Ford Ranger – Advert analysis

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The purpose of this essay is to decode an advert and pick out the messages it sends out, subliminal or not. The advert aims to sell the new Ford Ranger to wealthy, young businessmen. The advert was found in the ‘Top Gear magazine’, which is aimed at people who like cars, adverts like this use strong denotations such as brand spanking new car, which flips into a dirty, used car. This has strong connotations such as the car is designed to be used and enjoyed and that the car is a real boys ‘toy’. In advertising, signifiers are used to send messages in the advert, such as colour, focus, camera angle, etc.

The advert I am using consists of two pages. On the first page there is a new 4×4 Ford Ranger placed in the centre. It is placed on a black background, which enhances the detail of the product and draws the eye to it as the centre of attention. The car is viewed at a slight angle, showing the length of the car as well as the depth. Above the car in white, bold writing as a statement saying, ‘New, but why keep it that way? ‘ which leads onto the second page, which is on the right hand side of the following page. On this page the background is still black and the car is still in the same place.

The main differences between the two pages are that the car is filthy; it is literally caked in mud. The headlights and the fog lights are now turned on as well. Also a white box has appeared in the bottom left had corner of the advert. In the white box is the ‘Ford’ logo, a slogan ‘feel the difference’, the model of the car and all the promotional specks that the car has. In addition to that, in the same size text as the specks is another slogan followed by a website address and a number to text if you want to arrange a test drive. This pretty much sums up the entire advert.

Colour is one if the most powerful signifiers and can send out several different messages to the reader. For example, on the first page there is a constant black background. This works in contrast with the shiny sliver of the ford ranger, with a halo around the cars perimeter. This signifies purity, and therefore subconsciously encourages you to buy it. The connotation is a gleaming perfect car shown in its ‘true’ glory. While the denotation is a car that is perfect for everyone, no matter what they use it for, and yet at the same time is every boys dream; a mans toy.

It says that no matter what you do to it, it’ll still look cool, and yet, still be a whole lot of fun! On the second side, gleaming through the thick layer of plastering mud, the headlights glow. This signifies that the car isn’t just for looking at; it’s supposed to be used, and abused. All in all, the colour in this advert is trying to portray that this car is perfect for you, no matter what you’ll throw at it. In this advert, shapes play a big part, whether curvy and feminine or angular and masculine. In this advert, all the shapes are very angular accept one: the ford logo.

The car itself is very angular, as is the text and the information box. These sharp corners signify a male authority and strength. For instance, the bonnet of the car is like a box, with right angles at every edge. It isn’t a coincidence that the power in the car is housed inside. Positioning is a key element in advertising. It draws the eye to, and away from things and if not done correctly can be a complete disaster. In the middle of my advert is the product- the new ford ranger. The car is the centre of attention; the reaction that is meant to occur is, “nice car, wish I had one”.

The eye is then drawn to the text, which will then sell the car. On the first page there is only a very small amount of writing. This is situated over the left two thirds of the car. This is then meant to provoke the question, ‘where’s that leading to? ‘ the position of the cars in proportion to the writing on the first page. This signifies that the car is more important, where as the text is merely an after thought. On the second page, the car is still in the same position but the original text has gone, and has been replaced by a white, angular box.

This box is in the bottom right hand corner. This signifies that this information is the least important thing in the advert, but the white contrast and the angular writing suggests that it is still worth reading and shouldn’t be over looked. Finally the car is side on showing the size and unique design of the car. Again the car seems to be striking a very masculine pose. Camera angle, once again this is a make or break factor of this product as it brings out the best in the item. That angle of which the car is place is at 45 degrees to the camera.

This shows depth, height and width all in one a great selling point. The picture is also shot of slightly below the bonnet level, with the windscreen towering down onto the photographer. This signifies that the car is the biggest and strongest and should be shown respect. This car is the head of the pack, as it were. The use of camera angle in this advert is mainly used to show that this car is worth its weight in gold. In advertising, focus is used a lot to draw attention to the important attributes.

The advert has used a hard focus to show the great deal of detail in the car and by using a blank background to enhance it. This is one of the main ways to draws attention to a product or to important information. The denotations of this are the sharpness backed up by the halo and the colour contrast to imply purity and perfection. But on the other hand it is used to enhance the “big toy” connotation- you never really grow up, the only difference is the toys become more dramatic, powerful and exclusive. Anchors are used to link the product to the picture.

In my advert the picture is the product so the anchor is used to sell to sell you the product. The word ‘new’ is used on the first page to indicate that the product is top quality and will house state of the art technology. This word is used to attract the reader, this is because people in general associate the word ‘new’ with the latest, modern item and with that comes the assumption that’s its cool and desirable. In the white text box, there is information that suggests that the company is trust worthy and therefore confident.

When creating an advert, the sender must first identify the target audience. If they want their product to appeal to a particular type of person, then the advert must also appeal to them. This advert is aimed at young men, with a rough age range of about 20-30 years old. The word ‘ranger’ in the anchor appeals to the more reckless side of the audience, who perhaps want to feel more adventurous. However; the range of audience is narrowed to the upper classes, as the car is brand new and although may appeal to a poorer audience, they simply wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Therefore, the car was advertised and aimed at a richer, more successful audience. To conclude this analysis, this advert gives of an overall feel of masculinity, boyish behaviour and adventure. This comes from the angles on the car, the change from clean to dirty and the anchor ‘New. But why keep it that way’. I think that the adverts sell the product well, due to the simplicity and the uncluttered, masculine, stylish look it has. These days, this clutter free, modern look is very appealing and I think the designers of this advert have done a good job of using it in this advert.

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