Western American; it has no black people. Ad.2 is especially modern and it shows people from all cultures.

What I find amazing, is the way that two adverts can both be so incompatible, yet so successful. Success, in Levi’s case, is when a certain amount of fame, wealth or power is attained. The two adverts I am studying must be successful otherwise I wouldn’t be studying them. There is so much information in such a short period of time, but we are still infatuated by its music, colour, humour and attractiveness. The adverts that make me laugh or make me cry are the most memorable ones because I relate to them well. If an advert captures the audiences’ imagination, they will be a success. I really like these adverts, the more I watched, and the more I understood. They portray an image of real life in two different ways, which I find fascinating. The image of expense and dominance excels a controlling atmosphere. The adverts are all about love and lust, individuality and fantasy.

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