Student Question

Select five to ten advertisements for everyday products from TV or other sources. What product is being advertised? What types of promises or images are connected to the product?

Quick answer:

The types of promises and images connected to products through advertising usually focus on happiness and good times.

Expert Answers

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There are a tremendous number of products out there; therefore, there are a tremendous amount of advertisements designed to sell those products. Despite those large numbers, students in my media class are shocked to find out that a mere ten themes of advertising cover almost any advertisement that they can think of.

A company makes money when you buy their product, but an advertisement isn't designed to get you off of the couch and go immediately buy that product. The goal of an advertisement is to sell you a feeling, image, lifestyle, emotion, and so on. That advertisement wants you to connect that feeling with that brand, so the next time you need a product in that category, you'll buy that particular brand. Common themes of advertising are power, prestige, family/parenting, pleasure, femininity, masculinity, sensuality, and patriotism. Pick a television commercial. I'm quite confident at least one of those thematic topics could be applied to the commercial.

Pleasure is an extremely common thematic element to advertising. That should not come as a surprise. Just about every company wants you to associate their product with having fun, so they show you beautiful people having fun together. Audi had an especially overt ad that made use of the pleasure theme when they showed a five-year- old kid grinning ear to ear driving the car. The car is so fun that it brings you back to your childhood. Then the advertisement ended by using the four rings of the Audi symbol to spell "JOOOOY." Using images of happiness isn't limited to car commercials either. Beer advertisements make liberal use of selling audiences pleasure. Cruise companies like Carnival heavily use this tactic. It's even in their slogan because Carnival ships are "the fun ships." Disney uses pleasure as well and doesn't hide it because their advertisements repeatedly show families having a great time and then end by telling us that their theme parks are "the happiest place on Earth."

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