the discourse of advertising (woods)

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  • 1. The Discourse of Advertising (Woods) Reporter: Juvy Darian Banggay Lao-ing MA English Subject Teacher: Dr. Riceli C Mendoza Ph.D

2. The Discourse of Advertising (Woods) Advertising-is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket (George Orwell, 1936)Advertise [adver-tiz, tiz] to call public attention to, esp in order to sell something,by buying space or time in the media, etc.-vi to call public attention to things for sale ; to ask (for) by public notice.-advert-isement [iz,-is-] the act of advertising: a public notice usu, paid for; advertiser, one who advertises: a paper carrying advertisements; advertising, the business of preparing advertisements. [fr.-advertere,see advert] (Websters, New Universal Dictionary and Thesaurus) 3. Introduction In our everyday lives, we meet advertising in many forms; from the well-known media of press promotions, television commercials or billboard, posters, to the less obvious devices of advertorials, product placements, event sponsorships, junk mailings or carefully staged large scale public relations exercises.Some advertisers choose to address us with direct or hard-sell techniques others send us messages which are far more indirect, subtle, or even subliminal. For ex. For record companies to pay buskers in busy underground stations to perform acoustic versions of the labels latest releases: the hope is that commuters will find themselves humming the tune on the way home and so motivated to buy the record. Are the record companies really advertising here? There is some debate about this tactic: detractors call it stealth marketing; proponents liken it to the viral buzz of internet-led promotions, and indeed many are forecasting that the advertising industry is about to change dramatically along these very lines. Either way, the process certainly accords with Leacocks (1924) famous definition of advertising as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it. 4. Advertising is widely regarded as the driving force behind our consumerist culture; so much so that it is plausibly credited with having kept western economies growing and thriving over the last 50 years. The function of advertising of course is promotional: to draw to our attention and keep in our minds the availability and desirability of a product, service or brand. In order to achieve this function it must first reach its target audience, then, capture that audience with a message that is both attractive and memorable. At its best it is a stunningly powerful means of communication.Much-though by no means all of the power of advertising derives from language. Be they ever so humble, phrases such as your flexible friend, naughty but nice, (coined by Salman Rushdie, no less), its the real thing, stop me and buy one, hello boys and say it with flowers have all passed into British vernacular from advertising copy. 5. Del boys most characteristic catchphrase lubbly jubbly (normally uttered when easy money is in sight) even includes the name of the product: Jubbly was an orange drink sold in the 1950s in a triangular cartoon. The original slogan, Lubbly Jubbly is a beautiful example of the technique of crafting a word-message for an advertisement. At this point we should note again that language is by no means the only tool, in the advertisers locker. Indeed sometimes it is barely needed at all: ads for fashion houses, for example, will often feature only a carefully crafted visual, accompanied by a discreet name or logo. Occasionally a brands logo becomes so well known that it enables us to identify the company without any linguistic clue. See, for instance how many of the logos you can recognize in figure 1.01 6. Figure 1.01 7. If, you recognized several, you might like to consider that it still relatively rare for a successful logo to be entirely without any linguistic suggestion as to its reference. The apple and shell logos depicted are most obviously an apple and a shell themselves; the diners club and Ericson devices are based. (though fairly abstractly) on the initial letters of the companies concerned, as a club at least to the product being advertised. The Michelin man is wheeling a tyre , the bike boy holding pen, the HMV dog is puzzling over a gramophone; more abstruse perhaps, but the Nestle picture features a nest, and the Johnny Walker figure is striding and carrying a walking stick, finally, the yellow Pages logo is normally printed yellow in colour. Nevertheless, Citroen, HSBC, Mercedes, MSN, and Renault do have logos that are genuinely language-free. If you identified these correctly, then you are in put attesting to the talents of the brand managers involved. Logos, picture and visual displays are an integral part of almost all advertising above the level of the newspaper small ad; and of course music is a fundamental and often indispensable element in many broadcast advertising, it is nonetheless important to understand that advertisers use language in synchrony with many other forms of communication in conveying meaning in their messages. Often there is an extremely strong relationship between the pictures used and the language employed. 8. Figure 1.02 9. Figure 1.03Anti-smoking campaign Saatchi & Saatchi 10. Figure 1.04 11. Figure 1.02 and 1.03 designed and distributed in Britain in 1971 and 1994 by one of the worlds most prestigious advertising agencies (Saatchi and Saatchi), the impact of the message derives from and relies on the relationship between language and picture and it would be more or less impossible to explain the significance of either in isolation. This is a convenient point at which to remind ourselves that not all forms of advertising are aimed at simply selling commodities. The Saatchi ads are examples of social advertising- campaigns that encourage us, for instance, to give up smoking, avoid speeding or donate money to charitable appeals. Saatchi was also responsible for figure 1.04 a political ad from the late 1970s. Advertising, in one form or another, has been a key weapon in the armoury of politicians for a considerable time, and not necessarily in its most obvious form. With so much at stake, government advertising, like commercial advertising sometimes needs to be extremely subtle. After all, it is not always in the advertisers interest to appear overly promotional-indeed there is a danger that people will be suspicious of such use of the advertising media. The risk is especially high if a campaign is being funded from the public purse or if the product or policy being promoted might seem to be at odds with the public good. In such circumstances an advertisement will invariably be better received if it gives the impression of merely imparting information. 12. The example that follows overleaf (figure 1.06) is obviously a commercial advertisement, but well worth examining in a similar light. It is not difficult to identify the era in which this advertisement was published. The marketing message for Bourn- Vita explicitly relies on wartime values to explain and justify the benefits of consuming the beverage: drinking Bourn- Vita, it is claimed aids restful sleep, which in turn maintains your fitness and consequently facilitates your potential for the hard work that will be needed for the war effort. In buying the product, the ad implies, you are not indulging in luxury; you are doing your patriotic duty. Many producers adopted similar advertising strategies in wartime. Companies supplying the needs of the armed forces with chocolate, chewing gum and cigarettes were keen to let the public know of their patriotism, with Nestle, for example, telling the public at large that supplies of chocolate products for those at home are limitedthe needs of our armed forces come first. Yet it is hard to resist the conclusion that it is really the function of persuasion that lies at the heart of advertising discourse. For whether the presentation is soberly informative, lyrically imaginative, weirdly abstract or just unashamedly pricebusting, an advertisements ultimate objective is always promotional. Put simply, ads are there to persuade us to think and more importantly, to act in certain ways: to purchase a particular brand of perfume, to conquer an unhealthy addiction, to lend support to one political party rather than another consequently, the discourse of advertising is liberally peppered with persuasive 13. Figure 1.06 14. Fig 1.07Clearly the focus in this recent ad, figure 1.07 for one of the Britains favourite and most traditional teatime foods is on the speed of the product. The food itself we are told, has not changed, but it is now faster (hence the representation of beans as cars) The marketing message is reflecting a change, not in the product itself, but in the consumers lifestyle- a shift from the traditional concern that food should provide nourishment and sustenance, to a modern- day view that it needs to be prepared in a hurry. This up-to-date element is reinforced by the direction of readers on an internet website, called fasterbeans.com. The product, it is implied, is perfectly in tune with our high-tech, fast-living age. Advertisements are highly dependent on context and inextricably linked to societal values and cultural conditions. (Brierley 2002) The Swedish car-maker Volvos attempt to market its cars in the same way in different Europeans countries was soon dropped in favour of adopting different sales strategies for different nations: Volvo cars were promoted in the UK with the focus on their safety, while in France the emphasis was on their design and Germany on their performance. Any examination of mass communication was always need to take account of this dependency on audience, context and culture. 15. Figure 1.07 16. In examining the discourse of advertising we are enquiring into the subtle mechanisms of a communicative form that genuinely pervades our lives one whi

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