Monday, April 28, 2008

Layout of advertisements

- information value and salience;
- left and right: given and new;
- top and bottom: ideal and real.

Kress and van Leeuwen define "compositon" as the relation of the "representational and interactive meanings of the picture to each other" through interrelated systems of information value, salience and framing. Framing, as discussed in Unit 15, connects or differentiates elements of layout through elements that imply division or by actual frame lines. Here we concentrate on systems of information value and salience, as defined below.

Information value

Elements placed in specific "zones" of an image carry corresponding informational values. The division of the page into left and right, top and bottom, and center and margins define these zones. The image to the left summarizes the zones and their corresponding informational values: given and new, ideal and real, nucleus and dependents.


Elements are given varying levels of salience---they attract the viewer's attention to different degrees. Salience is created through relative choices in color, size, sharpness and placement. Often, vectors created by the shape and placement of elements help lead the eye from one element to another, in order of decreasing salience.

Left and right: given and new

Elements placed to the left of the page's vertical axis are presented as "given" pieces of information, or things that the viewer already knows; "new" elements on the right are not yet known or agreed upon. The values of given and new in an advertisement's elements are assumed by the advertiser, and it is up to the viewer to accept or reject the roles as presented. Take a look at the following advertisements using a "given and new" layout.

Note: In many advertisements that use a "before and after" appeal, "before" is placed on the left and "after" on the right; it is given that everyone shares problems, and the advertiser has a new solution for them.

Top and bottom: ideal and real

A sense of contrast is presented through layouts based on the vertical axis. Elements in the upper part of the page appeal to the viewer's emotions, expressing "what might be." The bottom elements have an informative appeal, showing "what is." These contrasting appeals can be assigned the values of ideal and real, where "ideal" elements are more salient and simply contain the general essence of information; "real" elements give practical and specific information.

68. Torengos actually uses a double Ideal-Real format. First of all, the Ideal "scientific" approach to dip capacity ("measured" in grams of salsa) shows that one chip holds more than anything but a bulldozer. In contrast to that potential Ideal, the Real is presented as the chip holding some salsa. So, the advertisement invites the reader to quit worrying about science and just eat something.

Ideal: You don't need to know the details of "dip capacity" to see that Torengos holds a lot of dip./Advertisers can give you more information than necessary.

Real: See the proof that Torengos holds a lot of dip./This is all you need to know.

Then, these two parts are presented as Ideal with the product container as Real: now you know what you want (Ideal), here is what to look for (and where).

Ideal and Real are expressed in an interesting way in 43 Aveda (right), which has the product image, name and description on top, with an Image component of 3 images in the bottom 60%. We can compare this with 43 Avedaflip which has the "expected" arrangement.

Dynamic organization of images

Graphic design considers the following principles to be important:

Repetition of elements such as color, direction, value, shape, or texture creates correspondence among elements. Related to Correspondence is Continuity, which is the handling of these elements to create similarities of form.

Visual connections are made between and among elements when their edges or axes align.

The arrangements of elements can lead viewers to read these elements in a particular order. This principle relates to rhythm, which is the sense of movement from one element to another.

We will look at how elements are organized in advertisements with specific case studies, focussing on three aspects:

- vectors and salience;
- perspective;
- framing;
- product placement.

Burger King's "Fiery Fries"

This very simple advertisement was created by Andrew Clarke of Saatchi & Saatchi (Singapore). The quotation below (from Aitchison 1999, p. 171) describes Clarke's thought processes.

"By putting Fiery Fries near the logo, it reduces the ad to two elements. I did try Fiery Fries just below the picture, and I also tried it centralised under the picture at the bottom, and both times the logo was in the corner. So there were three elements, picture and caption and logo, and what I did was break up the pureness of the white, so I just tucked it all in the corner."

You can see the different versions that (we presume) Clarke had in mind by clicking here. The visual disconnects that Clarke describes for the alternative versions also seem to alter the Ideal-Real perception that the reader has: "Fiery Fries" moves out of the Real to the Ideal. In other words, only the version that Clarke actually used has the form:

Image/Ideal: "What is this?"

Text/Real: Fiery Fries from Burger King.

Advertising in action

Here we discuss two practical approaches to the creation of advertisements. The first approach describes the general approach of the BBDO company. The second describes the process of creation of a single, simple advertisement for Burger King "Fiery Fries".

Once you have read these descriptions, think about how the practical options that these companies put into effect for their advertisement have properties that you can analyze and understand based on the our ideas.

People in advertising

Case study I: fear advertisements

In Liu and Westmorland's study of people in fear advertisements, they found that there tended to be more averted gazes in "before" advertisements and direct gazes in "after advertisements.


Before and After

Before After
Averted Gaze 6/9 12/13 7/9 5/12
Direct Gaze 3/9 1/13 2/9 7/12
Smile Count 1/9 1/13 9/9 10/12

Liu and Westmoreland associate averted gazes to insecurity and low self-esteem; the high number of averted gazes in "before" advertisements reinforces the negativity of the situation.

Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen's identification of "demand" and "offer" photographs can be also applied in the consideration of gazes in fear advertisements, where "demand" photos are those in which people have a direct gaze and "offer" photos are those involving averted gaze. The significance of the terms "demand" and "offer" are not directly applicable here; advertisers probably are not trying to directly "offer" you a problem in "before" advertisements. Instead, they give you a situation, or a peek into someone else's life, as if to say, "We are offering you a glimpse into this person's life. You don't have to be this person if you use our product." On the other hand, in "after" advertisements the person portrayed "demands" from the viewer an association with the solution, saying, "I want you to recognize the happiness I've found. You can share my happiness if you use this product."

Case Study II: energy bar advertisements

In a sense, the people depicted in energy bar advertisements are akin to the people of the "after" advertisements above. In constrast to the fear advertisements above, however, the photographs of energy bar advertisements mostly fall into the "offer" category with the participants looking away from the camera. The people in energy bar ads are presented as testimonials to the products' benefits; the advertiser says, "I offer you proof that this energy bar provides the energy and endurance you need. What can this product do for you?" The relationship between the reader and the depicted person is reinforced by text in ads like 60.09 PowerBar. The advertisement lets the reader know "What Peter Reid knows" without saying, "this is what you should know," offering the information without imposing it onto the reader. The general intimacy of these advertisements, shown by the close range of the camera, reminds the reader that the athletes depicted no different than anyone else; if they can achieve these physical feats, maybe you can too--if you use a certain product.

Case Study III: alcohol advertisements

The people shown in alcohol advertisements were noted for their establishment of the context of the images presented. Alcohol advertisements tended to depict wealthy living and sex appeal by characterizing the alcohol consumers as such. The use of "demand" and "offer" is much more potent in this context, where advertisers ask consumers to observe, desire and participate in social and psychological benefits of alcohol rather than the physical and nutritious benefits of energy bars. People in alcohol advertisements were mostly split between "demand" and "offer," both saying "Join us in enjoying this product" and "Look at how these people are enjoying this product." Overall, the use of people in advertisements was not overwhelmingly popular, as the product alone often provides a powerful enough message.

Colors and people used in categories of advertising

Case study I: fear advertisements

Liu and Westmoreland found that "before" advertisements were generally darker, using shades of black and white, green and brown; in contrast, "after" advertisements used bright colors such as red, orange and yellow. The correlation between color and mood and attitude is clearly present in these ads, in which darker advertisements try to convey a problematic, sad or negative situation and brighter advertisements show the happiness and cheer that can be achieved once the problem has been solved.

Color choices can also correspond to levels of salience. Liu and Westmoreland note that "before" advertisements look somewhat bland, plain or dreary because of the use of neutral colors like black, white, brown and green. The bland colors give elements in the advertisement low salience because of the lack of contrast, and the problem is perceived as a whole, a completely undesirable situation. Brighter colors and the use of white space, on the other hand, can give elements more salience and the ad can more clearly focus on the bright attitude of the person that has been "cured."

Lastly, in "before and after" advertisements both dark and bright colors were used, though not as much as intermediate colors such as blue, purple and yellow. This selection of colors suggests balance between "before" and "after"--for every problem, there can be a solution.

Case study II: energy bar advertisements

The color swatches above were taken from 29 energy bar advertisements and loosely arranged by hue and brightness, showing the popularity of brown and blue tones. Brown was a popular choice as the color of chocolate, a common bar flavor, and in association with nature and health. Blue can also be associated with health, cleanliness and serenity, which appeals to lifestyle choices that energy bar users might make. Darker shades are more common, perhaps to emphasize the richness of flavor and nutrients energy bars provide.

Case study III: alcohol advertisements

In the sample of alcohol advertisements, red, black and blue were predominantly used. The bold, eye-catching reds were mostly an amber hue, the color of many of the products (whiskey and beer) themselves. Using the rich reds and ambers, advertisers could convey a sense of weight and even taste to the readers. Blue hues were mostly seen in in advertisements for clear liquors, such as vodka. Blues evoke a cool, clean, smooth sensation that vodka companies may want to associate with their products. Lastly, the use of black connotes the nightlife and sophistication in which alcohol may be consumed.

Gaze: demand and offer

People in photographs can generally be divided into two categories: those who look at the camera and those who do not. Advertisers use the gaze of the people they picture to convey particular attitudes---pleasure at use of a product or displeasure at the absence of a product, for example. Kress and van Leeuwen characterize the gaze of a person as either a "demand" of or an "offer" to the viewer.

"Demand" pictures are those in which its participants are looking directly at the camera (and therefore, the reader). Kress and van Leeuwen assert that vectors, following the gaze of the photographed participant, connect participant with viewer. "Contact is established, even if it is only on an imaginary level." (p. 122) Using a "demand" picture acknowledges the viewer, "addressing them with a visual 'you.'" In addressing the reader directly, the participant's gaze demands an imaginary relation with the viewer.

In advertisements, the visual "demand" is usually one of participation or acknowlegement, where the picture seems to say, "I demand you to enjoy this product and its benefits." The woman in 25 Michelob says, "I demand you send me a beer---but only a Michelob."

On the other hand, pictures in which participants have a indirect gaze address the reader indirectly. "Here the viewer is not object, but subject of the look, and the represented participant is the object of the viewer's dispassionate scrutiny" (p. 124). The photographed participants are "offered" to the readers "as though they were specimens in a display case," and the relationship between participant and reader is one of unfamiliarity rather than the intimacy of a "demand" photograph. In contrast to the visual "you" presented in "demand" pictures, "offer" pictures lack the corresponding visual "I." Instead, just as the participant becomes the object of the picture, "I" is objectified into a visual "he" or "she."

In "offer" advertisements, the picture visually speaks to the reader through the author of the picture rather than the picture's participants. The author of 28.2 Rave says, "I offer you proof that Rave hair gel really does work."

Size of frame

"The people we see in images are for the most part strangers ... The relation between the human participants represented in images and the viewer is once again an imaginary relation." (Kress and van Leeuwen, p. 131-2)

The distance between a photograph's subject and the camera, also called the size of frame, suggests different levels of intimacy between the viewer and the viewed. Photographers use the following conventions to define a picture's size of frame:
A(n)... Extreme close-up shows... anything less than head and shoulders, or an isolated body part
Close-up head and shoulders
Medium close shot human figure from waist up
Medium shot human figure from knees up
Medium long shot full figure
Long shot full human figure occupying about half the height of the frame
Very long shot full human figure occupying less than half the height of the frame

Kress and van Leeuwen suggest that the different sizes in frame correspond to the varying levels of social distance we keep with each other in everyday interactions (see Edward Hall's definitions of personal and social distance in Kress and van Leeuwen, p. 130). The physical distance between people defines how much of one participant the other participant can see; the closer you are to a person, the less you can see of their full body. Because social relations influence the distance in which people interact, the size of frame corresponds to a level of social intimacy. Just as a small distance between two people suggests a level of intimacy and a distance of an arm's length suggests a level of formality, a close-up suggests personal interaction while a medium or long shot suggests observation or a distant relationship between viewer and viewed.

Through choices in an image's size of frame, advertisers suggest certain relationships between the people in advertisements and their viewers. Consider 54 Dasani, 19.2 Jim Beam and 34 Timberland, shown below. The level of intimacy suggested by the close-up in the Dasani advertisement is much more familiar than that between the reader and the two men enjoying their Jim Beam, and more intimate than the relationship the reader shares with the Timberland hikers.

How does size of frame influence the reader's relationship with the product? Could the Image in 34 Timberland be used for a bottled water advertisement? Now imagine that the two people in that Image were walking towards you -- is that better? Can you express your intuitions about these alternatives?

Similarly, imagine the Image of 19.2 Jim Beam, with a bottle of water instead of a glass in it. Would this size of frame work for a bottled water advertisement?

Social vs. Individual Advertisements

**Sierra can you find any examples for social/individual? I'm now struck that bottled water and powerbars are typically sold for individuals (if there are any people in the ads, there's only one 64 centrum, 67 pria).

**I'll see if I can add a bit about this stuff. People-wise, I was struck by the smiling faces in Dasani ads (can you find more?) and in your powerbar ads. These are clearly "after" ads in the sense of before-after.

Advertisers use people

Advertisers use people in their advertisements to create a relationship between the image and its viewer. Using properties such as a direction of a person's gaze or the size of frame, advertisements can even suggest the type of relationship between viewer and image.

- social vs. individual products;
- full bodies vs. body parts;
- gaze: demand and offer.

Color choices advertisers

The color choices advertisers make are more than aesthetic decisions; colors have been known to affect (and reflect) a person's mood or emotions, current style trends and cultural beliefs and symbols. According to paint company Glidden, colors represent personalities. Here's what they have to say about the following colors:
Pink, emotional in character, connotes a sensitive heart. Universally representing caring and sharing, pink indicates a strong personality. Pink is preferred by the affectionate and concerned individual. Gently, you offer love, attention and nurturing to those in distress and needing guidance.

Red, the single most dynamic and passionate color, symbolizes love, rage and courage. Demanding attention, red has great emotional impact. Those who select red are aggressive, impulsive and strive for success. The desire to experience the fullness of living leads to constant activity.

Orange is the color of autumn, spice, form and design. In bright tones, orange is jovial, cheerful and playful. Deepened, it becomes exotic and exciting. If orange is your choice, you have abundant energy with an eye for structure and organization. Your social nature finds you surrounded by family and friends.

Brown, sensuous in nature, represents an importance of hearth and home. It symbolizes physical comfort, ease and contentment. Should you seek brown, you are conscientious, steady and dependable. Your inner security, honesty and high virtue show that you take life seriously.

Yellow is truly joyous and virtuous in its purest form. Yellow exudes warmth, inspiration and vitality, and is the happiest of all colors. Yellow signifies communication, enlightenment, sunlight and spirituality. If your favorite color is yellow, this indicates that you look forward to the future, and that you are intellectual, highly imaginative and idealistic. You tend to have a cheerful spirit and have an expectation of greater happiness.

Green is the color of life, and represents freshness, security, and tranquility. Green creates an atmosphere that is calm and restful, and characterizes the intense power of nature. If you selected green, you seek stability, balance and persistence. You are a moral and affectionate individual.

Cool and constant, teal indicates stability and resistance to change. If teal is your favorite color, you are a sensitive individual, and have excellent taste. Optimistic and trusting, you have a high degree of faith and hope, easily trusting others.
The color of tranquility, blue is cool, soothing and orderly. The color of royalty, blue brings comfort and serenity to our lives. If you choose blue, you have a basic need for a calm, harmonious, and tension-free existence. Capable, conservative and sensitive to others, you make a loyal and trustworthy friend.

Violet, the color of luxury, indicates sensuality, passion, and depth of feeling. This lavish color creates an unusual atmosphere and provides and unexpected essence. If you like violet, you tend to be unique, highly sensitive and observant. Creative and artistically talented, you tend to have a complex personality.

The cold influence of grey keeps it foreign, remote and distant. Grey is preferred by those individuals who put their noses to the grindstone. If grey is your favorite color, you tend to be a careful, articulate individual who is focused and dedicated to your commitments.

White suggests goodness, purity and innocence. Its elusive nature provides serenity and the essence of perfection. The individual who chooses white as a favorite color seeks excellence and enlightenment in all philosophies. Simplicity, purity and recognition are a constant endeavor.

Information vs. persuasion in advertising

A very difficult question to address in the analysis of advertising is that concerning when information becomes persuasion. Is the function of an advertisement simply to provide information, possibly about the mere existence of some product, or is there necessarily some persuasive aspect?

It seems reasonable to say that most advertisements have a persuasive component, but are there some analytical criteria that we can use to decide where information ends and persuasion begins? As persuasion is a rather subjective effect, this may be difficult.

Address in advertising

Liu and Westmoreland looked at the use of pronouns in two types of fear advertisements: medical advertisements and body image/aesthetic advertisements. In general, they found that "in medical advertisements, the catch phrase seems much more personal, as if the person in the ad is actually talking to you directly. In aesthetic/body image advertisements, the catch phrase is much more general, and there is less of a connection between the personal featured in the advertisement and the catch phrase." Liu and Westmoreland conclude that including a personal experience in the copy of an advertisement suggests a reader's identification with or desire to have that experience through the purchase of a certain product. In advertisements with much more general statements, the speaker is not the figure represented in the ad but the company itself.

60.9 PowerBar

In 30 energy bar advertisements, "you" was used 32 times, "your" 15 times and "I" 3 times, suggesting that energy bar advertisements are much more personalized towards the viewer (as opposed to the speaker). These ads tend to challenge the reader to become healthier, stronger and more nutritious (62.3 Harvest asks, "Will you find your swing? Or lose your grip?... Grab [a Harvest Bar] in the morning and get a handle on your day.").

PowerBar's campaign featuring both ordinary and extraordinary athletes who share their thoughts on endurance, energy and peak performance exemplify the advertisers' desire to make personal connections to their readers; examine the advertisement featuring triathlete Peter Reid, left. Reid says, "Guys can really thrash you in the swim. Unless they're behind you." In doing so, PowerBar personalizes the situation: Reid is addressing you and makes his experience yours. Even PowerBar's slogan seems to address the reader, saying You can Be great if you use PowerBars.

Although no formal observations were made concerning differences in addressing the viewer of alcohol advertisements, it was noted that "you" was the second-most common word in the alcohol advertisements studied. The study did identify the significance of the word "you" in advertisements; it addresses the reader, it creates direct connection between reader and advertiser, and it appeals to the reader's emotions.

Names in advertising

In the fear advertisements, product and brand names tended to follow the same trend as that the technology names. For many of the medical products in the advertisements studied, product names fell into one of the following categories:

- pseudo-scientific, with zs and xs (Zoloft, Plavix, Vioxx, Nexium)
- friendly and unassuming (GoodNites, Allegra)
- medically based (Serevent, Flonase, NicoDerm)

For more examples, see the pharmaceutical names.

In 30 advertisements for energy bars, the bar's brand name or its parent name was mentioned an average of 3.7 times per ad in both graphical and textual form. The prominence of the product name on the packaging of the product itself played a large part in the number of name mentions per ad; advertisements for smaller products such as energy ads can afford to display the product (and hence the product name) many times.

The product names themselves lend to an interesting discussion:

- Harvest Bar and Nature Valley appeal to those who want to improve their bodies "naturally;
- ProMax, Centrum Energy and Carb Solutions bars are for serious athletes who know what their bodies need;
- Luna and Pria, energy bars targeted at women, have a soft yet clean or healthy feeling;
- PowerBar and Balance Bar let consumers know what they gain by usage of their products.

The product name appears fewer times in alcohol advertisements than in energy bar ads, averaging at 2 instances per advertisement.

The product names in alcohol advertisements share similar sources:

- names (Bacardi, Jack Daniels, Pete's Wicked Ale);
- locations (Beaulieu Vineyards, Knob Creek, Malibu);
- and descriptives related to he brewing/distilling process, location or (Skyy, Makers Mark, Grey Goose).

Even seemingly arbitrary names have significance in their structure. Lexicon Branding explores the anatomy of the name Zima on their website, noting that the letters in "Zima", Russian for "winter", reinforce the clarity and simplicity of this vodka drink.

Alcohol advertisements

The top words in alcohol advertisements are not as product specific as the words of energy bar advertisements. You, good, one, enjoy, best and fine could be applied to any product; taste and drink can be placed in any food or beverage ad. Only smooth and distilled seem specialized.

The number of words in an alcohol advertisement averaged between 8 to 15 words, with the highest number of advertisements falling into the 12-14 word range. These advertisements need not be as descriptive or factual as energy bar advertisements; alcohol ads appeal to emotion and lifestyle, unlike the lists of supplemental vitamins and minerals included in energy bar ads.


Liu, David and Lisa Westmoreland (2002). "Language of Advertising" class project: Be Afraid... Be Very Afraid: Fear/Problem Magazine Advertisements.

Gonzalez, Sierra, Sarah Oh and Wesley Williamson. (2002) "Language of Advertising" class project: Smooth Advertising: The Language of Alcohol Advertisements.

Energy bar advertisements

The most common words in energy bar advertisements seem somewhat obvious: they include descriptions of the product category (energy, protein, carb and bar); acknowledgement of the consumer/reader (you and your) and generic yet positive words (make, high, delicious and will). There were 22 mentions of flavor-related words (like chocolate and almonds) and 94 total mentions of health-related words (calcium, nutrition, protein and whey, for example).

Authors' note:
In the samples collected, it is easy to see that each energy bar company tends to fall into certain patterns (from layout to diction) when it creates its advertisements. Because the number of samples per energy bar company was not consistent, two sets of statistics are presented to the left--a blue bar represents the average number of times a word appears in an ad, weighting the data from each company by the number of ads provided; a purple bar uses the raw data without differentiating the numbers by company.

More surprising is the number of words per advertisement, which averaged out at almost 46 words per advertisement. The most common number of words per ad is in the range of 24-31 words. Based on these numbers, energy bar advertisements place one to two full sentences or almost two to five sentence fragments (usually one or two appear in an average ad) per energy bar advertisement. The advertisements use long copy to detail the health benefits of their products and to give the consumer details such as ingredients or flavors that help differentiate the company's product from its competitors.

Fear advertisements

Liu and Westmoreland observed that the most common words in advertisements are positive--new, good, soft, warm and free are the top five adjectives in female clothing advertisements. When it comes to advertisements that play off fears, however, the focus shifts to negative words instead. Liu and Westmoreland found the following:

- advertisements that portrayed a problem before it has been solved ("before" advertisements) use an average of 2.5 negative words per advertisement;
- advertisements that portrayed a problem after has been solved ("after" advertisements) use an average of 1 negative word per advertisement; and
- advertisements that portrayed a problem both before and after it has been solved ("before and after" advertisements use an average of 2.4 negative words per advertisement.

Words and names used in categories of advertising

This unit uses two product categories and one (sales tactic) category to discuss trends in the following aspects of magazine advertisements:

- common words, copy length and layout;
- names and name placement;
- "you" vs. "I" ads.

Names used in advertising

Needless to say, a powerful aspect of product marketing is the product name itself. Consequently, choosing a name for a product is very important, and companies which specialize in naming products find their services in high demand. A name can have up to three functions:

- to proclaim a benefit: DieHard, EasyOff, Inspiron, Achieva, Aspire

- to distinguish the company/product from the competition: Zest,, Amazon

- to offer a new vision: Pentium, Swiffer, Yahoo

Start here to read about the experience and practice of one naming company, Lexicon Branding Inc. of Sausalito, California.

To see short lists of product names, go to our product name page.

We are grateful to Prof. Will Leben of Stanford University for assistance with this Unit.

Is advertising language normal language?

• Is advertising language normal language?
• Does advertising language sometimes break the rules of normal language?

These questions relate to the place of advertising language in the context of the readers' general knowledge of language (we will presume that the language is English). In order to answer them, we must have some conception of what is meant by "normal language". The English language has evolved to have many different kinds of functionality, each of which correspond to different situations and styles of use. From an analytic point of view, it seems to make most sense to understand "normal language" to include the variety of styles of English that mature speakers and readers control. This will form the backdrop of everyday language in its many functions, against which we can view advertising language.

If one looks around in literature on advertising, or searches on the WWW, it is not uncommon to find claims to the effect that advertising breaks the rules of normal language and language use. However, from the perspective of a professional linguist, few of these claims really seem to be supportable. Now, with the exception of linguists, few people have any reason to pay close attention to the way that language is actually used in its speech community, for a wide range of communicative functions. Like many aspects of human being and human behavior, our unconscious knowledge of language is much greater than our conscious knowledge of it, so the facts about language that are immediately accessible to the average person only cover part of what the language is and how it is used.

Collect some text from advertisements that you have found. Can you find any examples of words, phrases or constructions that are truly different from the various varieties that you encounter on a regular basis? These varieties may include informal spoken language between close friends to technical and scientific descriptions (more likely to be written), and everything in between. Doubtless, not all of the text you find will be standard English, but is any of it not English at all? In doing this exercise, it may be that you will learn more about what creative possibilities your language allows, rather than how much advertising goes beyond the boundaries of that language.

In a recent short article in the journal Nature, Pullum and Scholz (2001) point out that, at every level, language has a level of creativity that allows it to be ever-expanding, ever-changing. Even the idea that there is a stock of words which constitute the English language cannot be upheld, because it is always possible to invent new words, and new names in particular. Thus, "Here is my new invention; I call it "X" " is a strategy in everyday English which advertisers can take advantage of, when they state "Introducing the all-new "Y" ".

In an interesting coincidence which illustrates the point very clearly, the Dreamweaver® program which we have used to construct this website has the command "Indent" to indent a paragraph, and we used it to format the quote below from McQuarrie and Micks. In the command menu, the command after this one is "Outdent", which makes a paragraph wider. Neither of us had seen this word before, yet we understood its meaning, and certainly did not reject it as "non-English".

This is not to say that any random new word can be generated for the author's purposes in any context. The "Outdent" example above is presented in a very clear context, which makes apprehending its usage and meaning quite clear. We generally find that novel words presented in an advertisement have the same supporting context; they may be new, but they are not "out of the blue".

The work of McQuarrie and Mick (1996) is highly relevant in this context. They place advertising language in the context of the study of rhetoric, and observe:

"A rhetorical figure has traditionally been defined as an artful deviation (Corbett 1990). More formally, a rhetorical figure occurs when an expression deviates from expectation, the expression is not rejected as nonsensical or faulty, the deviation occurs at the level of form rather than content, and the deviation conforms to a template that is invariant across a variety of content and contexts. This definition supplies the standard against which deviation is to be measured (i.e., expectations), sets a limit on the amount and kind of deviation (i.e., short of a mistake), locates the deviation at the level of the formal structure of a text, and imposes a grouping requirement (i.e., there are a limited number of templates, each with distinct characteristics)."

The unusual aspects of language that we sometimes find in advertising can be fruitfully considered to be examples of "artful deviations".

36.3 VW ad (Rolling Stone, May 23, 2002): Heck, it's been re-everything-ed.

This new verb is coined on the basis of a very robust feature of English, which allows nouns to be used as verbs (see Clark and Clark (1979)). In this case, the new verb is also prefixed and suffixed. Out of the blue, "to re-everything" would be hard to interpret, but in the context provided by the advertisement, its meaning is clear.

In the summer of 2002 the pop group No Doubt had a hit song called "Hella Good"; some of the lyrics are shown here:

Hella Good (G. Stefani/ T. Dumont/ P. Williams/ C. Hugo/ T. Kanal)

You got me feeling hella good
So let's just keep on dancing
You hold me like you should
So I'm gonna keep on dancing
(Keep on dancing)

"Hella good" is not advertising language, and it is not standard English, but it is certainly "pop music English", and it is the kind of phrase that anyone could produce in conversation.

In 48 Cointreau (InStyle, August 2002) we find an example of a blend, "Be Cointreauversial".

Phrases used in advertising

I have to do some work here.

16 Encompass (Fast Company, June 2001)

More text goes here.


Encompass, Fast Company, June 2001, p. 65.

Dodge. InStyle, August 2002, p. 109.

Riders. Glamour, August 2002, p. 73.

Text layout and fonts

Text layout, meaning the organization of the text with respect to itself, not within the whole advertisement.

Offline text stands out: this is very clearly illustrated in 32 State Farm (Fast Company, June 2001) and 33 Symantec (Rolling Stone, May 9, 2002), where one line that is out of the shape defined by the others is a key component in the meaning of the whole advertisement. Notice also the text in 41 Riders (Glamour, August 2002), curving symmetrically in and out.

Now, consider the font choices in the following ads, then click on the images for the full advertisement and an alternate font arrangement.

Words used in advertising

The main copy of advertising language probably uses words from a restricted sub-set of English---common words, often with some emotional as well as literal value. In advertisements aimed at teenagers, the pronouns "you" and "he/him" (for advertisements aimed at girls) are highly frequent. In other advertising domains, we can find some interesting contrasts in the use of pronouns (see Unit 7). Leech (1966) provides a thorough overview from the point of view of a practicising linguist of how language is used in advertising.

It is probably more useful to look at word usage and statistics in restricted domains of advertising, as we do in Unit 7, rather than to generalize across all cases. However, to give an indication of what we typically find, here is what Leech found out about the frequency of words in a sample of television advertisements (from the 1960s).

The twenty most frequent adjectives:

1. new
2. good/better/best
3. free
4. fresh
5. delicious
6. full
6. sure
8. clean
8. wonderful
10. special
11. crisp
12. fine
13. big
14. great
15. real
16. easy
16. bright
18. extra
18. safe
20. rich

The twenty most frequent verbs:

1. make
2. get
3. give
4. have
5. see
6. buy
7. come
8. go
9. know
10. keep
10. look
12. need
13. love
14. use
15. feel
15. like
17. choose
18. take
19. start
19. taste

Words and phrases used in advertising

Preamble text:

- common words and phrases used;
- layout of text, fonts, size of text, etc.;
- borrowed phrases and constructions;
- Novel Words and Phrases used in advertising.

- Is advertising language "normal language"?

The components of an advertisement

Case study of advertising components: 33 Symantec

Consider the Symantec advertisement on the left (Rolling Stone, May 9, 2002, p.7). There is a very strong diagonal effect in the images, from the Symantec symbol to the yellow square to the woman's head to the cat. The yellow straight lines connect "System Repair" through the yellow square to the laptop computer that the woman is using.

A person is necessary here to show that the computer is being used, and therefore, in a usable state. So, if it had been broken, it is now fixed. From the reader's perspective, the advertisement is a message which is being presented, and under the assumption of rational and cooperative communication, there must be a reason (or reasons) why each part of the advertisement is the way it is, and why it is where it is. The reader must infer the relevance of these parts to the whole message. And if the creator of the advertisement has been successful, the reader will make the inferences that the creator intended.

After you have thought about the different versions of the advertisement that are presented in this section, think what you could conclude about how the parts of an advertisement relate to each other. The text may perform the function of anchorage, indicating how you might interpret the image. To accomplish this in the way the creator of the advertisement intended, though, you must be able to calculate the relevance of the text to the image(s), and if there are multiple images or symbols, their relevance to each other would be considered to be important (and therefore something that, as a reader, you must calculate).


Relevance is a key concept in understanding advertisements, because it is a primary component of all aspects of human communication. The term was introduced by Sperber and Wilson (1995), building on earlier work in pragmatics, in particular the work of H. P. Grice. Sperber and Wilson's approach to communication is based on the observation that much natural communication does not involve sequences of totally directly informative utterances, or questions followed by literal answers. However, speakers and hearers in a conversation each assume that the others are rational and cooperative participants, and therefore conversation moves forward as each hearer finds the relevance of what was just said. You can read more about the strictly linguistic side of relevance on a separate page. Tanaka (1994) presents a very thorough analysis of advertising based on the concept of relevance.

Every advertisement is interesting from the perspective of relevance. Here are two examples of text that have relevance in the advertisement in which they appear. Click on each image to see the original and a discussion of the relevance and how it is constructed in the advertisment.

Anchor and relay

Anchorage is text (such as a caption) that provides the link between the image and its context; the text that provides relevance to the reader. The term was introduced by Barthes (1977). Daniel Chandler's website "Semiotics for Beginners" provides a full overview of Barthes' motivations and reasoning (go to, if you would like to find out more. Chandler quotes Hall (1981) to the effect that "It is a very common practice for the captions to news photographs to tell us, in words, exactly how the subject's expression ought to be read". This is a key aspect of the construction of an advertisement that we will investigate.

Barthes introduced the idea of anchorage along with another, the idea of Relay, which is a reciprocal relation between text and picture, in that each contributes its own part of the overall message. It also relates a sequence of pictures to each other. This technique is typically how comic-strip panes transition from one to the next, but is quite rarely used in advertising. If you do find any advertisements that have several panes or frames with some obvious transitioning from one to the next, you have found a good example of relay.

When you see a complete advertisement, you get a certain kind of meaning for the image, within the overall context that the advertisement provides. It may seem as though the image was "made for" that particular advertisement. However, a moment's thought will let you realize that, to a certain extent, any image can have any meaning (see Unit 2, the arbitrariness of the sign). The text of an advertisement is primarily the extra information that guides the reader to a particular interpretation of the whole, and thereby a particular interpretation of the image.

Look at advertisement 32 State Farm, for example (below). What meaning does the underlying image have? Could you imagine it being used for some other advertisement?

Denotation and connotation

A simple sign has a signifier which denotes its signified; at the second level of connotation, this whole sign becomes a signifier for another signified. Williamson (1978) discusses a series of advertisements for Chanel beauty products which were presented at the time with an image of the actress Catherine Deneuve. At the first level, the advertisement associates the products with Catherine Deneuve, and at the second level, we get the connotations of Catherine Deneuve in the context of beauty products as a signifier: she connotes the classy, chic lifestyle of a mature and sophisticated woman (p. 100).

Indexical components of advertisements typically have connotations, which connect the advertisement to a larger cultural context.

For example, think about the way that hair is portrayed in advertisements for hair products: either immaculately styled, or free-flowing and in motion (look at 43 Aveda or 44 Herbal Essences). The styled image is used in advertisements that connote (a woman, typically) getting herself ready to socialize; the free-flowing image connotes freedom in life: freedom from worries about hair, freedom to travel, freedom of expression.

To take another example, cigarette advertising typically associates the product with different cultural contexts: the wide-open Wild West image of Marlboro is very familiar. Other types of context are quiet, individual settings, or general social fun situations. Compare the Images in 08 Polo and 72 Newport. In the former, the product is placed near some other familiar individual accompaniment, coffee in this case. This Image is indexical for a scene which connotes "a quiet smoke". The juxtaposition of the two objects leads to an identification of the two, and properties associated with a cup of coffee transfer to the cigarettes (see Williamson, 1978, p. 22).

Advanced analytic concepts

In this unit we will consider some slightly more advanced analytic concepts that will allow us to get to the heart of the analysis of advertisements. Taking the idea of the sign from Unit 2, we extend it to the two levels of signification which are called denotation and connotation. These aspects of meaning are largely tied to the image component of an advertisement. The other concepts that we look at here involve the interplay between text and image: anchorage, which provides some guidance to the reader of how to interpret the image, and relevance, which is concerned with how the overall message emerging from the components of the advertisement is determined by the reader. The ideas of denotation/connotation and anchorage derive from work in semiotics going back to the original work of Saussure, as developed primarily by Roland Barthes.

- denotation/connotation;
- anchorage;
- relevance.

Presupposition in Basic analytic concepts

An important aspect of any communication involves the presuppositions that are present. Presuppositions may be even more critical in television advertising (see Geis 1982) than in print advertising. However, even in print advertising, presuppositions are an important component of the overall message. As the name implies, a presupposition is a necessary precondition for the processing of any communication.

Presuppositions typically involve the existence of some object or idea:

This presupposes that there is something that is "this juicy", and then makes an assertion about that thing. One important function of the presupposition here is to promote a kind of ideology within advertising, in this case, the idea that "juiciness" is somehow related to shampoo and hair. Most product ranges have some cultural values imposed on them in this way, and advertising is the main mechanism for achieving this.

The next piece of text has a similar function:

This presupposes that there are leglines, curves and compliments, and thereby implicates that these things are related. **Can we find a jeans ad about ruggedness instead?**

A further example of presupposition, of a fact or proposition, is evident in this text from Apple Computer:

"I used to think it was my fault that Windows didn't work properly".

The phrase "fault that P" is presuppositional, with respect to P. Presuppositions hold constant under what linguists call the Negation Test: negating the part of the sentence above P still leads to the necessity of assuming P to be true. Consider the examples in (1) and (2):

(1)a. It is your fault that I am lazy.
(1)b. It is not your fault that I am lazy.

(2)a. It is your belief that I am lazy.
(2)b. It is not your belief that I am lazy.

In the examples in (1), whether the positive or negative version, it is presupposed that I am lazy. On the other hand, in (2), my laziness is the object of someone's belief, but there is no hidden factual claim. Due to this difference, (1)c is non-sensical, while (2)c is perfectly natural.

(1)c. It is your fault that I am lazy, but in fact I am not lazy (non-sensical).
(2)c. It is your belief that I am lazy, but in fact I am not lazy.

Returning to the Apple text above, the words do not directly assert that Windows does not work properly, but they presuppose this. And, given the Negation Test, we can see if that if text had been "It wasn't my fault that Windows didn't work properly", the presupposition would still be there.

Authors' note:
We are using the text above as a linguistic example, not as an endorsement for any product. In fact, this website was created on two laptop computers running Microsoft Windows XP.

To summarize, presuppositions are a crucial part of advertising as they can cause the reader to consider the existence of objects, propositions, and culturally defined behavioral properties: for example, "Have you had your daily vitamins?" presupposes that you take or need "daily vitamins", thereby creating and perpetuating the idea that the behavior of taking vitamins daily is part of our culture. Similarly, "What's great about Chuck Wagon dog food?" (Geis 1982, 45) presupposes that there is something great about the dog food---though exactly what is left open.

Given and new in Basic analytic concepts

It is commonplace in the analysis of the meaning contribution of a linguistic unit such as a sentence to split the information into Given information and New information (e.g. "Today for my breakfast I had ... waffles", in which only "waffles" is New information). It is possible for a sentence to be all-New, but all-Given sentences are (by definition) uninformative, and therefore have only specialized or restricted usages.

Each sentence has an opportunity to present New information, or at least highlighted information. A common strategy in advertising language is to use very short potential utterances as sentences, to maximize the amount of highlighted information that is being presented. (See also Leech 1966 on 'disjunctive syntax'.)

In the first example here, the prepositional phrase "Behind you" is presented at a separate unit, and in the second, the adverb "Beautifully" has the same status. Let us consider the examples as single utterances:

"Everything has its place behind you."

"Jeans that fit beautifully."

These do not have the same meanings as the original Texts. Just looking at the jeans example, the original asserts that these are jeans that fit (implying they fit well), presenting the verb "fit" as New information, then following up with the further New information that the jeans fit beautifully. In the revised version, only "beautifully" is New information. Additionally, by segmenting the first utterance in the original as "Jeans that fit", the advertisement authors create the implication that there may be jeans that do not fit (well), due to the Principle of Relevance.

We explore the Organization of 47 Dodge further in Unit 7.

In the Riders jeans example, the first "sentence" is a noun phrase (e.g., part of "These are [jeans that fit]."), and the second is an adverb. None of these usages are peculiar to advertising language; one can easily imagine the following regular conversations, where such words are phrases function as complete utterances:

A: Look out!
B: Where?
A: Behind you!

A: How do they fit?
B: Beautifully, thank you.

The given-new organization can also be found in the Image layout of advertisements.

Coherence in Basic analytic concepts

Cohesion is a term from the work on textual structure by Halliday and Hasan (see Halliday and Hasan 1976), given to the logical linkage between textual units, as indicated by overt formal markers of the relations between texts. In English, cohesion is most simply marked by connectives such as and, but, or so. Each piece of text must be cohesive with the adjacent ones for a successful communication. However, readers are very creative interpreters, and formal properties of cohesion are typically not marked overtly.

Vestergaard and Schrøder introduce the notion of Coherence as a way of talking about the relations between texts, which may or may not be indicated by formal markers of Cohesion. Advertising language tends not to use clear markers of Cohesion, but is interpreted as being Coherent. As with all the other linguistic concepts we are using here, the notion of Coherence extends to the relation between Text and Image.

Peirce in Basic analytic concepts

The philosopher C. S. Peirce (1960) introduced three categories of denoting expressions or objects:

Icon: which bears a direct visual relationship to what it denotes.

Index: which forms a stable collocation with the entity that it denotes.

Symbol: which has an arbitrary form and denotes its referent by pure convention (see sign).

In an advertisement, any image of the product is an icon, representing the product more or less accurately.

An index in an advertisement is generally quite culturally-bound, representing something by association. A typical example might be a head of a wealthy-looking woman in a diamond advertisement (an index for a wealthy lifestyle) or some friends laughing in any kind of advertisement for a social product (e.g. fun cameras, drinks, cigarettes, certain kinds of clothes). We are unlikely to see three laughing teenagers in a diamond advertisement, or the head of a glamorous woman in a disposable-camera advertisement.

These indexical components of advertisements have connotations, which typically connect the advertisement to a larger cultural context.

Symbols need little illustration; everyone can easily think of company symbols. (The McDonald's "Golden Arches" is of course originally indexical from the name.) In terms of cultural significance, a company is well-served if its symbol becomes an index---a signifier which goes beyond what it directly signifies to some larger association. The symbol, too, may come to be indexical over time. This represents a very strong cultural establishment of the symbol, and may be a very powerful marketing tool.

To summarize, within an advertisement, the Image component may have some part that is iconic to the product, and there may be some symbols such as a company logo, and so on. The overall Image may have some cultural associations, which are indexical to some larger cultural context.

Basic analytic concepts

The key concept in advertising analysis is that of the Sign, as defined by Ferdinand de Saussure, which is the combination of a Signifier (below, "sr") and a Signified (below "sd"). Culler (1987) provides an excellent introduction to Saussure's thinking and highly influential ideas.

The importance of the sign has been widely recognized in the previous literature on advertising. Taking a simple case from language, Saussure observed that the relation between Signifier and Signified is arbitrary: the concept of "dog" is picked out by "dog" in English, "chien" in French, "Hund" in German, "inu" in Japanese, and "kay" in Korean, for example. Although each of these sound sequences has a history within its own language, from which we may come to understand why the word is currently the way it is, there is no specific sound sequence which is universally associated with any given meaning (with the possible exception of onomatopoeic words, though even these are quite culture-specific). Hence we say that the "dog"-dog Sign in English is arbitrary, just as the "Hund"-dog Sign in German is (equally) arbitrary.

The "arbitrariness of the sign", as it is called, may strike you at first as a cause for concern, as arbitrariness perhaps suggests randomness, sloppiness, or inattention. But in fact, the arbitrary relationship is a vital and fundamental part of any creative communication system, because new signs can be created as needed. And far from being subject to randomness, a sign-based system works only because all participants in the community agree on what given sr-sd relationships are.

Basic analytic concepts

An extremely useful and relevant survey of concepts from linguistics that can be used in the analysis of advertising can be found in Vestergaard and Schroeder (1985) chapter 2 (reprinted 2002). This chapter also illustrates the use of these concepts in analysis.

In this unit, we pick out the simplest concepts:

-the sign: a signifier and a signified

-icon vs. index vs. symbol

-cohesion and coherence in text

-given and new information


The concept of a sign is fundamental to understanding the meaningful elements in an advertisement. Beyond this, there are two key concepts that we will use in the analysis of advertisements from modern-day linguistic theory, namely presupposition, in this unit, and relevance, which is introduced in Unit 3.

These two concepts are important because they allow us to see the primary means by which advertisements can communicate much more information than what is explicitly presented in them. For example, in 29RangeRover below (Dunhill, Rolling Stone, June 20, 2002, p. 16), the text is "Work hard. Be successful. Go someplace where none of that matters." Everyone would agree, we presume, that this can be elaborated in the context of the advertisement to:

Work hard. And if you do, you will Be successful. And if you are successful you can buy a Range Rover. And then you can Go in it to someplace where none of that matters.

This is what the advertisement means. But where do the parts of meaning shown in red come from? This is what we have to understand. In this case, Coherence provides the links between the sentences (e.g. "and if you do ..."), Relevance is what determines that you can buy a Range Rover and go in it to somewhere, for the context of the whole advertisement including Image for a Range Rover. And the presupposition here is that there is somewhere out there where "none of that matters"---in other words, that some utopian place exists for you to aspire to travel to, in your Range Rover. Note that there may not be any such actual place (see Unit 1 on "rational" communication), though in this particular advertisement, it is implied that there is (go here for further discussion).

Processing in print advertisement

One important issue that comes up in the analysis of advertising is how much of the processing is conscious on the part of the reader, and how much of it is unconscious or unavoidable. It is not easy to avoid at least some comprehension of an advertisement, when you are presented with one. The situation is much like when you are sitting next to a stranger who is talking on a mobile telephone: it is very hard to simply ignore the communication altogether.

Advertising is a form of communication, and we find ourselves participating in many acts of communication every day. It is important to remember that the almost unconscious act of getting the basic meaning of an advertisement is quite different from further issues of interpreting regarding whether you find an advertisement convincing or not, whether you think that it might influence your behavior or not, or whether you approve of the kind of scene and social values that are apparent to you in the advertisement.

The analytic perspective that we present here takes the view that advertising is treated as ordinary communication, and that advertising language is treated as ordinary language. There is ample evidence that this is true. As we go through some of the basic concepts from linguistics that we will use, in Units 2-4, we will see that advertising language is not qualitatively different from ordinary language, and that the ideas from linguistics and semiotics that have been applied in many domains of language and cultural behavior carry over directly to the analysis of advertising. The application of the key concepts of presupposition and relevance with respect to advertisements is based on the idea that readers treat advertisements as normal, rational communication.

Analyze an advertisement

In our opinion, there are drawbacks to thinking too hard about the interpretation of an advertisement, or too hard about what kind of sense the advertisement makes. We refer to them as drawbacks, for they may obscure the most simple features of the advertisement, the very features that we are trying to uncover here: simply, how is the advertisement put together? And why is each element the way it is?

Not all advertisements make perfect sense. Not all of them promote or imply acceptance of social values that everyone would agree are what we should hope for, in an enlightened and civilized society. Some advertisements appear to degrade our images of ourselves, our language, and appear to move the emphasis of interaction in our society to (even more) consumerism. There may even be a dark, seamy, or seedy side to advertising. This is hardly surprising, as our society is indeed a consumer society, and it is highly capitalistic in the simplest sense ("If someone will buy it, someone will produce it."). There is no doubt that advertising promotes a consumer culture, and helps create and perpetuate the ideology that creates the apparent need for the products it markets.

For our purposes here, none of this matters. Our task is to analyze advertisements, and to see if we can understand how they do what they do. We will leave the task of how we interpret our findings in the larger social, moral and cultural contexts for another occasion.

It is often said that advertising is irrational, and, again, that may well be true. But this is where the crossover between information and persuasion becomes important; an advertisement does not have to be factually informative (but it cannot be factually misleading). For example, what is the factual information presented in 15dunhill (on the right)? There appears to be very little information present, but it is nevertheless possible that the advertisement is quite effective in promoting the fragrance.

In a discussion of what kind of benefit an advertisement might offer to a consumer, Jim Aitchison (1999) provides the following quote from Gary Goldsmith of Lowe & Partners, New York. It sums up perfectly what it is that one should look for in an advertisement. The question posed is "Is advertising more powerful if it offers a rational benefit?" Here is Goldsmith's answer:

"I don't think you need to offer a rational benefit. I think you need to offer a benefit that a rational person can understand." Aitchison (1999, 49)

The section on the practice of BBDO in Unit 14 suggests a similar strategy.

Our approach to advertising is that it is presented as rational communcation, even if not all aspects of it seem rational (see the next section, on processing). Our emphasis will not be so much "Does this advertisement make sense?", but "If you are presented with this advertisement, what sense of it do you make?".

Organization in print advertisement

The Image and Text are put together in some Organization, which is an important component of the overall advertisement. The Organization can suggest coherence, some kind of order in which the parts are interpreted, and relevance, which determines the particular kind of meaning that the advertisement has.

Let's look at an example, 13 Crown Royal (Rolling Stone, July 4, 2002), which has a quite simple Image and a quite simple Text. We can investigate the Organization by removing the text (13bare) or by moving the text down and left (13left). How do you feel that the meaning conveyed by the advertisement is altered under these changes? Look carefully at the images and consult your intuitions as to how the meaning of the advertisement may be changed.

A slightly more complex organization can be seen in 33 Symantec (Rolling Stone, May 9, 2002). There is a very strong diagonal effect in the images, from the Symantec symbol to the yellow square (what is that yellow square?) to the woman's head to the cat. The yellow straight lines connect "System Repair" through the yellow square to the laptop computer that the woman is using. This particular advertisement is discussed in detail in Unit 5.

Image in print advertisement

The advertisement has an Image component, which is typically a scene which provides the background for the entire advertisement.

The Image may or may not feature a representation of the product, and the product may or may not be "in use" (for example, imagine an image of a tube of toothpaste as opposed to some toothpaste on a brush, or some beer in a glass as opposed to a bottle of beer). The Image component may be more than just one scene, as is often found in the "before-after" type of advertisement (for example, 69 Allegra), or if there are other symbols or visual features that are superimposed on the original scene (such as 05 Europcar or 15 Dunhill, or, taking an odder example, 23 Max Factor).

The original scene in the Image may lend itself to a variety of interpretations. Look at sunset5a (right), and think about what kind of advertisement you could create, based on this image.

An Image usually has some interpretational component which guides the reader to certain aspects of meaning, possibly in conjunction with the Text. Some examples of this are discussed in the page on Organization.

Sunset image. Ideas for Great Windows and Doors. Sunset Books, Menlo Park, CA. 1996, p. 51.
Allegra, Time, January 28, 2002.
Europcar, Der Spiegel, 2002, p.99.
Dunhill, Rolling Stone, June 20, 2002, p. 16.
MaxFactor, Vogue, September 2002.

Text in print advertisement

The advertisement has some Text, which provides information about the product, and more importantly, provides anchorage for the Image. Under the general category of Text, there may be descriptive information about the product, other text that serves the purpose of catching the readers's attention, as well as (typically) short phrases that act as a kind of slogan, and finally the name of the company and/or the name of the product. In the Organization part of this unit, we will look briefly at the physical placement of text. We also look at the physical properties of the text (size, font, etc.).

Components of print advertisements

We can factor an advertisement into three components:

- Text;

- Image;

- Organization of elements.

As we begin to think about how to analyze advertisements, here are some general remarks on what we take as our intellectual starting-point:

- how to analyze an advertisement

- is the processing of an advertisement a conscious decision?