Advanced Marketing Assignment

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As stated in Smith & Taylor (2003), “audiences often unconsciously perceive images stimulated by certain symbols”. Symbols are defined by the Collins Dictionary & Thesaurus (1997) as: “Something that represents or stands for something else, usually by convention or association, especially a material object used to represent something abstract” It is of great importance when devising a marketing campaign, to ensure that the symbols used in an advertisement are going to evoke the desired response to the advert and the product.

The use of Victoria Beckham, seeks to make the advert appeal to the target market, being young professional women aged between 20 and 35. Using such a celebrity gives the St. Tropez adverts “stopping power” (G. Belch & M. Belch, 2001). It is argued that the correct use of celebrities draws attention away from an already cluttered advertising environment and towards specific adverts with images of people that we recognise and admire. Victoria Beckham appears, without fail, in magazines and newspapers of some form or another every week, bought by millions of women across the country.

At the moment, she is very popular among most women and can therefore be used to “enhance the target audience’s perceptions of the product in terms of image and/or performance” (G. Belch & M. Belch, 2001). Sitting in her bikini in a deckchair in the office environment is set out to make the audience think that you don’t need to be on the beach to get a tan, as modelled in the advert. It is the intention to make the audience think that the same results can be achieved in an indoor environment as sitting out in the sun, hence the poor weather seen out of the window.

The office environment also promotes the product to our aforementioned desired target market. Having the model re-apply the product uses the product as a symbol and illustrating the St. Tropez bottle, allows the audience form an association with the advert and the product. This in turn hopefully ensures that they will recognise the product when out shopping and associate it with what is hopefully a successful advertising campaign.

In our campaign, we felt that the colouring of the bottle could be changed from being black text on a white bottle, to a sand coloured base of the bottle and a sky blue body, with St. Tropez written in gold. This would depict a beach-like scene and leaves scope to promote and let the customer believe, that what they are purchasing is “sun in a bottle”. It is also very important to use colours correctly for cross-cultural purposes. For in the western world, “white is the colour of birth… and celebrates a happy life event, whereas in China, it symbolizes mourning” (G.

Belch & M. Belch, 2001). For if St. Tropez desire to be market leaders around the world, it would be important for them to re-consider their colour schemes, especially for the Asian market, to ensure that they are promoting themselves the way in which they wish. With the model demonstrating the re-application of the product, the audience are able to appreciate the effectiveness of the product. It would be pointless to show the model as ‘milk bottle’ white, for the audience would not be able to see the results of using the product.

The fact that she is applying it herself is symbolic in the way that it shows how easy the product is to apply. It shows the audience that you need no professional assistance and that the product really isn’t as messy as one thought and could even be applied at work! The statement “the best ; safest way to get a tan is to create it” would be written at the bottom of the advert in the St. Tropez font style in gold. The colour gold is associated with the sun and of the best quality however could also be seen as expensive.

Keeping the writing in the same font style keeps the advert consistent with the product and its packaging, building the brand around similar symbols, which if used frequently will have more of an effect on the audience. The actual statement itself reminds the audience of the dangers of the sun and or the use of sun beds. With the issue of skin cancer being constantly presented in today’s news, the statement seeks to communicate the health benefits of the product re-emphasising the fact that you can get a tan, the same way you would by being on a beach, a lot more easily (no-mess application) and a lot more safely.

On the whole, the field of Semiotics, defined by Pickton & Broderick (2001) as “the scientific discipline of studying the meanings associated with signs, symbols and brands” is an area of marketing, which is of great importance, especially in the world of advertising. As only 30% of communication uses words (Pickton & Broderick, 2001), the use of pictures and models, such as Victoria Beckham are of great importance in the thoughts, which they evoke from the audience.

Our St. Tropez campaign was marketed to a UK audience; however, one must also remember the many cultural differences that are associated with certain symbols and as illustrated, colours too. Overall, I believe that with the symbols used in our campaign, we would be able to express and promote the benefits of the self-tanning product, keeping in line with the company’s brand image to our target market, leaving scope for other products to be advertised in a similar fashion.

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