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Advertising Analysis The subject of advertising seems to be full of complexities and apparent contradictions. This paper resolves some of those contradictions. As John Jones (1995), a leading advertising expert, said: “The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife.” (p. 12) In other words, the consumer is not a naive person. The consumer is a sophisticated, well educated, and smart individual who is looking for the best deal on the market. Many years ago the advertiser’s dilemma was expressed in the way that a person knew that half of his or her advertising is wasted- no one could find out which half. Advancements in market research are beginning to change a number of old fashioned approaches by enabling advertisers to identify what works and what doesn’t. In brief, three main questions of “ What images are used to target the type of costumer who would buy that particularproduct?’; “Does the ad use symbolism or what symbols are used as well as what do they mean?” along with “How does the ad make a case for personal fulfillment through consumption?” will be answered in this paper. Our minds receive signals from communications indicating to us what we should presume to be new and what we should take as given.

 

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When we listen to a radio ad, the amount of vocal stress in each part of the sentence helps signal to us what is new and what is given. In written material and print advertising, it is the syntax and the graphics that provide the cues (Jones, 1995). For example, the position of an adjective can direct the focus of processing by signaling new information. Consider the statement: “Total clean Fab is gentler”. What is being signaled as new is that it is gentler than other washing powders. Placing the adjective before the noun (Fab) signal’s given. Consider the statement “Gentler Fab gives total clean”. What is now being signaled as new is that Fab gives total clean. We can now see that information in ads can be processed by our minds in different ways depending on how directly or obliquely the information is asserted. What is involved here is a shift in our focus of processing away from the information as new, to a focus on enjoyment, entertaining reminders or something else in the communication (Lutz, 1990). We react to symbols.

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Whether our reaction is external or internal it is a learned reaction. It is learned via association of the symbol with other things. In this way a symbol can influence us in its own right by evoking certain reactions. Symbols come to stand for other things in our mind and the act of consuming a brand can become a symbolic way for us to express our identification with the entities associated with it. Brands are initially unemotional marks and advertisers use advertising to try to transform these trademarks into symbols that summon up certain mental associations (Rossister and Perty, 1997). When a “symbol elicits a cognitive or emotional response in us, we in turn can use it to express that idea or emotion to others” (Lutz, 1990, p. 36). We can identify privately with another person or a group without needing to tell anybody else. We do this by displaying and consuming symbols (such as football team badges, old school ties, Levi’s, Reeboks, Mercedes, etc) or using products that are symbolically associated with our favorite entities. What is more, the difference between brands in the same product category may be quite small, but when the focal beam of attention is played on these symbolic aspects the difference can tip the balance.

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Consuming or displaying certain products can make powerful statements about us. The importance of the communication is as much to the user or wearer as it is to the outside world. In at least five ways ads can minimize how likely we are to counter-argue with their messages, hence influencing how we react to the ad overall. A. By not making assertions. B. By toning down the assertions. C. By positioning the information as something that is already known. D. By packaging the information as entertainment. E. By casting consumers in a bystanders’ role who are overhearing the information. Essentially, all communications work by triggering memories. Old images or concepts are triggered in our minds by something in the ad. The legal and moral issues associated with advertising are depicted using the example of cigarettes advertising. A number of studies suggested that advertising does play a significant role in increasing cigarette sales (Jones, 1995). Their findings showed that ads had a positive effect on sales initially but became less important over time.

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They also found that the carryover effects of advertising had previously been over-estimated (Rossister and Perry, 1997). Lutz (1990) reported on the effects of cigarette advertising from 1973 to 1985. Every study that included the price of cigarettes and personal income as independent variables found them to be the most influential factors affecting sales. An increase in the price of cigarettes always resulted in decreased consumption while an increase in personal income always resulted in increased consumption (Jones, 1995). Several studies found that consumers were willing to pay more for advertised cigarette brands. To be concise, the issue with selling and advertising cigarettes illustrates that advertising, though legal, may be very harmful if it promotes products that carry a potential threat to the persons’ health in them.

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