Analysis of a Magazine Advert Essay
Media is a powerful means of communication whether it is through television, radio or newspaper. It has many purposes, some of which include informing the public about current issues taking place in the world, entertainment, raising awareness and advertising amongst others.
Advertising is the act of calling the public’s attention to one’s product, service or need. It is done to draw in customers, to raise awareness, to inform and manipulate the way the public see the product, to increase profits and is also an effective way to fight competition. Advertising is primarily used to persuade and influence the public to buy a certain product. Advertising can create a huge impact on the general public’s views; however it must be a compelling and effective advert in order to have this impact.
My chosen advert is Herbal Essence’s latest product, ‘Hello Hydration’ which is fairly persuasive. The advert has been extracted from the magazine ‘Cosmopolitan’, Edition 5. It began as a family magazine and was later transformed into a magazine for women and sells at £2 a copy. The magazine’s cover and contents tell the reader that it is a top selling glossy magasine and of a high standard. The magazine raises awareness to its audience as well as including tips on fashion, relationships and beauty as an entertainment section. There is also a problem page to interact with reader and share personal problems.
The emotive language in the advert is used effectively to reflect the product’s appeal. The slogan of the product: “The Hydration your hair’s been waiting for”, is cleverly used as a metaphorical device. The idea portraying that your hair is ‘thirsty’, shows that the producers of the product have thought about your hair carefully as they have personified this idea. They have put across positive language rather than talking about one’s dry and rough hair. However, the sentence is in fact saying that the product is ideal for moisturising dry hair.
This is an effective way of persuading the audience to buy the product. Another cleverly used slogan is the Herbal Essence’s own motto “The Great Escape”. This phrase relates to the situation in the advert, as the scene in it captures a desert where the model seems to be ‘escaping’ from the dry isolation into a hydrated paradise of the product. It also seems like she has created her own cool oasis. The advert uses powerful descriptive words such as “exotic” and “intensive” to make the product more desirable.
In the description paragraph, the creators of the advert have used the phrase “lashings of lusciousness”. The use of alliteration and metaphors makes the phrase very powerful. However, the unusual use of terminology and its connotations causes the reader to think twice about the sentence. The phrase is appealing but is not effective enough to be imprinted in the reader’s mind. However, a phrase such as “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.” from the Swine Flu advert is memorable and leaves the audience thinking after they have read it.
The product is called “Hello Hydration”; it uses alliteration making it more effective and seems to be welcoming the concept of “hydrated hair”. It also makes the reader feel as if they’re saying hello to hydration themselves. This personifies the concept of hydration and treats it as if it was a character. Furthermore, the layout of the advert has been carefully planned out so it doesn’t abate the advert’s effectiveness. For example, the slogan is slanted as if it’s pointing towards the model’s hair. Also, the product is placed at the bottom right corner where the reader may not notice it at first glance. This is a hindrance to the advert’s influence as it is not evident what the product is and the reader is expected to delve further.
The advert is set in the midst of sand dunes in a vast desert on a hot afternoon. The use of a desert in the background signifies dryness which might represent the model’s hair before using the product. In comparison to the dry desert, the sky is a beautiful hue of cool blue tones, representing cool water. The model and mainly her hair is the centre of attraction, which is successful in alluring the reader’s attention at first glimpse. The reader is then drawn to the image beside the product.
This is a picture showing milk flowing out of a coconut surrounded by orchids. This portrayal makes it evident to the reader that the products used to create the brand ‘Hello Hydration’ are expensive, of good quality and exotic in nature. In the UK, where coconuts and orchids do not grow readily it seems that the creators of the advert have cleverly used these pictures to create an escape route for the British reader to an exotic paradise.
The orchids that surround the milk appeal to the viewer’s senses as soft, fragrant and sensuous, the way every woman wishes her hair would be. The milk that is pouring out from the coconut resembles the shape and position of the model’s hair. The model’s hair, the water coming out of it and the milk all flow in the same upwards direction, almost defying the law of gravity. However, although the liquids flow in the same upwards direction at first they slowly succumb to Newton’s law, apart from the model’s hair which seems to have been given a miraculous power of its own. This suggests that Herbal Essences newest product has the power to defy laws of nature. An important aspect of this advert is the fact that the model looks so fresh, hydrated and energized in a waterless desert reinforcing the hydration factor of the product, which is its main selling point.
To influence the reader further, the creators of the advert have tactilely placed a small pink box on the top left hand corner of the page emphasising that Cosmopolitan magazine have awarded the product with a beauty award for four years in a row. When a product receives an award, it informs the audience that the product is popular and of a good quality. Another persuasive technique that the advert uses is the position of the Herbal Essence’s Logo. It is placed in the corner of the advert on a lighter backdrop, so that the model’s hair appears to be the dominant figure, yet managing to capture the reader’s attention at the same time. The Herbal Essences logo takes the shape of a halo, suggesting that it has angelic or superhuman powers.
Nevertheless, the most potent part of the advert is the use of colour. The two main colours used in the advert are blue and beige. The colour blue can be seen in the sky, product and the model’s clothes. The colour blue in this advert primarily represents water and supports the idea of moisture and hydration for your hair. This idea is used to link to the main function of the product. The beige contrasts with the blue as it is used to represent dryness and dehydration. This is done so that the dominating colour of the advert (blue) can outshine the weaker colour (beige) relating to the whole concept of the advert.
The two colours are not often used together; this can portray that it is not an ordinary, everyday advertisement. Also, the model is wearing a blue top with brown clothes underneath. The blue matches with the product and relates to the ‘exotic’ and ‘hydrated’ look. The creases on the top resemble a waterfall to support this idea. The brown and purple colours in the top underneath could symbolise her past where she wore dull clothes but now the product has changed this. Hydrated hair has almost changed her and the dullness from her past seems to be disappearing giving way to the emergence of a new person.
The primary target audience is women as it is advertising a hair product. As the model is a female, the advert addresses audience of the female category who would be most likely to have purchasing power in a family. The model has her eyes closed and is looking up in a calm and mesmerized manner. This shows she’s in a trance, where she is tranquil and content due to the product. This makes the advert more influential as the same emotion may be reflected upon the reader while observing the model. Also, the use of orchids makes it more feminine.
In conclusion, the advert successfully persuades and influences the reader, as the good points outweigh the bad. I feel the advert is effective in what it aims to achieve, however it may not be prominent when put together with a group of other adverts. Nevertheless, the advert is articulate and can fruitfully convince the audience to buy the product. I believe that it is the advert as a whole that persuades the consumer the most, and if the product was presented on it’s own, then it would not attract many customers. Overall, I thought the advert was very effective, using clever techniques such as colour, language, imagery and layout to influence the public’s view on the product.