Monday, April 28, 2008

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).

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