Advertising is constant. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you will be bombarded with advertising; it’s commonly accepted that the media (a collective term for film, radio. television, music, the printed press [ i.e. newspapers and magazines] and now, the Internet) is a key part of our modern day lives. The media is largely funded by advertising, because companies will pay large sums of money to reach the huge audiences of the media; and so, every time you turn on the television, tune it to the radio, open a magazine or newspaper, watch a film or connect to the Internet, you will more than likely see advertising.
Even as I write this, I am being bombarded with advertising; the Sony brand name is clearly visible all over my computer; on its monitor, on the top-left corner of it’s keyboard; each second I spend on my computer, Sony will be advertising its products (let’s not forget Sony has many, many products to advertise), to me, simply because it’s brand name and logo are directly in my line of vision as I type on my keyboard. Sub-consciously, I will remember the Sony name. Examples of this form of advertising, the free exposure a company gets by plastering its name all over its products, is very widely used. The program I’m using to write this is Microsoft Word, and the program that allows my computer to run the program is Microsoft Windows. In the top-left hand corner of my screen, the name Microsoft appears.
Every time I look up at my screen to check that what I am writing bares any semblance to what I intend to be writing, I see the Microsoft name; I’m not going to forget it, am I? Especially not since the name also appears in the bottom left hand corner of my screen as well, and the logo of Windows, Microsoft’s most well-known and widely used product, also appears in the bottom left of my screen constantly, even if I’m using a program made by a rival software house. This same from of advertising is used by food companies. If I get up from my typing and head to my fridge (incidentally, it has a BOSCH logo in the top-left corner), and get out, for example, a pot of Onken yoghurt, the Onken logo appears on both sides of the product’s tub and on the top of it’s lid.
I’m exposed to the Onken logo three times in as many seconds. In fact, this form of advertising is probably present on almost any product you care to mention, not to mention it’s packaging; even the bag I carry the product in is in fact a form of advertising. Without realising it, by carrying, say, an HMV bag around Winchester, I am not only advertising HMV (and subsequently any product you could purchase within an HMV outlet) to everyone around me, I am also signifying that HMV has my personal seal of approval to everyone who goes past me, because I am carrying one of their bags; even if I’m using the bag to take an unsatisfactory product back to the shop, demanding a refund as I do so, I’m still parading the HMV name around for any passer by to see, and, thus, providing HMV with free advertising.
As well as these more subtle forms of advertising, there is the brash and blatant form of advertising which bombards us from billboards, screams at us to ‘Buy, Buy, Buy!’ when we reach an interlude in a programme on commercial television or radio, and fills the inboxes of e-mail accounts and mobile phones each day; not to forget of course, the many items of mail which enter our homes every day via the letterbox purely with the intension of advertising; junk mail. But, why all this product plugging? Surely, if a product is good enough it will sell itself?
Why do companies advertise? Because advertising gives a product exposure. Advertising via billboard exposes the product to anyone who drives past that particular billboard which is being advertised on; perfect for a product which can be advertised to anyone. If a product has a particular target audience, that audience can be targeted directly with advertising campaigns. For example, a CD of a particular genre can be advertised in a magazine of the genre the readership of the magazine on the assumption that because they are reading the genre magazine, they will be a fan of the particular type of music being advertised, and also advertised via banner or pop-up on genre websites for the same reason.
If a car is to be aimed at profffesionals, the car can be advertised in broadsheet newspapers or magazines that professionals might read (the Economist, or the Spectator, for example), and advertised in commercial breaks between programmes the professional class are likely to watch. Advertising gives the product exposure to the desired audience, guaranteed as long as it is paid for. It is the best way to expose a product to the desired audience because advertising is guaranteed to be seen at least fleetingly by the desired audience.
For the purposes of this essay, I shall be examining magazine advertising; magazine adverts use a variety of techniques to attract the audience they want to read the advert; adverts often stand out via clever slogan with use of wit or humour; sloping text is often used to ensure that the reader follows all of it and reads the whole message. Colour is important as well colours either have to convey a message of their own, help create he atmosphere, mood and feel of the advert or make sure that the focus ofte advert is placed totally on the text; this can be achieved, for example, by placing black text on a white background; the text will be what stands out and so it will be what is noticed by all who read the advert; bright colours lure people in and suggest a fun and vibrant feel, and so on.