Archives for the month of: March, 2013

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko0UQ_f0iiM&feature=endscreen

      One advertising campaign I’ve really been enjoying lately is “The Everyday Collection” campaign by Target. We’ve talked about companies’ techniques to break through the “clutter” of advertising that consumers face every day, and I think that Target does just that with this campaign through irony and humor.  I would like to look at this particular ad as being produced in the “lifestyle format”, but still bearing in mind that the ad itself does not seem to be truly pitching to the lifestyle shown, but kindly poking fun at that lifestyle and, more broadly, branding in general.

    The ad portrays a very slender, beautiful woman dressed in short shorts and heels and wearing red lipstick. She climbs seductively up a ladder that twists and turns in geometric patterns up the ad’s frame. The camera pans in on the product being advertised-a package of light bulbs-as she continues to climb the ladder to change a light bulb in the ceiling. At the end of the ad, an off-screen woman smoothly whispers the name of the “collection” that these light  bulbs are part of: The Everyday Collection.

    Clearly, this ad is confronting and mocking the actual idea of branding, especially the branding of mundane things like light bulbs (the campaign also features items such as oatmeal and laundry detergent). The act of changing this light bulb is treated as a runway event, where the model’s hair and makeup are glamorous, and she wears heels to climb a ladder (which I’m assuming is more disabling than enabling). Additionally, the voice at the end speaks in a tone as if this item is a luxury part of a “collection” (as many designer items are), but the term “Everyday Collection” juxtaposes the tone, for the “everyday” is not rare, special or valuable, but plain, mundane and necessary. If not taken ironically, the ad seems to appeal to the lifestyle of being glamourous all the time and only using the best, most expensive designer products, even when it comes to light bulbs. But Target breaks through the clutter of advertisers’ “we’re the best” bombardments by interpolating the alienated spectator and saying, “We get you. We know that you’re tired of seeing companies claiming that their products are far better than all the others, so we’re going to mock them with you”. In doing this, Target befriends the customer and humanizes itself. In my opinion, this technique is incredibly effective and the entire campaign is intelligent and amusing.

    Since the ad is only jokingly targeting those who live a lifestyle of luxury in everything they do, I think it is actually targeting those who live a more middle-class lifestyle. It compliments the spectator that gets the joke by saying that he isn’t ridiculous or frivolous, but smart (it’s just a light bulb, afterall). Target doesn’t claim that their light bulbs are better quality or longer than other stores; what sells this product is Target’s “inside joke” with the consumer and friendliness-their branding, which, ironically enough, is the very thing they mock the importance of.

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How do the ads below fit into the four formats of ads we discussed (product information format; product image format;  personalized format; lifestyle format)?
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I was so excited to respond to JeeIn’s post on the P&G “Best Job” commercial; its emotional appeal and stellar execution make it one of my favorite ad campaigns. And JeeIn and I were not the only ones who thought so- the “Best Job” commercial won ad agency Widen and Kennedy its fourth consecutive commercial Emmy Award for outstanding advertisement (Adweek.com), and here’s why.

P&G’s advertisement capitalized on all the major factors that constitute a successful advertising campaign as outlined by Leiss et al. in their Social Communication in Advertising (347-351): The timing (featuring a campaign designed for the 2012 London Olympic Games), the generation of buzz (winning a commercial Emmy and hitting four million views on YouTube), the international appeal (featuring mothers and future Olympians from around the world), and, above all, the achievement of distinction and exclusivity in a cluttered marketplace, all resulted in a poignant, cohesive campaign. The advertisement succeeds in fulfilling these criteria by playing upon dominant ideas of diversity, maternity, and hard work as a means of achieving greatness.

In their Advertising in the Age of Accelerated Meaning, authors Goldman and Papson discuss how ads focus more on the image and brand rather than the product to cultivate brand loyalty (83). Advertisers do so by using “commodity signs” where they attach certain socially constructed meanings that go beyond the functionality of a single product and represent the organization as a whole (85). We can see this shift in focus from singular product to overall brand especially clearly in P&G products like Tide, a brand that has been around in its present form since 1949. The ad campaigns then were much different; although their main focus was also on mothers and their children, the detergent’s use was presented in a rather tacky, unrealistic environment. The P&G campaign conversely uses very subtle imagery to depict their brand, allowing their products to fade into the backdrop of a larger cultural narrative that is being told.

As JeeIn states, the ad is not a deviation or rebellion from ideology, but a direct response to it. Unlike in my own ad analysis of Dermablend, advertisers used the “Go Beyond the Cover” campaign to interpellate, or hail to “Generation X” by using edgy and unique imagery that goes against the grain, presenting an added shock factor as a way to engage more youthful viewers. The P&G commercial does no such thing; it uses the traditional, dominant ideology of caring mothers tending to their children and drives that notion home by making motherly affection an international, holistic concept. It connotes that mothers from America are the same as mothers from China or Brazil or India, representing feelings of love and affection for a child as a universal truth. Thus, implementing these traditional ideologies in ads is not a question of being more or less effective than more nuanced, edgy ad campaigns; it simply means that different ads are targeted towards different demographics and markets. Proctor and Gamble has shown us that the “nurturing mother” ideology is by no means an outdated one, and still deeply resonates within mothers, parents and children alike.

 

Alina Zafar
Advertising & Society
Short Analysis 2: P&G Response

Patrick’s post cleverly explores many of the concepts presented in class and the problems inherent to advertising, especially regarding the effectiveness of social media campaigns. After viewing the commercial, my impression is that Oreo is directing this advertisement to its “consumption community,” a group advertisers frequently attempt to create and address. Historian Daniel Boorstin describes this type of community as being bound together by “the relations people establish with one another through the insignia of mass consumption” (Schudson 159). He is speaking about the imagined sense of belonging that many feel when they purchase the same good or are loyal to the same brand. Although one may never meet the other members of the community due to geographic disparities or other obstacles, one imagines they exist. I agree with Boorstin that a group can form around consumption habits, despite some academics suggesting otherwise. With the shift from traditional society to consumer society, goods became the mode we employ to present where we socially belong. They act as communicators that convey messages and impart information to others about ourselves. “Communications among persons, in which individuals send ‘signals’ to others about their attitudes, expectations, their sense of identity, values, intentions, and aesthetic expression, are strongly associated with, and expressed through, patterns of ownership, preference, display, and use of things” (Leiss et al. 4). Consumption is our standard way of life and we are defined by what and how we choose to consume or not consume. Individuals part of these communities believe that those who make the same purchasing decisions share the same relationship with the corporation and share the same values. Thus, they understand each other as a result of this commonality.

Oreo assumes that the viewers of this advertisement already buy its product. Only those who have eaten the cookie would understand the humor of the debate over which is the best part escalating in such a manner. Among Oreo lovers, there is a distinct divide between those who prefer the cream and those who prefer the cookie. Both sides are adamant about their position. Almost no one states that the combination of the two ingredients is their favorite. I believe Oreo is attempting to have fun with its consumer community by recognizing and dramatizing this longstanding dispute.

Although Patrick makes a valid point towards the end of his post about the uncertainty in measuring the economic success of advertising and social media, I do not believe that the main function of this advertisement was to boost sales in Oreos. If this was the case, the business would not have been targeting an audience who already buys the product. Sure, it would be great if these individuals bought more Oreos, but I think the company’s central goal for the advertisement was to humanize itself. In general, corporations are “…deemed greedy, inhuman, and uncaring” (Leiss et al. 75). By interacting with its consumption community and participating in the joke, Oreo shows that it values its customers. It presents itself as one of them and not as a faceless, money-hungry monster. Consumers enjoy knowing that they are appreciated and treasure the personal attention that their daily interactions increasingly lack. They are aware that many big businesses seek to take advantage of them for their own economic prosperity. Oreo is attempting to generate a trust with its consumers by engaging in activities that they already partake in like Instagramming to exhibit that the relationship is not only one way and that Oreo is listening to them. This advertisement humanizes and personalizes an abstract corporation whose massive scale and power may have worried consumers (Leiss et al. 74). As a result, Oreo eaters may be more likely to be loyal to the brand and its larger umbrella company, Kraft Foods. Although the ad did not make some people run out and buy Oreos immediately, the next time they are food shopping for cookies, they may choose Oreos over another brand because they know the company understands and values them.

Because the framework of this commercial is already set, or the company assumes viewers already know that LVRS makes clothing, analyzing the signifiers in this commercial is a good route to take to uncover more meaning.

While Tanya’s reading was spot-on in regards to the appearance of a celebrity and the importance of a scriptless sequence in this commercial’s attempt to interpellate its viewers, it was a macro look at the commodity sign. Here, I’ll look at the signifiers, signified, and recombination for a micro look a la Roland Barthes at this commercials accelerated meaning.

In the first frame, we see buildings in the background and a Black man presumably on a rooftop. These are the signifiers – alone they mean very little but in there totality, or recombination, and with some memory we can begin to understand the brand and identify with the product . In this first message, we can tell by the setting that the man is “cool.” The buildings are there to signify what’s urban. The rooftop is there to signify risk-taking. (In most buildings, access to the rooftop is denied unless there’s an emergency or you’re the supperintendent.)

The man’s smoking and his multiple gold chains bring back memories of hip-hop. Rappers are usually the ones to wear “bling-bling.” There are few rap videos without a scene of a smoker blowing out fumes. Snoop Dogg is probably most notable for puffing into the camera. So even without knowing who the man is in the real world, the signifiers, combined, tell us that he is part of hip-hop culture.

In the next scene, the setting remains the same, but his clothing changes. He is wearing an denim jacket and skinny jeans, and as Tanya pointed, he’s daytime shadow boxing. Here is where the advertisers ask us to make an interpretive leap. From our previous experience with hip-hop culture, we know that rappers usually wear baggy pants. This signifies that the man is part of the new hip-hop culture, which is original, refined, diverse and intelligent – traits not usually assigned to the old hip-hop culture.

His shadow boxing is also a conscious effort at connecting hip-hop to what’s refined. In this instance, the signifier – his jumping around, throwing punches in the air in slow motion – calls on our knowledge of boxing. His smooth movements remind us of the singular, most celebrated boxer Mohammad Ali. These movements say that the man is unique, strong, and like Ali, classic both as timeless and elegant.

Last we have the linguistic message. In this commercial there are two: the name of the brand and the collection of hats; and the writing on the cap itself, “worldwide.” Again, alone this word would mean very little but in this context the signifier points to cosmopolitanism and wealth. To be worldwide is to travel and learn.

The music, although no words are spoken on the track, furthers what’s signified throughout the commercial. The drums and the bridge that are used can easily be identified as hip-hop; however, the speed of the music is unusual for the genre. Here, the slow rhythm and percussion is recombined to signify tranquility – not usually found in the commonly violent and abrupt style of music. It directs viewers away from the world of hip-hip affiliated to the gangster rappers and moves them to one associated with The Pharcyde and Commonwho are known for smooth beats and deep lyrics. They’re careful, smart and smooth, like those who wear LVRS.

This commercial, Little Girls, was released by Dove during the 2006 SuperBowl. The purpose of the advertisement was to promote Dove’s Self Esteem Fund, which is linked to Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and was “created to act as an agent of change to inspire and educate girls and women about a wider definition of beauty”. Set to Cyndi Lauper singing True Colors, the commercial plays through with glimpses of different young girls with body language that speaks to them as being somewhat insecure or self-conscious and accompanying text. For example, there is a young girl with red hair and freckles, and the caption, “hates her freckles,” moves slowly across the screen. The commercial continues in this manner until the screen turns white and says, “Let’s tell her she’s wrong” with the Dove trademark. The commercial comes to an end with the video montage of smiling girls and phrases like “let’s tell her to be real … and brave … and true … and she’ll be beautiful”. The final shot is a white screen with “let’s make peace with beauty” and then it fades into “The Dove Self-Esteem Fund” with the Dove trademark.

According to Social Communication in Advertising by authors William Leiss, Stephen Kline, Sut Jhally and Jacqueline Botterill, “semiotics can enhance understanding of how meaning is constructed within an advertisement” (164). The text also states that ads work with the concept of the sign, which can be further broken down into two components, “the signifier” and “the signified” (164). Signifiers in this ad are the young girls, their facial expressions and body language, the background music, as well as the captions of text. The Self Esteem Fund is for women and girls, but Dove specifically placed children in this commercial. Children tend to be linked to heart-warming emotions, innocence and the future. This Dove ad is using the young girls to signify that no one deserves to feel unbeautiful and the cycle of poor self esteem starts with the youth. The girls’ facial expressions and body language that go from sad and insecure, to happy and confident, signify the positive outcome of Dove’s Self Esteem Fund. The message is that through Dove’s commitment to education about a “wider definition of beauty,” someone’s life can be changed in a very powerful way. If the young girls signify the future, there is an underlying message that the cycle mentioned above is due to societal pressures and Dove is committed to breaking the cycle today with the future leaders of the world.

The text helps signify the importance of diversity. The girls showcased in this commercial are all visually diverse in terms of ethnicity, size, age, etc., but the text helps attach meaning to the images. I felt sad when I saw the African American girl slouched and looking down, with the caption “dreams of blue eyes,” or the other little girl with the caption “wants to look like Barbie”. This commercial hits the emotional hotspots and is trying to attach the meaning that one should embrace their culture, heritage, size, hair color, etc., and that being different is beautiful.

Dove is accomplishing several goals in relation to brand and product messaging in association with this commercial. The overall message of this ad is very positive in nature: everyone is beautiful when they embrace and are true to themselves. The empowering message is specifically for Dove’s Self-Esteem Fund, but the commercial still associates the Dove products with the message. Dove clearly wants to send the message that they are dedicated to social good. A portion of the proceeds go to these programs, like the Self-Esteem Fund and they want you to think about that when you’re picking out which body wash to buy.

I would say that the advertisement, aimed at women, goes against social norms and values. Society is constantly finding ways to make us feel inadequate. Through commercials, for example, we need to buy a specific product because it will make us better in some way. Magazines are airbrushing models to make them appear thinner and more beautiful by eliminating nearly every flaw, which only further sends us the message that we are not good enough as we are and should aspire to be more like the digitally altered model. Dove is promoting the opposite, positive self-esteem. Through brand positioning, Dove products can then be associated with enhancing one’s beauty, rather than needing a product to make you beautiful.

Kobe vs Messi: Legends on Board – Turkish Airlines

Since it costs a large amount of money to advertise on any media platforms, advertisers must strive to convey the most in the least amount of time. One of the methods of achieving the goal is to convey meaning through signs. Signs are composed of two elements: the signifier and the signified. “The signifier is the material vehicle of meaning; the signified actually “is” the meaning” (Leiss, Kline, Jhally and Botterill, 164). In other words, a signifier is a visual object in the advertisement that carries meaning; the signified is the implications for this object.  The concept of signs will be used as a framework for analyzing the advertisement of the Turkish Airlines.

Turkish Airlines has invited Kobe Bryan and Leo Messi to be the main characters of this advertisement. They serve as signifiers in the ad. Both are top-niche athletes who serve their countries by competing in national sports competitions. There are specific attitudes and qualities that they can represent. As a representative of their countries, they must strive for their best in competitions. In order to win, athletes must be able to adjust to changing situations promptly in their basketball or football matches. They must maintain high standards of skills to be the top players in their teams. These qualities and attitudes can be transferred to the cabin crew, who represents Turkish Airlines. It implies that the cabin crew of Turkish Airways always tries to give their best service to passengers on board. They are so skillful in answering the queries of passengers that their services can be comparable to the skills that Bryan and Messi possess in sports.

Besides, the advertisement captures a competition among Bryant, Messi and a flight attendant who try to capture the attention of a young boy. Each competitor competes to become the best by surpassing the others when performing his or her series of acts. The competitive sequence highlights the social value of striving to be the best in the heap. Ultimately, a flight attendant manages to win by serving the young boy with a plate of ice-cream. In other words, she has won victory over two of the best athletes in the world. The victory implies that she is the best of the best. Since she represents the Turkish Airlines, the victory can be translated to the Turkish Airlines. Therefore, the Airline is also portrayed as the best of the best.

What is more, the competition also signifies the improvement made by Turkish Airlines between  2011 and 2012. Kobe Bryant was the brand ambassador of Turkish Airways in 2011; Leo Messi was the ambassador of 2012. It is obvious that the acts performed by Messi are more complicated than that of Bryant. For example, in the first round of the competition, Bryant passes his basketball between his legs in the air. In response, Messi does the same while holding a football on his forehead. In the second round, Bryant has built a pyramid with a deck of cards. In response, Messi builds a castle with his cards, which is longer in length, with an addition of four spinning cards on top of his castle. In the third round, Bryant twists a cat with his yellow balloon. In response, Messi twists a rabbit with balloons in three different colors. In short, the relative complexity of Messi’s act symbolizes the advancements of Turkish Airways from the time since Bryant was the ambassador.

However, there may be alternative readings of the competition. Prejudice and discrimination to African Americans may be interpreted in the advertisement. Specifically, since Bryant’s acts seem to display lower levels of difficulty, it may be perceived that African Americans are not as capable as those people of other races. In terms of competition, they may be seen as “losers”. The difference in the environments of performance is one of the factors causing Bryant to lose. Messi has a seat with extra leg room. In other words, he can have more room to perform his acts. With all the extra space, it allows him to perform more flexibly and  with more complexity in his acts. On the other hand, Bryant can only perform in a relatively cramped space which limits the acts he can do in his seat. For example, he has so little space that he needs to roll up his body before he can pass a basketball between his legs. Given this possible implication, the advertisement can turn away some African American audiences.

Furthermore, the competition promotes the value of innovation. For example, it requires a creator to think outside the box to make cards spin in the air. Also, the choice of twisting balloons, which requires DIY (Do-it-yourself), instead of traditional balloons, also emphasize the importance of creativity. The emphasis on innovation can attract audiences who are interested in or working in the professions of art and design or any other industries that involve creativity.

Besides the competition, the ball is also an important signifier in the advertisement. By looking at the signs on it, the audience can be informed about Turkish Airlines. Since both the ball and the globe are round in shape, the ball is used to signify the globe in this advertisement. Towards the end, the advertisement shows the audience how the lines on the ball are formed. Initially there are no white lines on the ball. The lines are only formed when airplanes fly through them. Therefore, they can represent the various routes that the planes of the Turkish Airlines fly through. When the lines eventually meet, it represents that the whole world can be connected by the service provided by Turkish Airways. In short, it is conveying that Turkish Airlines can bring you to every country around the globe.

Besides the shape and the patterns on the ball, a white logo of a bird at the center of the ball also serves as a signifier within the advertisement. It is the company logo of Turkish Airways. The bird symbolizes the function of the Airways, which is to fly from one place to another. Since birds are creatures alive, it can be predicted that they have the ability to choose where they want to fly to. This idea connects to their current or prospective passengers of the Airways. Given nearly 40 destinations to choose from, passengers can freely make their decisions on where they want to “fly to”, just like the birds. Besides, birds can also symbolize freedom. This idea can easily appeal to those who value a life without constraints.

Furthermore, the colors and the design of the ball serve as another signifier. The ball overall is red in color, while the company icon (the bird) is white in color. Similarly, the background of the Turkish flag is red in color, while the icons of the star and the moon are white in color. In other words, the design of the ball has a similar structure as the Turkish flag. Advertisers are trying to create a “floating chain of signifieds”, which is a series of interpretations brought by a signifier.  In this case, advertisers are trying to create a connection between the Turkish flag and the ball, which represents the Turkish Airlines, so that more positive associations can be related to the brand of Turkish Airlines. As a result, audiences may identify Turkish Airlines with nationalism. Since patriotism may be a globally recognized virtue, regardless of nationality, Turkish Airlines’ association with nationalism can attract not only Turkish patriots, but also patriots around the world. Moreover, its created relation to the Turkish flag can also suggest that Turkish Airline is an airline, which can represent Turkey in the aviation field. In other words, the Airline is trying to present itself as the best Airline in Turkey.

In conclusion, the use of signs is a very effective way of conveying meaning within short time limits, just like advertisements. As shown in this ad, one signifier can signify a wide range of ideas related to a company. All of these ideas can be open to audience’s interpretation. Since the interpreted meanings are arbitrarily based on the audience’s cultural exposure and life experiences, it is possible that the audience may attach negative implications to specific advertisements. This is not likely to be beneficial to the advertisers. Therefore, it is wise for advertisers to clearly direct their audiences to the intended meanings of the signs in their advertisements to minimize the possibility of negative interpretations made by the audiences.

Borrowing from the class notes, advertisement’s biggest function is to link consumption with other aspects of life and culture we believe in. Thus, it is very important for an advertising agency or agent to know well of their target consumer and their thoughts and lifestyles. One of the target consumers, class discussed last couple weeks the youth, who is around my age.

However, persuading the youth as the main consumer is not an easy task. Looking at the Nike as an example of success of marketing to youth, Naomi Klein, the author from last week’s reading “Alt. Everything: The Youth Market ad the Marketing of Cool”, wrote

“As the success of branding superstar like Nike had shown, it was not going to be sufficient for companies simply to market their same products to a younger demographic; they needed to fashion brand identities that would resonate with this new culture.”(68).

As I read the line, I thought of an interesting Romanian advertisement that won Grand Prix from Cannes Lion, which is the one of largest advertising festival in the world.

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This ad fashion their brand identities that would resonate with the new culture and satire their norm, thus resulting in changing their culture. Rom, as it explains in the video, is a classic Romanian chocolate bar started from 1964. By choosing the Romanian flag on its packaging, ROM identified itself with national symbol with strong national values attached. The problem is that the youth take the packaging and value for granted, thus resulting in having no loyalty with ROM. The Romanian youth felt that everything is wrong in Romania and started to form loyalties with American products like Sneakers, M&Ms, and Mars.

Advertising Agency through research found out about this new culture and provide solution. First of all, as Klein suggested, they re-identified the chocolate by changing their packages with American flag instead of Romanian flag, as mean of resonating with the new culture between the youth. Then, the commercial started to run and appeared on TV, prints, and outside in English. Customers began to react to the new advertisements. Then, the youth began to realize the importance of their national ego.

ROM opened up the websites where people can participate and debate online. Then, user-generated phenomenons started to happen. People on Facebook made several pages talking about new ROM packaging. Also, blog postings started to come up as criticizing the youth culture and thought they held before the advertisement. They began to re-think ROM as their national symbol with national values attached. Also, they started to realize how important their national ego and patriotic mind are.

After a week, ROM changed to its original packaging with Romanian flag. Not only sales increased, but also more people formed loyalties with ROM. It changed back the culture and the youth, resembling like ones existed when ROM was popular.

Analyzing the case with the ROM advertisement, I agree with Naomi Klein’s idea that they need to fashion brand identities with the new youth culture when it comes to marketing the youth. However, accounting the fact that the youth is carefree individuals and not yet formed loyalties with brands, transforming existing youth culture to another can be also powerful and key to the success. Currently, changing the existing youth culture seems more successful in marketing. Apple, for an example, is currently a big hit in America. Steve Jobs reveal one of the keys to the success of the brand in his autobiography is that “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them”.

Response to Imani’s post: “Samsung’s Mass Culture Critique”

Disclaimer: I’m an iPhone user. I love my iPhone and will continue with the least amount of bias possible

Bernbach’s ads challenged the brand to consider that their consumers are smart and I really appreciate that you found that connection between Bernbach’s strategy and this Samsung Galaxy commercial. It not only addresses them, Samsung users, with less “puffery” and as intelligent consumers but it also depicts them in the ad as just smart smartphone users. However as Bernbach’s strategy with Volkswagen was to separate them from mass culture, I think as Samsung parodies smart phone culture it plays more into the mass culture. It can’t separate itself.

The ad relies heavily on a “referent system” (Goldman and Papson, 88). Although it positions itself as the alternative, the better alternative (sure…), it can only exist in the realm of smart phone culture. The other phone that people are waiting in line for, which they never refer to as the iPhone but is obviously so because of “media-referential domain” of the commercial’s setting, is used as negative signifier in the ad. The commercial  “practice[s] counterpositioning, [the] sign value or [the] sign identity is established by sharply contrasting it with what it is not.” (89) Samsung can’t exist in this commercial without the contrast, without the contrast of the other phone. As Bernbach ironically calls out crazed consumption, the Samsung Galaxy gains its meaning through that crazed consumption, the smart phone cult mentality. Samsung users aren’t individuals as much as they are the “other.” While they say they are better than the “the other phone,” they position themselves to be the other to that first other phone. They are just another clique in the smart phone market.

However, I think where the ad subtly separates itself is during its critique on Generation X. The young consumers who wait in line for 14+ hours are apart of Generation X, the generation who “defin[es] self in terms of consumption” (Leiss 483). They are young, focused on inane details like where the headphone jack will be…but the supposedly non-crazed consumers, the Samsung users are also Generation X. They are young and knowledgably about consumerism. However, during the commercial where one of the Samsung user’s who is in line saving his spot for ‘someone’ gets up, we realize it was a spot for his parents. This subtle way of contrasting old vs. new, how Samsung technology will always be newer I think is much smarter way to contrast the two technologies and position themselves as a better alternative. It also comments on the uniqueness of their consumers in Generation X. They are staying young and in the know while older generations, his parents, are invading the supposedly cool technology of the phone all the other members of his generation are waiting for. Samsung is special, not just an alternative.   

I thought the commercial was rather petty because of the cockiness of the Samsung consumers. As you point out, Samsung users already know how great and ahead their technology is, so as much as the ad celebrated its current users, the other portion of its audience, non users, were just exposed to the “oh, wait you don’t have that…” At least for me, it didn’t create jealousy or a need for Samsung Galaxy like it might have been aiming for. I think they were the jabs at the inequities were too obvious to actually be treating the audience, nonusers as well, as intelligent.

I started with a disclaimer and here’s a confession: I waited in-line for my iPhone…

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With the new season of Game of Thrones right around the corner, ads for the show have been “popping out of the snow like daisies.” There are bus ads, commercial spots, and even newspaper inserts. However, instead of the customary full page print of a promotional photo or official poster, the advertisers at HBO, behind Game of Thrones, decided to do something a little bit different. They decided to create an ad that would pop. The advertisers created a double-page spread with mock news articles and a seemingly normal ad at the bottom of the page for the season premiere of the show, along with a shadowed image of a soaring dragon.

The ad stands out because it doesn’t rely on having the show title occupy a huge amount of space, or an easily recognizable character’s face as a full-page photo. It is black and white and is, in a way, and ad within an ad. The usual advertisement space at the bottom acts as the normal ad within the mock-news page. Then the dragon shadow makes the viewer think — hold on, did they just print over real news stories? Can they do that? The aha! moment when the reader realizes that the entire spread is an advertisement makes the reader feel somewhat accomplished because they cracked the ad and realized the ad in its entirety.

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This advertisement plays on two specific details: the ad assumes that the reader is at least somewhat familiar with Game of Thrones, and will therefore understand that the shadowed dragon is a reference to Daenerys Targaryen, one of the most popular characters of the series; and the ad hopes the reader will, regardless of their familiarity with the show/books, appreciate the humor and creativity of the ad. In doing so the ad assures interest from pre-existing fans, as well as potential ones. Those who already watch the show and anticipate the new season will interpret the ad as somewhat of an insider nod, something that was created specifically for the fanbase. Those who do not watch the show, however, will see the ad and be interested in either trying to see if the shadow is covering real news stories or if the shadow is real (I found that many people attempted to do both).

In Social Communication in Advertising, William Leiss states that as an advertiser’s target audience is “fragmented into smaller and smaller market segments, the operative codes…become more specialized” (165). While Leiss may have been referring particularly to groups based on age, social status, and so forth, I believe the same could be said for the target audience of this ad: fantasy fans/likely viewers of Game of Thrones. The ad is attempting to pique the interest of those who would potentially be interested in the show based off of one image of a dragon’s shadow, as dragons are considered a staple in all fantasy stories. Again, the ad reaches out to fans and potential fans alike. The dragon, in a sense, is acting like a typical fantasy fan’s bat signal.

The ad pops out from the rest and created buzz across the Internet, from avid Game of Thrones viewers, the less informed, and everyone in between. It reached not only its target audience, but found a way to include every viewer in some sort of dialogue with or about the advertisement by breaking from the mold.