Week One: Advertisement Analysis

Successful Advertisement: Visa Go Campaign

Go Sushi

The visual organization of many small elements that are organized into a larger one is used well in this ad. It gives the image more depth, for while upon a quick or distant glance it may appear that this advertisement is just the word “go.”, a closer look reveals the smaller details. This technique works because it makes the audience look twice at the ad. The visual elements used are also colorful, clean, and bold, making the ad enjoyable to look at, but not overly busy. Outside of the actual Visa card, this ad is trying to sell the idea of making life more interesting and exciting by going out and doing things you wouldn’t normally. Visa is selling the idea of spending money and using Visa in order to do it.

One of the Seven Principles of Visual Literacy used in this advertisement is the principle stating that visual messages are portrayed through both form and content. The word “go.” being spelled out by the arrangement of the sushi pieces is just as important to the advertisement, if not more than, the sushi pieces themselves. This is because, as mentioned previously, Visa is not just trying to convince the customer to go out and buy lots of sushi, but is rather selling the idea of going out and spending money.

Because it is selling the idea of going, this ad gives the viewer a feeling of restlessness; the desire to get off the couch and do something exciting and different from their daily routine. This particular advertisement may evoke a craving for sushi, while other versions of the “go” campaign may cause the viewer to want to do other things like:

golfing...

golfing,

Go Smoothies

making smoothies,

Go Ball

or playing ball!

One nice thing about these ads it that they do not require extensive background knowledge from the viewer, making them very accessible. Being able to reach a wide audience works well for Visa, especially since their target audience is basically anyone who is old enough to be buying things without the supervision of parents. That being said, each individual ad seems to target a slightly different audience. While the sushi ad may appeal more to young to middle-aged adults, the golf ad may be appealing to older men and women, while the ball add may attract kids who will then show their parents.

This diversity is largely what makes these ads so effective. Like the Absolut Vodka campaign described in Naomi Klein’s No Logo, the new Visa campaign works globally because it serves as a “cultural sponge.” It is both recognizable, thanks to the universal “go.”,  and variable; Visa can easily change the objects that compose the word to connect to any gender, age group, or culture. While the objects forming the word may be busy, they are brought together in an organized fashion. The rest of the ad is kept clean and simple, preventing the viewer from feeling overwhelmed. Finally, the ad is interesting enough to warrant a second consideration, allowing the image, and hopefully the product, to stick in the mind of the viewer.

This campaign was created by TBWA, the company who also recently worked on campaigns for Pepsi and Pedigree. It is Visa’s first attempt at a global campaign, and is accompanied by a new slogan: “More people go with Visa.” More information on the campaign, as well as other examples of both print and video advertising, can be found at their global marketing website.

Unsuccessful Advertisement: Aveda

Aveda straight

The visual elements presented in this ad are not very strong. While the model being in black and white does make her stand out from the background, it is not in a positive way. The lack of color makes her look dull, an appearance which is accentuated by her unexpressive face. Her hair is also obscuring her face in an odd manner. The background provides a little more color, but the color too is dulled and it is somewhat unclear what the background is meant to represent. Besides just the product, the ad is trying to sell the super-straight hair that the product is supposed to provide. Unfortunately, the ad is not selling an emotion attached with this straight hair (i.e. happiness or sexiness because your hair is straight and flawless).

One of the seven principles that relates to this ad is the idea that visuals create a powerful illusion of reality. This ad is meant to make the reader suppose that the hair product being sold will keep hair straight and smooth even in the hottest conditions, like the desert (which is what I am supposing the background is meant to represent). More likely than not, this is an exaggeration of the fact that Aveda Smooth Infusion will keep your hair straight most all of the time.

As mentioned before, one major flaw I find in this ad is that it does not really illicit an emotion. The model is hunched over, her face is partially covered, and her expression is dull and distant. The background in indistinct and unexciting. Nothing in the add suggests a positive feeling that comes from using Aveda Smooth Infusion.

This ad doesn’t rely on much background knowledge from the viewer. A person looking at this ad just needs to realize that the background is meant to represent the desert, or some other hot, arid location.

Other examples of marketing for Aveda Smooth Infusions can be seen below.

Aveda Ad 2aveda hair set

These have the same unexciting feeling of the original advertisement, using dull colors and models with no emotion. Based on the product and the models used, the target audience of these ads is most likely young adult to middle-aged females. While the product would probably be attractive to teenage girls as well, the ads to not seem interesting enough to catch their attention.

I feel this ad is unsuccessful because it is overall dull. It leaves the viewer wanting in both emotion and visual excitement. Visually the ad lacks color or any sort of eye catching visual element. As for emotion, the ad isn’t selling one. It is simply selling the product. And I don’t know about you, but I would much rather by a bottle of happiness, confidence, or beauty than just a boring old bottle of hair straightener.

Aveda is a company of Estée Lauder. Several years ago, Estée Lauder split their advertising budget between Omnicom’s Group M2M and WPP Group’s Mindshare. More information on the split can be found at adweek.

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