Personalized advertisements focus on the relationship between people and products. By associating the product with people’s roles and personality, those audiences with similar characteristics may be attracted to the product. By relating the product to self-transformation and to the maintenance of interpersonal relationships, the advertisement serves to portray an image to its audiences, so that they may be invited to imagine themselves being placed in similar situations in real life. By creating a narrative which links all of these personal qualities to the product, the advertisement may appeal to a wide range of audiences. This is especially useful when the advertisement is selling a product which can be applicable to nearly every audience who watches the ad. By using these techniques, audiences can easily identify themselves with the product in the ad, and ultimately become consumers of the product.

The “Got Milk” advertisement follows the personalized advertising format. The advertisement develops according to a narrative. The narrative serves as a kind of testimonial to show how important the product is without directly presenting it in speech. It shows how the product interacts with the people inside the ad. The narrative revolves around people’s “experience with use or consumption” (Leiss 186). Through the narrative, the advertisement starts off showing the audience when and who will consume the milk. It suggests that milk can be served at breakfast as a beverage or as an accompaniment served with cereals. It also suggests that milk is an essential product for the children in the family.

When Dwayne Johnson, who acts as father, finds out that his house runs out of milk, he is so anxious of losing the milk that he immediately runs out of his house to catch the truck giving out milk, by going through all the difficulties that are happening on his way. This shows the level of anxiousness a father can feel when he knows that he may risk having no milk for the family. In reality, the family can opt for another type of breakfast, one that does not require milk. By not even considering the “easier” approach, it reflects how satisfied the family is with the milk as a food to start the day. In addition, “a person’s role, or even fame, provides the connection between the product and its recommendation” (Leiss 186). In the ad, Johnson recommends the milk to the audience through his chase. It can be assumed that parents want to give the best to their children. His chase implies that the milk is an essential component of a healthy breakfast. It seems that he cannot accept the fact that his kids need to have a breakfast without the nutrition in milk. It is easy for audiences to associate health with sports. Sports can be seen as an essential element for health. As a professional wrestler before being an actor, the sense of healthiness is transferred from Johnson’s previous profession to the product he is advertising for. In short, his previous role and fame work together to add credibility to his endorsement.

Besides interpreting Johnson’s character in the perspective of a user of the product, the character can also be “a representative of some personality type” (Leiss 184). In other words, Johnson’s character stands for a group of people who have some identifiable character traits. In this ad, Johnson’s character exemplifies a family-oriented person, who puts his children in the first priority. In the chase, he ignores everything that may prevent him from not catching the milk truck which can give him the milk that his children need. By relating the narrative with the trait of a caretaker, the homemakers who watch the commercial may first resonate with the character, and then with the product. The chase may lead its audiences, who have become parents, to reflect on their own performances as homemakers. It may stimulate a feeling of wanting to be as competent as the father in the ad. The ad seems to suggest a way in which they can reach their goals. The narrative seems to suggest to these audiences indirectly that, “if you buy and serve this milk to your children, you may be considered as a responsible homemaker who cares about what your children are consuming and why they are consuming them.”

Moreover, the ad can be interpreted as a self-transformation ad, which is a subcategory to the personalized ad format. In this subcategory, “people change – make themselves better – through the possession or use of the product” (Leiss 186). In the ad, Johnson is shown as a muscular man. Being muscular may be an ideal body shape to many men. By showing Johnson drinking a cup of milk himself towards the end of the ad, it can be interpreted that drinking milk is one of the tricks to getting the muscles. In other words, the ad portrays that milk can be a factor transforming him into an idealized body shape. In the process, advertisers can suggest to their male audiences that they can also become a man with a perfect body shape if they drink milk. By casting Johnson as the main character of the narrative, “consumers are invited to imagine themselves in some more idealized state” (Leiss 186). In short, the ad can reach male audiences by showing them visually the “results” of drinking the milk.

More importantly, the personalized format portrays a product’s impact on interpersonal relationships within an ad. It “places the product at the very center of social interaction – that is, within the stream of human relations” (Leiss 190). The ad starts with a setting in a kitchen, where a family runs out of milk. After a bunch of social relationships which happen outside the house, the ad closes by returning to the setting of the kitchen, forming a complete narrative circle for the ad. This way of organizing the narrative can remind the audience of the original context of the narrative. It directs the family relationship to the center of focus. Ultimately, the product has played a part in maintaining harmony within a family since the father has regained the product, relieving the anxiety that the family has at the start of the commercial.

 

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