Monday, April 28, 2008

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.

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