Analysing adverts in the media

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The main purpose of advertising is to persuade people to purchase a product. The secondary purpose is to inform the public about the particular product they are selling. Although advertisements come in many forms from posters, to leaflets, to moving images on television, essentially they use the same techniques and aim to manipulate our feelings in order to make us buy the product. The adverts which I am using are both promoting cars and are both advertised in monthly magazines.

Advert one is from Surfer, an American surfing magazine which is aimed at all people who are interested in surfing or similar activities, regardless of age or sex . Advert two is from She, a British women’s magazine aimed at females possibly between the ages of thirty and forty. The women who would buy this magazine are possibly those who have busy lives balancing career, family life and social life. Both advertisements are selling vehicles but because of the different target audiences the techniques which they employ are different.

The purpose of advert one, the Nissan Xterra, is to make the audience buy the vehicle featured in the advert or at least make them feel that their lives would be enhanced if they had this vehicle. The advertisers try to make the audience feel that by buying their vehicle a new world will open up to them and they will have more freedom. As with advert one, advert two, the MG ZR, also uses audience centered techniques to promote the product, one of these being the psychological need to own the vehicle being advertised. Advert two could well make the audience, middle aged women, feel that they must own the vehicle being advertised, by suggesting that they will become more attractive to the opposite sex with this car. This technique could be effective on some single, middle-aged women who feel that they are becoming too old and lack confidence in their sexual appeal.

Advert one takes up a double page spread of the magazine and will therefore attract the reader’s attention. This also shows that the company is willing to spend large amounts of money advertising its products. The advertisement does not focus on the product being advertised but rather centres attention on the lifestyle that can be acquired by owning such a product. In contrast, advert two does focus almost entirely on the product, the MG ZR. The car with the headlights on appears to be driving straight at the reader, inviting or persuading her to take notice of it. In Advert one, the image is of sand dunes with the sea in the background, suggesting that the reader can have a carefree lifestyle if he/she purchases this car.

The image of the vehicle is placed in the top right hand corner of the second page of the spread, on top of a sand dune and it is very small in comparison to the rest of the picture, thus making the advertisement more focused on the lifestyle that the car brings to its owner rather than the features of the car itself. This makes the advert more appealing to its audience than, for example, an advert focusing on the gimmicky features of a car, as the audience for this advert is looking for how practical the vehicle is and how it would cope with their lifestyle. People reading this advert would tend to be adventurous, outdoor types and therefore the picture created would appeal to their sense of adventure.

Next to the picture of the car is a dotted line with the word “chairlift” written on top of it in an informal font. This gives an example of the practical uses having the vehicle brings to the owner and it again puts more emphasis on what the car can do for him/her. The word “chairlift” in this case suggests the power of the car. Nissan have a series of adverts similar to this one advertising the same car and each gives a different use for it, ranging from a tripod to a recovery room. There are two people, a male and a female sandboarding down the face of the sand dune on which the vehicle stands. This tells the audience that the vehicle is for both sexes. The fact that they are the only two people in the picture tells the audience that the car brings them the freedom to get to secluded destinations and take part in adventurous sports. We are not told the price of the car but as the two people are quite young it suggests that it is affordable.

Unlike the first advert, the second advert is mainly focused on the car. This is because it has a very attractive design so the advertisers are focusing on this, rather than what the car can do as is the case for advert one. The reason for this is because the audience for this car is middle- aged women, who would be more interested in what the car looks like and the status that it would bring rather than the different places it could take them. The advertisers keep the audience’s attention focused on the car by positioning the car so that it is directly facing the audience, with the headlights on, as if it is targeting her. The size of the car is also exaggerated, to fill more space. The car is in a tunnel, which means that there is nothing in the background to distract one’s attention.

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