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comparitive study of nike and adidas

  1. 1. A Comparative Analysis of Nike and Adidas Commercials A Multimodal Approach to Building Brand Strategies Mads Nørgaard Hansen Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Marketing and Management CommunicationSupervisor: Carmen Daniela MaierDepartment of Language and Business CommunicationAarhus School of BusinessAarhus University 2010
  2. 2. A Comparative Analysis ofNike and Adidas Commercials A Multimodal Approach to Building Brand Strategies Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen
  3. 3. AbstractHeavy competition in the sports industry has caused organisations like Nike and Adidas tofocus on more than just selling sportswear- and equipment. Organisations need to differenti-ate themselves and focus on both product attributes and brand values when creating brandstrategies. Therefore, we have found it interesting to see how Nike and Adidas communicatetheir branding strategy differently and have set up the following hypothesis and questions: In Nike and Adidas commercials the organisations make use of complex multimodal choices in order to communicate their branding strategies. 1. Which multimodal choices do Nike and Adidas employ in order to communicate their branding strategies? 2. Which personality traits are similar and different in Nike and Adidas product and value commercials?Due to the complexity of our hypothesis, we will employ three frameworks: social semiotics,film theory, and branding. These frameworks will help us to analyse and make meaning of thefour commercials: Nike’s “Master Accuracy. Hit The Target” and “Is talent all it takes?” andAdidas’ “The Spark” and “Chelsea FC – Every Team Needs The 12th Man”. In order to answerthe first question, we will analyse the four commercials by applying multimodal concepts andfilm theory. The multimodal analysis derives from social semiotics and M.A.K. Halliday’smeaning-making of language, but as more contemporary concepts from Gunther Kress, Theovan Leeuwen, and Rick Iedema have been explored within image and tele-filmic texts, theseapproaches will be the multimodal foundation for the analysis. Additionally, film theories willadd further aspects to the analysis, as Edvin Kau’s notion on film editing strategies, Theo vanLeeuwen’s view on soundscape, and Jørgen Stigel’s concept of voice-over narrator will helpexplore the multimodal choices applied in the four commercials.In order to answer the second question of the thesis, brand identity perspectives offered byDavid A. Aaker and Jean-Noël Kapferer will accompany these two frameworks. Most interest-ing to the empirical data and our thesis is their perspective on brand personality and valuepropositions, which will help substantiate Nike and Adidas’ applied branding strategy.
  4. 4. As a result of the structure, the thesis will gradually explore the answers of our hypothesis.The multimodal analysis verifies that Nike and Adidas use a complex set of multimodalchoices. In this regard, the analytical findings demonstrate that the four commercials’ choicescorrelate and differ. The correlation is established by consistency between the technique usedto communicate the two product commercials and the two value commercials. The productcommercials emphasise the portrayed supernatural attributes of Nike and Adidas’ footballboots, whereas the value commercials focus on the virtues of the two organisations con-structed through involvement and identification with the represented endorsers. On the otherhand, the multimodal choices construct the two organisations as having different brand per-sonalities through their value propositions. Both Nike and Adidas express their functionalbenefits through the supernatural abilities of the boots. However, more importantly, the self-expressive and emotional benefits construct Nike as having a hardworking, winning mental-ity, provocative, edgy, and competitive attitude, and a focus on individuality. Contrarily, Adi-das’ self-expressive and emotional benefits portray the organisation as valuing team spirit,dedication, passion, and active participation.The multimodal choices and personality traits reach to the final conclusion that Nike and Adi-das differentiate their branding strategy, which provide them with a competitive edge.
  5. 5. Table of Contents1. Introduction ........................................................................................................ 1 1.1. Purpose and Problem Statement ............................................................................................................. 1 1.2. Delimitations ................................................................................................................................................... 2 1.3. Structure of Thesis ........................................................................................................................................ 22. Presentation of Nike and Adidas .................................................................. 4 2.1. Nike ..................................................................................................................................................................... 4 2.2. Adidas ................................................................................................................................................................ 43. Background Theory .......................................................................................... 6 3.1. Social Semiotics .............................................................................................................................................. 6 3.1.1. The Metafunctional Perspectives on Communication .............................................................................. 6 3.1.2. Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday ........................................................................................................... 7 3.1.3. Multimodality ............................................................................................................................................................ 8 3.1.3.1. Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen ....................................................................................................................... 8 3.1.3.2. Rick Iedema ............................................................................................................................................................................ 9 3.1.3.3. Van Leeuwen’s Information Linking............................................................................................................................ 9 3.1.3.4. Hartmut Stöckl’s Modes .................................................................................................................................................. 10 3.2. Film Theory.................................................................................................................................................... 10 3.2.1. Edvin Kau’s Reflection on Editing .................................................................................................................. 11 3.2.2. Theo van Leeuwen’s Sound in Perspectives .............................................................................................. 11 3.2.3. Jørgen Stigel’s Voice-over .................................................................................................................................. 12 3.3. Branding Theory .......................................................................................................................................... 134. Methodology ...................................................................................................... 15 4.1. Interdisciplinary Theoretical Approach ............................................................................................. 15 4.2. Transcription and Analysis of Data....................................................................................................... 19 4.3. Strengths ......................................................................................................................................................... 20 4.4. Weaknesses ................................................................................................................................................... 205. Multimodal Analysis ....................................................................................... 21 5.1. Product commercials ................................................................................................................................. 21 5.1.1. Nike: Master Accuracy. Hit The Target. ....................................................................................................... 21
  6. 6. 5.1.1.1. Representation .................................................................................................................................................................... 21 5.1.1.1.1. Visually .......................................................................................................................................................................... 21 5.1.1.1.2. Musically ....................................................................................................................................................................... 23 5.1.1.1.3. Sound-wise .................................................................................................................................................................. 23 5.1.1.2. Orientation ............................................................................................................................................................................ 24 5.1.1.2.1. Visually .......................................................................................................................................................................... 24 5.1.1.2.2. Sound-wise .................................................................................................................................................................. 25 5.1.1.3. Organisation ......................................................................................................................................................................... 26 5.1.2. Adidas: The Spark – F50i ................................................................................................................................... 27 5.1.2.1. Representation .................................................................................................................................................................... 27 5.1.2.1.1. Visually .......................................................................................................................................................................... 27 5.1.2.1.2. Musically ....................................................................................................................................................................... 29 5.1.2.1.3. Sound-wise .................................................................................................................................................................. 29 5.1.2.2. Orientation ............................................................................................................................................................................ 30 5.1.2.2.1. Visually .......................................................................................................................................................................... 30 5.1.2.2.2. Sound-wise .................................................................................................................................................................. 31 5.1.2.3. Organisation ......................................................................................................................................................................... 325.2. Value commercials ...................................................................................................................................... 33 5.2.1. Nike: Is talent all it takes? ................................................................................................................................. 33 Representation .................................................................................................................................................................................... 33 Visually.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 33 Verbally ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 34 Musically .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 35 Orientation ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 36 Visually.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 36 Sound-wise ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 37 Organisation ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 38 5.2.2. Adidas: Chelsea FC – Every Team Needs The 12th Man ........................................................................ 39 5.2.1.1. Representation .................................................................................................................................................................... 40 5.2.1.1.1. Visually .......................................................................................................................................................................... 40 5.2.1.1.2. Verbally ......................................................................................................................................................................... 40 5.2.1.1.3. Musically ....................................................................................................................................................................... 41 5.2.1.1.4. Sound-wise .................................................................................................................................................................. 41 5.2.1.2. Orientation ............................................................................................................................................................................ 42 5.2.1.2.1. Visually .......................................................................................................................................................................... 42 5.2.1.2.2. Sound-wise .................................................................................................................................................................. 44 5.2.1.3. Organisation ......................................................................................................................................................................... 45
  7. 7. 6. Branding ............................................................................................................. 46 6.1. Product vs. Product ..................................................................................................................................... 46 6.2. Value vs. Value .............................................................................................................................................. 48 6.3. Nike vs. Adidas .............................................................................................................................................. 497. Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 51Bibliography .......................................................................................................... 53Glossary ................................................................................................................... 57AppendixesTotal number of characters: 98,880
  8. 8. ResponsibilitiesB = Both, M = Mads Nørgaard Hansen, D = Dennis Gade Pedersen1. Introduction B 1.1. Purpose and Problem Statement B 1.2. Delimitations B 1.3. Structure of ThesisB2. Presentation of Nike and Adidas B 2.1. NikeM 2.2. AdidasD3. Background Theory B 3.1. Social Semiotics D 3.1.1. The Metafunctional Perspectives on CommunicationD 3.1.2. Michael Alexander Kirkwood HallidayD 3.1.3. MultimodalityD 3.1.3.1. Gunther Kress and Theo van LeeuwenB 3.1.3.2. Rick IedemaB 3.1.3.3. Van Leeuwen’s Information LinkingD 3.1.3.4. Hartmut Stöckl’s ModesM 3.2. Film TheoryB 3.2.1. Edvin Kau’s Reflection on EditingD 3.2.2. Theo van Leeuwen’s Sound in PerspectivesM 3.2.3. Jørgen Stigel’s Voice-overM 3.3. Branding TheoryB4. Methodology B 4.1. Interdisciplinary Theoretical ApproachB 4.2. Transcription and Analysis of DataB 4.3. StrengthsB 4.4. WeaknessesB5. Multimodal Analysis B 5.1. Product commercialsB 5.1.1. Nike: Master Accuracy. Hit The Target D 5.1.2. Adidas: The Spark – F50iM 5.2. Value commercialsB 5.2.1. Nike: Is talent all it takes?M 5.2.2. Adidas: Chelsea FC – Every Team Needs The 12th Man D6. Branding B 6.1. Product vs. ProductD 6.2. Value vs. Value M 6.3. Nike vs. AdidasB7. Conclusion B
  9. 9. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20101. IntroductionThis chapter will introduce our problem statement for the thesis and the purpose for explor-ing the subject. Furthermore, the chapter will discuss the delimitations and provide a descrip-tive structure of the thesis.1.1. Purpose and Problem StatementThe billion-dollar sports industry has over the years developed into being more than just sell-ing sportswear- and equipment. Today, sport has become a lifestyle that puts more emphasison the values of the organisation as a tool for advertising. This is caused by the heavy compe-tition that organisations face as new, cheaper products constantly seek to gain market shares.Consequently, the flagships of sports equipment have been compelled to modify their adver-tising strategies to include strategies that focus on the brands’ values opposed to only productattributes. Along with the modified strategies, organisations also need to be personal in theirbranding in order to create a close relationship between organisation and consumer.Over the last decades worldwide sports suppliers Nike and Adidas have become synonym forthe sports industry and the organisations that have modified their strategy to focus on per-sonality traits and value propositions. Therefore, we find it interesting to set up the followinghypothesis:In Nike and Adidas commercials the organisations make use of complex multimodal choices inorder to communicate their branding strategies.The questions we want to answer in order to verify our hypothesis: 1. Which multimodal choices do Nike and Adidas employ in order to communicate their branding strategies? 2. Which personality traits are similar and different in Nike and Adidas product and value commercials?In order to answer the questions we want to analyse in detail Nike’s commercials “Master Ac-curacy. Hit The Target” that focuses on a product and the value video “Is talent all ittakes?”from the “Make The Difference” campaign. Adidas’ product commercial F50i and value1
  10. 10. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010commercial “Chelsea FC – Every Team Needs The 12th Man” from the “Every Team Needs”campaign will be the videos from Adidas that we will analyse. Even though advertising hasmoved from focusing on products to values, it will be interesting to see which aspects the dif-ferent videos want the organisations to identify with – product as well as value attributes.As tools for analysing these commercials, this thesis will take point of departure in a multi-modal analysis derived from social semiotics as well as concepts from film theory. Aaker andKapferer’s concept of brand personality will also be applied in order to answer our questions.By combining these concepts, we want to prove that Nike and Adidas communicate theirbranding strategies differently.1.2. DelimitationsIn this thesis we will centre our attention on answering the hypothesis and questions put for-ward in the introduction. Furthermore, due to the limited number of characters and the timeperspective, our empirical data will take point of departure in football alone and not includeother Nike and Adidas sports segments. As data for analysis, we will exclusively focus on twovideos from each organisation that embrace the essence of Nike and Adidas’ attributes. Thisalso means that we will only focus on the most relevant features of these four commercialsthat portray Nike and Adidas’ branding strategy. Theoretically, despite the interest and rele-vance of including persuasive concepts, we will only apply theories that can aid our hypothe-sis and questions.Additionally, it would have been interesting to explore how Nike and Adidasbrand themselves as a product, an organisation, and a symbol, but this thesis will only coverbrand personality traits due to the use of celebrities as endorsers.Our presentation of Nikeand Adidas will only address relevant historical events and values that are appropriate inconnection to their branding strategy. With these delimitating remarks, we will elaborate onthe structure of the thesis.1.3. Structure of ThesisThis thesis will be divided into sevenchapters: Chapter 1 will introduce the purpose and prob-lem statement of the thesis, the delimitations, and the structure of the thesis. This will be fol-lowed by a presentation of Nike and Adidas and their relevant historical events and valuesinchapter 2. Chapter 3 will present the relevant multimodal theories and the branding concepts2
  11. 11. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010that will be the groundwork for the analysis, whereas chapter 4 will provide a discussion ofwhich theories are appropriate, their advantages within the field of multimodality and brand-ing and how the different theories are linked. Furthermore, the reasons for transcribing thevideos will also be discussed. The multimodal analysis of the four commercials will be dealtwith in chapter 5. First, the two product commercials will be analysed followed by the analy-sis of the two value commercials. Based on the four commercials, chapter 6 will contain ananalysis of Nike and Adidas’ branding strategies. Lastly, chapter 7 will conclude the findingsfrom the thesis.3
  12. 12. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20102. Presentation of Nike and AdidasIn order to analyse the similarities and differences in Nike and Adidas’ branding strategy, weneed background details about the two organisations to ensure that Nike and Adidas’ com-mercials make use of values that are true to their heritage.2.1. NikeWhat started off as a school assignment in the 1960’s turned out to be one of the biggestsports brands of our time.Phillip Knight’s interest within running resulted in a contact withthe Japanese shoe producer Onitsuka. Phillip Knight introduced himself as a representative of“Blue Ribbon Sports”and ordered his first pair of running shoes. This Japanese journey re-sulted in what later became Nike.Nike’s focus was not only to produce quality shoes for professional athletes – the organisationalso put great emphasis on the jogging community and everyday use of sports products. Thisapproach resulted in stealing market shares from German giant Adidas, as well as it increasedthe organisation’s popularity. As early as 1973 Phillip Knight discovered that endorsementwas a great method for promoting the Nike brand. His philosophy was that if he could getsports heroes associated with a Nike product, it would provide a great boost. “Nike built newproduct lines and marketing campaigns around these athletes, forging an attitude that wasdistinctly Nike: hardworking, competitive, and tough” (Frisch 2004: 27). The values and abili-ties of the celebrity endorsers utilised in the Nike commercials “Master Accuracy. Hit The Tar-get” and “Is talent all it takes?” is briefly discussed next in appendix 1.2.2. AdidasShoemaker Adi Dassler founded the German conglomerate Adidas in 1948 in Herzogenaurach.As an amateur athlete, Adi Dassler dedicated his job to craft the best possible shoe for seriousathletes. “Function First” was together with quality, dedication, innovation some of the high-est rated values in the beginning of the organisation’s history, which resulted in a successfulorganisation (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000:166). The organisation failed to focus on thejogger community and the aerobic movement in the 1970’s and 80’s, which caused a turbulenttime, and, with the death of founder Adi Dassler in 1978, the company lost parts of its DNAand the company’s brand strategy appeared outdated. This forced Adidas to combine its his-4
  13. 13. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010torical values with emotional and contemporary feelings necessary for users to identify withthe brand. This resulted in a brand identity that focused on creating innovative, quality prod-ucts that appeal to people’s emotions by emphasising excitement, the thrill of victory andmeeting physical challenges. Furthermore, active participation became a corner stone of thecompany, as performance is about crossing boundaries and, rather than focusing on stars andindividuals, emphasis was put on supporting teams at every level (Aaker and Joachimsthaler2000:186). These values are expressed in Adidas’ promotion materials, especially in the use ofcelebrities as trustworthy endorsers. The values and abilities of the celebrity endorsers util-ised in the Adidas commercials “The Spark” and “The 12th Man” is briefly discussed in appen-dix 1 to verify that the organisation makes use of endorsers corresponding with the brandidentity.5
  14. 14. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20103. Background TheoryThe background theory provides the foundation of the theoretical knowledge applied in thethesis. Due to the complexity of the empirical data, we have created three different frame-works: social semiotics, film theory, and branding. These frameworks will help us answer ourhypothesis. We start by exploring the term social semiotics and the development within themetafunctional perspectives on communication.3.1. Social SemioticsThe term semiotics derives from Greek semeion, which means sign. Signs were considered tobe the fundamental aspect of semiotics, but in social semiotics the term resourceis more im-portant as a sign is affected by its use and not simply what it stands for (van Leeuwen2005:3). In other words, the semiotic resource is affected by the social context in which it ex-ists. Semiotic resource originates from Halliday, who argues “that the grammar of a languageis not a code, not a set of rules for producing correct sentences, but a ‘resource for makingmeanings’” (van Leeuwen 2005:3). Today, semiotic resources not only deal with the languagemode, but rather with a wide range of modes. To be more precise, semiotic resources have todo with everything we do or make, whether it is what we say, write or gesticulate etc. in ourdifferent cultural and social context. All the actions that we make in the world have meaningpotentials, and how these potentials are communicated is the essential activity in social semi-otics.3.1.1. The Metafunctional Perspectives on CommunicationThe development within contemporary communication has caused a shift in semiotic modesand how communicative strategies can be analysed.Halliday’s work in social semiotics in the1960’s and 1970’s focused around systemic functional grammar as a mean of understandinglanguage. In his work, he provided a metafunctional framework for analysing texts1 consistingof the ideational, interpersonal, and textual metafunction. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Theovan Leeuwen refined the framework of Halliday as he shifted focus from language to visualelements. Just like Halliday, van Leeuwen focuses on the grammar of images, which – op-posedto Halliday’s emphasis on verbs, nouns, and phrases – surroundsits attention on repre-1 Words in italics are explained in the glossary6
  15. 15. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010sentational, interpersonal, and textual meanings of images.The need to analyse in more detailsfilm and television has caused yet another shift.Rick Iedema’s metafunctions for analysiselaborates on the previous work from Halliday and van Leeuwen and modifies it to the tele-filmic genre. Iedema proposes the three metafunctions: representational, orientational, andorganisational. In the following three sections, the metafunctional concepts from Halliday,Kress and van Leeuwen, and Iedema will be presented to provide a better understanding ofthe development.3.1.2. Michael Alexander Kirkwood HallidayHalliday is a social semiotician who focuses on language. According to Halliday, “languagedoes not consists of sentences; it consists of text, or discourse – the exchange of meanings ininterpersonal contexts of one kind or another” (Halliday 1996:89). In other words, language isnot a code, which was the norm in the Paris school semiotics (Jewitt and Oyama 2001:134),but a “resource for making meanings” (Halliday 1978:192). Halliday provides a theoreticalframework to analyse the systemic functional grammar of language that will help understandthe meaning potentials of language (Jewitt 2009:29). This framework “recognizes that linguis-tic structures simultaneously function to represent experiences of the world, construct socialrelationships among the participants in discourse, and create text that is internally cohesiveand coheres with its context“ (Stillar 1998:14).The three metafunctions that construct this framework are: ideational, interpersonal, and tex-tual. The ideational metafunction deals with what goes on in the world: “Language has to in-terpret the whole of our experience, reducing the indefinitely varied phenomena of the worldaround us, and also of the world inside of us, the processes of our own consciousness, to amanageable number of classes of phenomena: types of processes, events and actions, classesof objects, people and institutions, and the like” (Halliday 1978:21).The interpersonal meta-function expands to employ the participants of the semiotic resource and how these partici-pants are related: “Language has to express our participation, as speakers, in the speech situa-tion; the roles we take on ourselves and impose on others; our wishes, feelings, attitudes, andjudgments” (Halliday 1978: 21). The ideational and interpersonal meanings need to be organ-ised into texts: “The resources of the textual function are used to structure the flow of infor-mation, link different parts of the text with one another, and link the text with its context (Stil-7
  16. 16. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010lar 1998:45).Later on Halliday’s linguistic approach has been modified and re-developed byvan Leeuwen, who adapts Halliday’s textual point of view and offers a framework wheremeaning functions are realised visually (Jewitt 2009:29).3.1.3. MultimodalityThe development within communication has realised that language alone is no longer themost significant mode of communication. Multimodality assumes that communication drawson the multiplicity of semiotic modes, which means that all “interactions are multimodal”(Norris 2004a:3). This means that gestures, postures, images, gazes, sounds, music, and verbalinformation– andthe interaction between them – contribute to creating meanings of commu-nication (Jewitt 2009:14). Multimodal concepts that address these interactions will be pre-sented in the following sections.3.1.3.1. Gunther Kress and Theo van LeeuwenAs mentioned above, Kress and van Leeuwen have expanded the social semiotic frameworkthat Halliday introduced to include an analysis of visual elements, and hence, developed themultimodal approach to semiotics.Kress and van Leeuwen’s work on visual communicationopened the door for multimodality and laid the groundwork for extending and adapting socialsemiotics across a range of modes, which has made the concept applicable to visual texts.Like Halliday, Kress and van Leeuwen identify the three metafunctions as ideational, interper-sonal, and textual.The ideational metafunction deals with “an array of choices, of differentways in which objects, and their relations to other objects and to processes, can be repre-sented” (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006:42). The interpersonal metafunction help clarify theinteractive elements in images by offering “an array of choices for representing different ‘in-terpersonal’ relations, some of which will be favoured in one form of visual representation,others in another” (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006:42). Lastly, the textual metafunction “makesa range of resources available: different compositional arrangements to allow the realizationof different textual meanings” (Kress and van Leeuwen 2006:43). By applying Kress and vanLeeuwen’s metafunctional framework in image analysis, the hidden meanings can effectivelybe brought out (Jewitt and Oyama 2001:154) and reshape the semiotic landscape (Kress andvan Leeuwen 2006:44). However, in order to analyse tele-filmic texts, Iedema’s elaboration on8
  17. 17. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010the three metafunctions is a vital tool to make meaning of the tele-filmic genre, and thereforerelevant in order to answer our hypothesis.3.1.3.2. Rick IedemaIedema continues Halliday’s, and Kress and van Leeuwen’s work on social semiotics andmetafunctions and takes it to the next level as he focuses his attention on tele-filmictexts.Iedema argues that in all meaning-making text,the three metafunctions can be used as a toolfor analysis (Iedema 2001:191). In other words, Iedema embraces the shift in modes that thecommunicative development has caused and provides a structure for analysis of tele-filmictexts. Iedema renames the three metafunctions:representation substitutes ideational, orienta-tion substitutes interpersonal, and organisation substitutes textual. “Representation consid-ers meaning insofar as it tells us about the world in some way…We talk about what meaningsrepresent visually, verbally, musically or sound-wise” (Iedema 2001:191). The representa-tional metafunction distances itself from the ideational, as it not only involves the images, butalso the music, sound, and verbal modes. “Orientation is to do with how meanings positioncharacters and readers-viewers” (Iedema 2001:192). The orientational metafunction drawson Kress and van Leeuwen’s reader-viewer structure. This leads to the organisational meta-function that concerns with“how meanings are sequenced and integrated into dynamic text”(Iedema 2001:192).Van Leeuwen offers a framework of linking devices that help organisetexts.3.1.3.3. Van Leeuwen’s Information LinkingHalliday, Kress and van Leeuwen, and Iedema emphasise the importance of organising themeanings in texts. Van Leeuwen has setup a relevant structure that helps clarify how the ver-bal, visual, and sound-wise information(meanings) is meaningfully linked (van Leeuwen2005:219), because “information can only be interpreted in the context of other pieces of in-formation and of specific communicative interest and purposes” (van Leeuwen 2005:219). Inother words, in order to understand the meaning of atext, every piece of information in thattext should be organised and linked appropriately (see appendix 2 for Linking Devices).Van Leeuwen provides an overview of verbal linking, visual linking, and visual-verbal linkingconnective devices. “Categories of verbal linking can be made explicitly by means of conjunc-9
  18. 18. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010tion” (van Leeuwen 2005:220). Depending on which conjunctions used in linear and non-linear texts, each texthas a purpose in the context in which it is placed. What is more interest-ing in this thesis is the linking devices applied in visual texts. Even though storytelling was,and still is, the dominant use in film medium, flashbacks, flash forwards and simultaneousevents have become often-used tools in tele-filmic texts (van Leeuwen 2005:227). There aretwo types of connections: “In the case of elaboration, it repeats or restates information forpurposes of clarification. In case of extension, it adds new information, linking it to the exist-ing information in a particular way – for example temporally, or logically” (van Leeuwen2005:222). Stöckl’s network of modes will be presented next.3.1.3.4. Hartmut Stöckl’s ModesIn order to clarify the level of multimodal modes, Stöckl’s network of modes provides aframework that emphasises the “idea that modes and sub-modes shift or blend (modeover-lapping)” (2004:9). The concept of modeoverlapping deals with how modes are intercon-nected in communication. Stöckl’snetwork of modes is neededin multimodal communication-because “mono-modal text has been an exception while the core practice in communicationhas essentially been multimodal all along” (Stöckl 2004:10). Stöckl’s framework involves twosensory channels: visual and auditory. These two categories are divided into four core modes:image, language, sound, and music (Stöckl 2004). This network of modes provides a frame-work that is applicable in multimodal analysis, which will help identify the modes and sub-modes in tele-filmic textsand therefore a relevant tool in this thesis. Social semiotics only un-covers one part of our thesis. Film theory concepts are also needed in order to gain a higherand more detailed understanding of our empirical data.3.2. Film TheoryIn order to analyse our fourcommercials, relevant film theories will also be applied. This in-cludes Kau’s notion on combination, separation, and penetration, van Leeuwen’s concept ofsoundscape, and Stigel’s discussion on voice-over.10
  19. 19. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20103.2.1. Edvin Kau’s Reflection on EditingEditing is a vital tool when constructing tele-filmic texts. However, according to Kau, “editing isnothing. Bits and pieces are combined, but the combining itself is an invisible way, an aes-thetic principle. It is this nothing that lets us see what is being combined in a certain way”(Kau 1998:1). Despite the fact that Kau presents editing as being nothing, he offers tools forcombining the shots and scenes within tele-filmic texts. The three meaning-making conceptsthat he proposes are separation, combination, and penetration. Separation is “fragmentationof a scene into single images in alternation – A,B,A,B,A,B, etc.” (Sharff 1982:6 in Kau 1998:2).Separation is powerful when the editor wants to create a closer relation between characters(Kau 1998:2). Combination deals with the “assembling or making wholes out of the material”(Kau 1998:1), whereas penetration binds shots together: “actions or things which penetratesfrom one shot to the other”(Kau 1998:5). Opposed to the everyday life, editing can help theeditor and the producer to create the exact perfect world that (s)he wants in order to com-municate the meanings of the tele-filmic text. Another important mode in the four commer-cials is sound, which is next to be discussed.3.2.2. Theo van Leeuwen’s Sound in PerspectivesAn elementary mode in tele-filmic texts is the sound mode. According to van Leeuwen, “everysemiotic mode can create relations between what is being presented or represented and thereceiver, the reader or viewer or listener of the message”(van Leeuwen 2006:179). In otherwords, a social relation can be established through the semiotic mode sound.In order to uncover the sound layers, van Leeuwen proposes three perspectives that catego-rise the sounds in a hierarchical order: figure is “the most important sound, the sound whichthe listener must identify with, and/or react to and/or act upon”, ground is “part of the lis-tener’s social world, but only in a minor and less involved way”, and field is “not in the lis-tener’s social, but in his or her physical world” (van Leeuwen 2006:187-188). It is importantto highlight that any sound can appear as figure, ground,or fieldas it all depends on the recipi-ent and his/her perception. Sound can also create social distance, for instance “when we areclose to people (literally and figuratively) we speak more softly than when we have a moreformal relation with them or speak to them in the context of a more formal occasion” (vanLeeuwen 2006:188). In addition, intimacy in sound can be created through a whisper, signify-11
  20. 20. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010ing that the participants areclose. On the contrary, informality can be established through yell-ing (van Leeuwen 2006:188-189). Another concept that establishes social relation is Stigel’snotion on voice-over, which will be dealt with next.3.2.3. Jørgen Stigel’s Voice-overVan Leeuwen and Stigel’s approaches correlate as they both explore the effect of sound intele-filmic texts. Stigel claims that media-borne communication and advertising have a com-munication problem (Stigel 2006). According to him in order to communicate, a dialoguemust be established in order “to not only speak at them, but also speak with them” (Stigel2001: 322). If the recipient is not treated as a participant in the communication, then the me-dia-borne communication is reduced to the level of information (Stigel 2001). Therefore, inorder to feel involved in the communication, it is essential for media-borne communication tocreate a relationship with the recipient, in which the recipient feels like being part of thesituation and as a result feels part of the communication. In traditional interpersonal commu-nication, “the parties and their physical and social context create a direct “space” around theconversation” (Stigel 2001:322). According to Stigel,media-borne communication has to estab-lish this “space” virtually in order to provide communication (2001). Voice-over is onemethod to help establish this virtual “space”. “The voice-over format is characterized by theowner of the voice either being invisible, i.e. solely represented as a voice, or represented indifferent ways… on the screen”(Stigel 2001:327).The voice-over serves as anchorage to the visual element, meaning “it speaks over and acrosswhat we see in the picture, and tries to dictate to us what we see on the picture level” (Stigel2001:340). Through the voice-over a “you” can be established on the screen. The voice-overcan make connection between what is said and the visual representation as well as engage therecipient to take part in the commercials. Besides influencing the recipient’s perception, thevoice-over also serves as a narrator to guide the recipient throughout the communicationwhich establishes communicative coherence.Multimodal and filmic theories cannot standalone in order to answer our hypothesis. Therefore, branding approaches also need to be in-cluded.12
  21. 21. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20103.3. Branding TheoryBranding originally emerged in the Wild West where cattle breeders marked their cattle byburning their hides in order to separate the affiliation of the cattle (Schultz et al. 2005). As amarketing tool, branding first gained ground in the late nineteenth century because of therising of the uncontaminated factory-fresh products (Olins in Schultz et al. 2000:52-53). TheAmerican Marketing Association first coined the term brand in 1960: “A name, term, sign,symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of oneseller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors” (Keller 2008:2).This definition limits to focus on the tangible associations of an organisation and implies thatan organisation constructs its brand, whereas today, a company’s brand is equally con-structed by its stakeholders (Jill 2009:355). Lately, “each expert comes up with his or her owndefinition, or nuance to the definition” (Kapferer 2004:9), which makes it difficult to present asingle, precise definition. Jill (2009:355), however, sums up 12 different definitions and gath-ers their common characteristics into a definition that transcend the original: “What theseresearchers have identified is that brands are a product of the work of managers who attemptto augment their products with values and associations that are recognised by, and are mean-ingful to, their customers” (Jill 2009:355). In other words, branding has developed from beingonly internally created to acknowledge that external factors influence the brand as well. Justlike the notion of branding has experienced a development over the last centuries, organisa-tions have also experienced a need to adapt their branding strategy accordingly.Effective branding has become a necessity for organisations in order to be on the cutting edgeof the competitive challenges faced by the companies, because it “…is becoming more appar-ent in many organisations, brands’ unique functional values can soon be understood by com-petitors, who are capable of not just emulating the functional advantage, but then surpassingit” (de Chernatony 2001:5). Differentiation is a vital tool for overcoming these challenges astoday’s organisations are more focused on branding their values oppose easy-to-copy productattributes. In other words, when communicating a brand, the organisation should not focussolely on product attributes if the brand wants to stand out differently compared to its com-petitors, because, as Kapferer (2004) states, “brands have two legs” (p. 61), hereby implyingthat brands should consider both value and product attributes when building a brand.13
  22. 22. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010This thesis will explore how Nike and Adidas build their brand strategy through brand per-sonality traits. Both Aaker’s Brand Identity System and Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism (ap-pendix 3) look into the use of brand personality as a dominant building block in organisations’brand strategies. “A brand personality can be defined as the set of human characteristics as-sociated with a given brand” (Aaker 2002:141). The uncovered personal traits will providevalue to brands, which will help the brand in building brand-customer relationship: “Abrand’s value proposition is a statement of the functional, emotional, and self-expressivebenefits delivered by the brand that provide value to the customer. An effective value proposi-tion should lead to brand-customer relationship and drive purchase decisions” (Aaker2002:95). These value propositions will eventually emphasise how Nike and Adidas commu-nicate their brand strategy differently.14
  23. 23. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20104. MethodologyChapter 4 will first of all explore and substantiate how the multimodal and branding theorieswill be applied in the thesis in order to answer our hypothesis and questions. Additionally, wewill discuss the relevance and strengths of the theories. Moreover, the reasons for transcrib-ing and analysing the empirical data as well as the strengths and weaknesses with this meth-odological approach will likewise be discussed.4.1. Interdisciplinary Theoretical ApproachIn order to answer our hypothesis and questions, we need to embrace several theories as nosingle theory can provide a comprehensive framework for the exploration of our multimodaldata. Furthermore, we need to ignore other approaches that cannot provide reliable tools fordemonstrating the hypothesis. Therefore, our thesis is two-folded: a multimodality section,which also includes film theory and a branding section.As figure 4.1 visualises, the ground-work of the thesis takes point of departure in social semiotics, more specifically multimodalsemiotics. Multimodality gives us the possibility to produce comprehensive account of thesemiotic modes as meaning-making systems and their interrelation. Additionally, this multi-modal approach will provide us with a common terminology for all the meaning-making re-sources that we intend to analyse. The multimodal findings will enable us to see the socialreality that Nike and Adidas construct and, as a result, reveal new layers of their brandingstrategy, which is the second part of the thesis.Iedema’s analytical method will constitute the framework of the multimodality section.Iedema’s multi-layered structure is relevant because it rests on the concepts from Halliday,and Kress and van Leeuwen, but at the same time the framework involves several modeswhich makes it applicable to tele-filmic texts. The fact that Iedema’s three metafunctions em-brace visual, verbal, music, and sound elements broadens the scope of the analysis. However,in order to analyse the representational, orientational, and organisational features of Nike andAdidas’ commercials, other concepts need to be involved to make it comprehensive. Further-more, due to Iedema’s focus on hospital documentaries, the study does not go into detailswith each mode which is necessary; instead, the method very well serves as an umbrellaframework because of its wide scope.15
  24. 24. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010The representational metafunction deals with what meanings are represented visually, ver-bally, musically or sound-wise. In order to go into depth with the representational modes andguide our analysis, Stöckl’s (2004:9) detailed network of modes will help visualise how modesand sub-modes shift or blend and mix in TV- and film-media. According to Stöckl, much focushas relied on singles modes in texts and not how they interact and are organised in text anddiscourse (2004:10). Stöckl’s network diagram thereby helps clarify how the different modesoverlap, which is very relevant in Nike and Adidas’ commercials. As a tool for analysing thesound mode of the commercials, van Leeuwen’s notion on soundscape will help clarify thehierarchical order of sounds, which will determine the role of the different sounds and theirimportance. Additionally, in order to uncover the hidden layers of the different modes, Kressand van Leeuwen (2006:105) offer symbolic processes where participants and objects signifytheir symbolic meanings.After having identified ‘what the world is about’, we will look into the reader-viewer relationthat the orientational metafunction embraces. Kress and van Leeuwen’s interpersonal meta-function offers a multimodal framework that is suitable for analysing the social realities of therepresented participants and viewer. This approach identifies the non-verbal communicativeinformation about the reader-viewer relationship such as the contact, social distance, and atti-tude(appendix 4). These findings will clarify how Nike and Adidas place themselves in thecommercials toward their audience. Opposed to Kress and van Leeuwen’s focus on reader-viewer relation, Kau offers concepts that put emphasis on the relationship between the repre-sented participants in a scene. The concept of separation is applicable to every commercial,especially in Nike’s Is Talent All It Takes?, where the ABABAformation structures the com-mercial and points to an important branding element. In the additional videos, the strategyplays a minor role, but helps construct a relation between the participants involved, which isimportant in meaning-making.The penetration concept will also be applied in “Is talent all ittakes?”.The two value commercials contain voice-over, which is asignificant feature in creatingreader-viewer relationship. The power of voice-over is that it “creates an atmosphere of fa-miliarity, intimacy, and mediation which acts as a connecting link between screen event andscreen viewer” (Stigel 2001:337). By exploring the voice-over format in the analysis, we gain16
  25. 25. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010an insight into the reader-viewer relation. Another theory that examines the role of sound andthe reader-viewer relation is van Leeuwen’s notion of soundscape. By introducing this theory,the sound is characterised through two other concepts: perspective and social distance.Through the perspectives on sounds, the sound elements enter a hierarchy and analyses thesounds that are interesting to the viewer and the context. The social distance categorises thedifferent degrees of formality – the volume of the voice defines the intimacy that the commer-cials create.The representational and orientational findings need to be organised into a cohesive text. VanLeeuwen discusses the arrangement of information in tele-filmic texts and offers a frameworkof connective devices that are applied in commercials to link shots/scenes and voices in a co-hesive manner. Another rhythmic feature that is relevant in the two value commercials is theuse of a narrator (Stigel 2001). This narrator functions as a cohesive guide throughout thecommercials, which in this way organises and structures the text. Moreover, Kau’s concept ofseparation is very relevant to apply in Nike’s “Is talent all it takes?”, as it organises the com-mercial.The discussion on the relevant multimodal and tele-filmic theories provides the foundation foranswering our first question: Which multimodal choices do Nike and Adidas employ in order tocommunicate their branding strategies? In order to analyse the second question: Which per-sonality traits are similar and different in Nike and Adidas product and value commercials?,concepts of branding need to be discussed.The second part of the thesis will concentrate on how Nike and Adidas build a brand strategythrough the four commercials. Aaker (2002) and Kapferer (2004) propose two similar per-spectives on how to accomplish this: Aaker’s Branding Identity System and Kapferer’s BrandIdentity Prism. These two perspectives bring together a broad framework that is very rele-vant when a brand is to build a brand identity. The empirical data accentuate that brand per-sonality is the most important building block in Nike and Adidas’ branding strategy, whichmeans that the organisations’ brand identity will solely be based on personality traits in thisthesis, despite the fact thatAaker (2002:78) and Kapferer (2004:111)argue that every per-spective should be considered.17
  26. 26. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010The strength of brand personality is that it can “help brand strategists by enriching their un-derstanding of people’s perceptions of and attitudes toward the brand, contributing to a dif-ferentiating brand identity, guiding the communication effort, and creating brand equity”(Aaker 2002:150). Brand personality contributes to differentiated brand identities and willtherefore function as a method of comparison between Nike and Adidas. In order to analysethe personality of Nike and Adidas, a tool for measuring the brand personality is needed: “thesame vocabulary used to describe a person can be used to describe a brand personality. Inparticular, a brand can be described by demographics (…), lifestyle (…) or human personalitytraits (…)” (Aaker 2002:142).Providing values to the customers is an effective and necessary way to establish brand-customer relationship and drive purchase decisions (Aaker 2002:95). Aaker (2002:95-102)offers three value propositions that help create this relationship: the functional, emotional,and self-expressive benefits. The empirical data indicates that every value proposition shouldbe applied, as the commercials are respectively value and product oriented. The functionalbenefit is “based on a product attribute that provides functional utility to the customer”(Aaker 2002:95). As noted before, this benefit often fails to differentiate a brand, Therefore,Nike and Adidas put even greater emphasis on the emotional and self-expressive benefits.Emotional benefit is “when the purchase or use of a particular brand gives the customer apositive feeling” (Aaker 2002:97), whereas self-expressive benefits provide “a way for a per-son to communicate his or her self-image” (Aaker 2002:99).The combination of the multimodal approaches and branding concepts will be the foundationfor answering our hypothesis and questions.18
  27. 27. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20104.2. Transcription and Analysis of DataThe theoretical framework discussed does not alone answer our hypothesis – empirical dataneed to be integrated as well. In our search for empirical data, our attention has surroundedthe respective websites of Nike and Adidas and both websites offer the most contemporarydata that the two organisations have produced. As we intuitively have realised that there is acomplex interplay of various persuasive strategies in the four commercials which seem todiffer according to main focus – product or values, the multimodal framework help us dividethe four commercials into scenes and shots. This approach will help create an in-depth analy-sis of every shot of the commercials, which will provide us with the best possible foundationfor analysing Nike and Adidas’ branding strategy. This is supported by the fact that the pro-fessional producers of the four commercials leave nothing to coincidences, which establishesmultimodality as a powerful analytical tool.19
  28. 28. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20104.3. StrengthsAlthough multimodality offers a powerful analytical tool for analysing texts, it could not standalone in this thesis. Therefore, a powerful strength of this methodology is the complexity oftheories. By combining multimodality, film theory, and branding, we are able not only todemonstrate the choices in the four commercials, but also to interpret them. This will eventu-ally help us answer of hypothesis.4.4. WeaknessesAs mentioned in the delimitations, this thesis focuses solely on the four football commercials.For this reason, Nike and Adidas’ brand strategy does not represent the entire organisation,but only the four commercials. Moreover, the combination of multimodality and branding isundiscovered, as not much work has been done within this territory.20
  29. 29. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20105. Multimodal AnalysisIn order to explore how Nike and Adidas promote their branding strategy differently throughproduct and value commercials, we will analyse four commercials that, through their complexmultimodal choices, express their brand strategy. The two product commercials are Nike’s“Master Accuracy. Hit The Target” and Adidas’ “The Spark”,and the two value commercials are“Is talent all it takes?” by Nike and Adidas’ “Chelsea FC – Every Team Needs The 12th Man”. Asalso stated in the delimitations, the analysis will only highlight the multimodal choices thatare relevant in order to answers our hypothesis and questions.5.1. Product commercialsFirstly, we will analyse the different multimodal choices applied in Nike’s “Master Accuracy.Hit The Target” and Adidas’ “The Spark”.5.1.1. Nike: Master Accuracy. Hit The Target2.The commercial first broke on the English TV program Soccer AM on 16 January 2010(Wieden + Kennedy 2010). As a part of the campaign, Nike launched a competition in Nike-Town London where fans and shoppers had the possibility to imitate Wayne Rooney’s(Rooney) accuracy. For these reasons, the target audience are sports enthusiasts in the UK,who would consider buying Nike football boots.5.1.1.1. RepresentationWe start by analysing the representational metafunction dealing with the meanings repre-sented visually, verbally, musically or sound-wise.5.1.1.1.1. VisuallyThe commercial includes two characters: Rooney and Fernando Torres (Torres), who repre-sent different cultures, abilities, and lifestyles, which attract a wide target audience. Rooney isknown for his will to win, determination, and his temperament, whereas Spanish born Torresis a cultural, flamboyant footballer(appendix 1). These deadly strikers know better than any-body else that accuracy is needed in order to score goals and do their job.2 Appendix 5: Transcription of ”Master Accuracy. Hit The Target”.21
  30. 30. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010The first scene establishes Rooney’s role as being ‘the chosen one’ for the job due to the light-ning and his position in the centre of the ‘hit the target’ logo. It also emphasises that Rooney isthe primary actor of the commercial. Besides his role as an actor, the target, the ball, and thedarkness offer a scene that connotes being on a shooting range, hence Rooney is here to hitthe target accurately. This visual intertextual blend between spatial dimensions of the shoot-ing rangeand the football game creates a new, unreal environment, in which this commercialtakes place.In this new reality, deadly lasers have replaced the goalkeeper. As Rooney realisesthat accuracy is needed to pass the virtual goalkeeper, several camera shots focus respectivelyon hitting the football and the sensory reactions from Rooney. This emphasises that focus isnot solely on the product in use, but also that concentration, balance, and technique areneeded in order to elegantly hit the target with accuracy. The lightning technique used onRooney’s lower body, the matching green colours (boot, grass, laser) connote the futuristicattributes of the boot, which makes the product the most salient object. Another dimension tothe product is established through the animated shots showing Rooney, whichimply that thefootball boots are not only useful for hitting a target, but they also provide flexibility andlightness to a footballer.Throughout the commercial, a relation between Rooney and the target is created. The shot ofRooney kicking the ball is followed by a shot of the target. This penetration editing strategyestablishes a close relationemphasising the challenging, futuristic atmosphere and the battlebetween men and machine. This corresponds very well with the competitive toughness thatRooney expresses when facing the virtual goalkeeper.Concurrently with Rooney hitting the ever-harder targets, a hooded figure (Torres) is intro-duced. Due to his clothes, elevated position, and role as a DJ it becomes clear that a new sceneand reality is created in which Torres dominates. Again, a visual intertextual blend between anightclub and a football environment creates a futuristic, edgy, and trendy environment. AsRooney avoids Torres’ obstacles, Torres not only recognises and acknowledges Rooney’s abil-ity (scene 12:shot 1), he is also surprised by his flair and technique (scene 14:shot 1). At theend, a green trance-like aura surrounds Rooney (scene 19:shot 2, 3), which depicts him as ‘thechosen one’ fully focused on the target. The dominating music plays a vital role in the com-mercial, which will be analysed subsequently.22
  31. 31. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 20105.1.1.1.2. MusicallyThe commercial makes use of the contemporary popular nightclub genre dubstep, whichoriginated in London in 1999 (Suite101 2009).16bit’s ‘Jump’ dominates this commercial’saudio track. The non-diegetic fast, edgy, and trendy music constantly changes between beingpositioned as figure and ground, but as the commercial continues, the music is positioned infigure except when the camera focuses on the lasers (e.g. scene 1:shot 25, 31). The genre ofthe background music, the tempo of the music, and the positioning of it in the commercial es-tablish the scenes in which the commercial takes place: a futuristic, trendy, edgy, and pulsat-ing nightclub atmosphere. In addition to the music, the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds helpexpress the electronic nightclub atmosphere.5.1.1.1.3. Sound-wiseAs just argued, the music dominates the audio track. However, several non-diegetic anddiegetic sounds appear as figure, ground, and field throughout the commercial. The elevatingnon-diegetic sound in scene 1:shot 2 emphasises the isolated and dark reality in which Rooneyis situated. In other words, the electronic, machine-like, emptiness sounds in the beginningcreate this uplifted, empty reality where machines seem to set the agenda. This is further sup-ported by the diegetic laser sounds that are positioned as figure every time the lasers appearin close-up shots and the diegetic empty, expectancy sound is positioned as figure or field. Thediegetic sounds enhance the reality, just like they serve to underline the action elements of thevideo. The lasers play a vital role sound-wise as the sound connotes passing the goalkeeperand overcoming the challenges that this elevated reality has set up for Rooney. The lack ofother sounds during the music implies that the lasers are the only obstacles Rooney has toovercome in order to succeed. It therefore comes down to the tough battle between men vs.machine/electronics and striker vs. goalkeeper.The representational findings emphasise the unreal, futuristic, nightclub atmosphere of the“Master Accuracy. Hit The Target” commercial. The commercial distinguishes between humanattributes and product attributes. Rooney expresses a calm, concentrated state of mind that isneeded in order to hit the ever-harder targets, whereas Torres’ flamboyant attitude serves tochallenge Rooney to do his absolute best. Because it is a product commercial, techniques such23
  32. 32. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010as lightning and colour similarities enhance the product supernaturally as the most salientaspect. Next will the relationship between viewer and participants be analysed.5.1.1.2. OrientationSecondly, the orientational metafunction helps us analyse how meanings position charactersand readers-viewers.5.1.1.2.1. VisuallyThe involving and challenging attitude is evidently one of the most dominating features of thiscommercial. This has also been applied in the aftermath of the campaign where Nike involvedand challenged people to enter the accuracy competition in NikeTown.Evidence that supports this attitude is the use of camera angles in the video. In the beginning,an unfocused Rooney kicks the ball like any other footballer (frontal angle and no eye contactscene 1:shot 9, 10), but as he realises that concentration and technique are needed in order toovercome the obstacle, the viewer becomes less involved and observes Rooney’s reality be-cause the viewer is currently not wearing the football boots and can therefore not performlike Rooney (e.g. scene 1:shot 20, 24, 29). Additionally, his concentration emphasise his de-termination and winning mentality. This high level of detachment is also utilised in the shotsfocusing on Rooney’s lower body – however, as mentioned in the representational metafunc-tion, the lightning technique makes the product stand out saliently. The salient football bootscreate awareness in the viewers’ mind, which elevates the level of involvement and thereforealso the level of promotional aspect of this product commercial.A detached Rooney continues to pass the virtual goalkeeper as the viewer realises that Torrescontrols Rooney’s reality. When dragged into Torres’ reality in scene 4, the oblique cameraangles on Torres continue connoting that the viewer is not in charge of Rooney’s obstacles –Torres is, just like in real life (See appendix 1).In addition to this Torres domination and the challenging element of the commercial, the useof separation editing visualises the relationship between Rooney and Torres. The shifting fo-cus creates a close relationship between the two characters; however, the viewer is still in-volved in Torres’ reality due to the frontal angle, close-up shot of Torres and the oblique angleof Rooney. The relationship is also emphasised through the horizontal angle. The low camera24
  33. 33. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010angle gives Torres power, whereas Rooney is positioned as an object of insignificance. Theexchange of gaze and the facial expressions between the characters emphasise the playful,provocative, challenging atmosphere that the video creates, which has been a dominating partof previous Nike campaigns such as Cage (Youtube 27 August 2005) and Men vs. Women(Youtube 18 March 2009).The viewer becomes part of Rooney’s reality again in the end (scene 19). In this realityRooney is going to overcome the new, tougher, almost impossible challenge and, because he ispositioned frontally and almost in an intimate relationship with the viewer, the viewer ishighly involved and encouraged to act on this challenge - the viewer just needs to purchasethe football boots. Rooney succeeds in overcoming the impossible challenge, which providesthe football boot with supernatural power.An important element that supports the low level of involvement is the lack of eye contact be-tween the viewer and the two characters. By creating no identification between viewer andcharacters positions Rooney and Torres as objects of contemplation. In other words, the twodeadly strikers are positioned as being in a focused, meditative state of mind. This is consis-tent with the greater emphasis on the characters’ focus on their targets rather than focus onthe insusceptiblesurroundings such as the teammates, the opponents, and the chanting crowd(scene 1:shot 9, 15, 24, scene 3:shot 2, 6, 8 etc.). Because the viewer closely witnesses how thetwo characters focus on their job, (s)heestablishes an intimate bond with Rooney and Torres.One dimension of the commercial that does create a high level of involvement is the context inwhich the footballers are situated. The inclusion of football in a futuristic, pulsating nightclubatmosphere creates together with Rooney and Torres’ casual clothes a familiar, recognisableenvironment that the target audience can relate to. This also makes it easy for the target audi-ence to relate to the product and in the end consider purchasing the football boots. Sound canalso be used to create viewer-participant relationship.5.1.1.2.2. Sound-wiseThe lack of voice-over puts great emphasis on the music and sound elements of the commer-cial. As mentioned previously, the music genre dubstep creates this pulsating nightclub envi-ronment that the target audience can easily identify with due to their demographical and psy-chological attitudes. Not only the genre establishes this close recognisable relation – the mu-25
  34. 34. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010sic’s domination and position as figure also creates identification that is needed in order forthe target audience to act on the commercial. At times throughout the commercial, the soundof lasers replaces the music’s position as figure, which then becomes ground. This shift of fo-cus makes the lasers stand out as even more important than the music. The penetrating, ex-plosive laser sounds are easily identifiable for the target audience, as craving for danger andchallenging their boundaries are seen as part of the target audience’s DNA. In connection tothe laser sounds, the machine sounds in scene 1 create a futuristic setting for Rooney and Tor-res, which goes well together with the nightclub environment.These orientational findings construct a discourse that the target audience can easily identifywith. Even though the viewer is mostly detached from the realities constructed, the intimatecamera shots and the emphasis on Rooney’s state of mind create a mental bond betweenviewer and character. The shift between high and low level of involvement creates a powerfulpersuasive commercial, which corresponds well with the fact that Nike wants to sell a prod-uct. This mental bond created between the viewer and Rooney expands the relation betweenproduct and characters, which creates a high level of product personification that is easy forthe target audience to relate to. How the representational and orientational findings are or-ganised will be analysed in the following metafunction.5.1.1.3. OrganisationThirdly, we will analyse how meanings are sequenced and integrated into a dynamic text.Extensive linking devicesare primarily utilised toorganiseand create a dynamic commercial.Each shot cuts to the next event, which, in the end, creates a narrative structure that providescohesion (e.g. scene 1:shot 22 to scene 2). The music supports the narrative structure as itguides the viewer throughout the commercial, only interrupted by a silent period. After thefairly silent beginning, the fast editing and the paced diegetic sounds release the music andrise of tempo concurrently with Rooney’s kick. The intensification not only turns up thetempo and rhythm, it also establishes the challenging atmosphere. As the commercial contin-ues, the editing seems to be adapted precisely to this piece of music. In the situations wherethe bass dominates the music, the target’s movement creates a feeling of hitting jackpot(scene 1:shot 26, 32, scene 3:shot 5), and when the music slows down, the editing slows downas well. This shifting rhythm underlines that in order to succeed focus, technique, and balance26
  35. 35. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010are required. Special effects are even added to the music when Torres draws a line on thetouch screen and the animation of Rooney. By applying this effect, it becomes evident that theinterplay between the music and the visual mode engages in the creation of a narrative,rhythmic commercial. In other words, the two modes complement each other making thecommercial an example of relay.In order to explore the similarities between the two organisations’ product commercials, Adi-das’ “The Spark” will be analysed next.5.1.2. Adidas: The Spark – F50i3The F50i campaign was launched on the greatest football scene of all, namely the Uefa Cham-pions league final 2009. It was afterwards launched in a variety of channels, including TV,across all regions from June the 6th onwards. “The Spark” commercial was part of a series offilms connecting the F50i shoe campaign with the campaign “Every Team Needs” (Adidas2009). Adidas primarily wanted to promote their football boots in this commercial, whichmakes the target audience football aficionados, who are interested in buying football bootsfrom Adidas.5.1.2.1. RepresentationThe point of departure in the analysis of “The Spark” commercial will be the representationalmetafunction, involving meanings that are represented visually, verbally, musically or sound-wise.5.1.2.1.1. Visually“The Spark” involves two main characters:Lionel Messi (Messi) and Zinedine Zidane(Zidane).Messi is a small footballer with deadly flair, speed, and team spirit, whereas Zidane is a re-spected football icon, who, in his playing days, represented a team oriented midfielder with asublime first touch and technique (appendix 1).The first scenes establish the location, namely Buenos Aires and the whole setup to the com-mercial. The setup uses traditional values, such as people in the streets celebrating their teambefore the match. Furthermore smoke, saturated colours, and aspects of film noir are applied3 Appendix 6: Transcription of ”The Spark”27
  36. 36. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010to emphasise these values.The last part of the setup uses the stadium as a depicted battleground, connoting similarities with the movie Gladiator (Scott 2000) and the coliseum withthe crowds in the stands, chanting for Messi to enter the arena.Messi stands in the dark playertunnel underneath the chanting crowd, but as the light is turned on, Messi is depicted as ‘thechosen one’ (scene 4 and 5), which signifies the comparison between Messi and a gladiator-preparing for battle.The introduction of the lighter and Messi is similar as both appear in the dark and as thelighter ignites,a connection between the lighter empowered by Zidane and Messi is created.Following this link is an introduction to Messi, who is first represented in a distance, but thenzoomed in upon. It is clear that he is in a calm, focused state of mind as he prepares himselffor the match with closed eyes. The last shot (scene 5:shot 5) sets up the next part in thecommercial namely the dream. Messi is so excited about the upcoming battlethat the viewer isinvited into his dream, visualised by the blurry intro to the next shot (scene 6:shot 5). Messi’sdream visualises how he will play/fight against his opponents only interrupted by shots ofZidane. First Zidane is seen from behind in the stands looking down on the football field fol-lowed by a shot looking up at Zidane in the gate of the stadium.Zidane’s position supports theinterplay between the gladiator Maximus (Messi) and Julius Caesar (Zidane), connoting thatZidane is in charge of selecting the spark for his dream team, hence the “Every Team Needs”campaign.Afterwards, the focus returns to Messi on the football field. The touch of the ball when hedribbles ignites the lighter in the following shot, which creates a belonging between Messi andthe lighter. Every time the lighter ignites, Messi gains even more speed and flair and performsbetter as a result (scene 9, 10). In connection with this interplay, Zidane is depicted asJuliusCaesar in the dark with his face lit up twice and a smoke ring appearing from the lighter(scene 19).The lighter is outside the visual frame, which signifies that Zidane has control overthe lighter and therefore control over Messi. Throughout the dream, Messi’s dribbles are con-nected with the moves of the gladiator and the F50i boots are his weapon, which gets himthrough the battlefield and conquers the empire. At last, Messi awakes and walks away withthe F50i boots crushing the floor, signifying Messi’s excitement and that this boot does not28
  37. 37. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010only have supernatural qualities in the dream, but also in real life. An element that assists thesupernatural dream, is the music applied in the commercial.5.1.2.1.2. MusicallyIn the commercial, the non-diegeticmusic is used as a mood setting element. The mood settingmusic is first presented when Messimentally prepares himself and continues in the dream.The music helps consolidate the focused state of mind of Messibefore and during the dreamby positioning the music infigure. The music constantly switches position with the diegeticsounds betweenfigure and ground, which enhances the realism of the commercial and be-comes a persuasive element. During the dream, the camera turns back to Messi in the playertunnel and the music is once again positioned as figure (scene 15:shot 1), signifying the con-nection between the dream and Messi’s mental preparation. The music fuses the dream andMessi’s preparation stage. This connotes that Messi’s abilities are almost reachable, at least ifyou buy the F50i boots. In connection to the realism of the commercial, the diegetic soundsare of high importance.5.1.2.1.3. Sound-wiseDiegetic sounds dominate this commercial, which enhance the realism of the “The Spark”. Thediegetic sounds of the fans’ cheering before Messi enters the field support the traditionalgladiator theme (scene 3:shot 5, scene 5:shot 1). Another important diegetic sound is thesound from the lighter. When the lighter ignites, it is positioned asfigure, leaving all othersounds out. The sound from the lighter also includes non-diegetic sound effects. The ignitioncreates sword and explosion sounds, which is connected with Messi’s sharp blade dribblesand his explosive speed. The interplay between the diegetic and non-diegetic sounds makesthe lighter very salient and supernatural and, due to the belonging between the lighter andMessi, Messi’s abilities also appear supernatural. During the dream, the diegetic sounds (drib-bling, tackles and cheering) enhance the realism of first of all Messi abilities, but also thescene even though it is a dream. This supports the realism of the F50i’s qualities.Overall the representational findings draw upon traditional elements, such as the sta-dium/arena, and the fans’ cheering for the gladiator/Messi. The mood setting non-diegeticmusic fuses thesupernatural dream stage withMessi’s subverting preparation stage, which29
  38. 38. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010enhances the realism of the commercial as a powerful persuasive tool. In addition, the diegeticsounds support the realistic qualities of Messi and the football boots. Furthermore, Messi isdepicted as a main character with the camera always catching his movements when fightinghis way through his opponents, which provide the boots with supernatural abilities. The rela-tionships in the commercial will be expanded in the following section.5.1.2.2. OrientationThe orientational metafunction will help clarify the relationship between the characters andthe viewer. The commercial uses well known faces inside the world of football, and by doingso the commercial has a clear connection to its target audience.5.1.2.2.1. VisuallyThe high level of involvement and dynamic are two of the central elements of the commercialproviding the commercial with persuasive elements. When Messi stands frontally in theplayer tunnel, the high level of involvementestablishes Messi as part of our reality (scene5).This high level of involvement clarifies that Adidas wants the viewer to be involved withMessi, since Messi is the carrier of Adidas’ message and product.As Messistands in the player tunnel(scene 5), the commercial uses a wide variety of shots tocreate social distance, moving from a long shot, to medium shot, to a close-up shot, and back toa medium shot. The first part of the scene moves from a long shot closer to a close-up shot ofMessi. This part creates intimacy and personification as the viewer can almost touch Messiand his face becomes tactile. This personification is supported by the eye level angle of theshot signifying equality between Messi and the viewer. Hereby, the viewer is invited intoMessi’s world, and Messi moves away from his normal untouchable status as a football star.The lack of eye contact with Messi establisheshim as an object of contemplation, meaning thatthe viewer witnesses Messi’s mental preparation and the transition to his dream. This shift ofinvolvement does not only make Messi more reachable, it is also a powerful persuasive strat-egy that involves the viewer to act on the commercial.The second character Zidane is towards the end of the commercial presented in a frontal an-gle(scene 19), which creates involvement between the viewer and Zidane. Furthermore, thelow anglemakes him powerful and imposing, which results in positioning Zidane as the man in30
  39. 39. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010charge. The last element of this shot is the absence of gaze making Zidane an object of con-templation. The shot connotes that we should be involved with Zidane, but we are not at thesame level as him (scene 7:shot 1-2, scene 19) because he is looking for talents to his team(“Every Team Needs”) emphasising the team spirit aspect.A large contribution of involvement is also provided by the use of the dream, as a dream isnormally personal. Therefore, being part of a Messi’s dream connects a strong tie betweenMessi and the viewer. The viewer is positioned so close to Messi that we see his dream in de-tails.Because the product is part of his dream and the way it has been made salient, the prod-uct therefore appears special. The connection between the boot and Messi personifies theproduct and the viewer is persuaded to act on this product personification. This dream-likeflash-forward seems supernatural because the viewer is involved in the fundamentally impos-sible dream, which corresponds very well with Adidas’ slogan “Impossible is nothing”.Another form of involvement and dynamic is the handheld camera utilised in parts of thecommercial. The handheld camera often follows the rhythm of the opponent defenders asthey are tricked by Messi’s stunning technique. This type of camera technique gives the senseof the viewer being present on the field. It is especially noticeable in the dream, when Messidribbles down the field, that the camera usesclose-up shots of Messi’s body, legs, as well as theproduct to add action. The interplay between Messi and the product is closely followed andfocused upon (scene 8, 10, 12, 14 etc.) making the product an irreplaceable component forMessi’s ability to fight his way throughhis opponents. This is also supported in the last part(scene 21:shot 2) as Messi walks onto the field, where the entire focus is on the f50i boots,which again emphasises the importance of the supernatural product. Generally, this high levelof involvement gives the viewer the interpretation of actively participating. Another way ofestablishing relationship is through the sound mode.5.1.2.2.2. Sound-wiseThe absence of voice-over places much emphasis on the non-diegetic music and thediegeticsounds. The music is as described used to launch as well as add dimension to the dream. Themusic is first positioned in figure, but during the dream it moves between the role of figureand ground, which makes the commercial persuasive. Additionally, by positioning the musicin figure, the music involves the viewer intoMessi’s dream. The diegeticsounds create a sense31
  40. 40. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010of reality in the commercial, for examplethe atmosphere created by the fans’ cheering. Next,the mix of non-diegetic and diegetic soundsof the lighter points toits significance and the factthat it is salient. When the sound from the lighter is launched, it positions itself in figure leav-ing all other sounds out. In addition, the diegetic sounds in Messi’s dream (dribbling, tackles,and cheering) also enhance the realism of the commercial. These diegetic sounds help positionthe viewer in Messi’s dream reality, which creates a high level of involvement for the viewer.Overall, a high involvement relationship between Messi and the viewer is established.Firstly,Messi is humanised through the frontal, close-up shots and the fact that the viewer is involvedin Messi’s personal dream. Secondly, the diegetic sounds of the fans, touching of the ball andthe lighter that are made most salient to the viewer, create a sense of realism that are easilyidentifiable for the target audience.The high involvement and the handheld camera positionthe viewer on the football field, which encourage the target audience to actively participate.How the representational and orientational findings are organised will be analysed in the fol-lowing metafunction.5.1.2.3. OrganisationThe organisational metafunction will help us analyse how meanings are sequenced and inte-grated into the commercial. The structure of the commercial is formed by extensive devices,where a shot is cut from one shot to the next event (scene 6-16, 18-22), which creates a narra-tive cohesive structure linking the commercial together as a cohesive unit. A normal narrativestructure would have a straight and linear time structure, but in this commercial flash-forward is used to represent future events. Messi’s visualisation of the game emphasises hisexcitement of playing football, which the viewer can involve and identify with. The viewerthereby realises that even international footballers feel excited and are dedicated to everygame and every move. In addition to the involvement, the shots of the dream constantlychange between including sounds, slow motion, pace, flexibility, and the lighter’s presence,which create a captivated, persuading, dynamic dream for the viewer to engage in.A cohesivedevice is the light blue colour of the Argentinean shirt, the boots, and the foot-ball,which are represented through Messi in the commercial. As these products are producedby Adidas, Messi’s world-class abilities mirror Adidas’ brand. Lastly, the music helps the32
  41. 41. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010viewer to involve in the dream until Messi “awakes” and walks out. In this way the music andsounds function as means of relay contributing to the images of the commercial.In order to contribute to Nike and Adidas’ branding strategy and ensure that they stand onboth legs, value commercials also need to be included in the analysis.5.2. Value commercialsThe second dimension of our multimodal analysis includes the value commercials: Nike’s “Istalent all it takes?” and Adidas’ the “12th Man”.5.2.1. Nike: Is talent all it takes?4This viral marketingcommercial “Is talent all it takes?”was launched by Nike in 2009 to pro-mote their values. The video was launched on YouTube, Facebook, as well as on major sportsblogs and news websites worldwide, generating tens of thousands of views and creating de-bate on the topic of talent (Boondoggle cited 2010). The “Is talent all it takes?” commercialwas launched as part of the “MAKE THE DIFFERENCE” campaign to support and provide focustowards the “Nike Football Elite Training Program”, where the user of Nike’s product can goto their website and get inspired by training drills performed by worldwide known footballstars. In that sense, Nike encourages people to “GET SERIOUS. GET TO WORK”. The target au-dience of the commercial are football enthusiasts, as well as people passionate for Nike.RepresentationThe point of departure of the analysis will be the representational metafunction, involvingmeanings that are represented visually, verbally, musically or sound-wise.VisuallyTwo characters dominate the commercial, namely Vincent Kompany (Kompany) and MoussaDembélé (Dembélé). The two characters have the common ground of both being young tal-ented Belgian international football players. Their values as players are slightly different asKompany is a powerful defender and Dembélé is a flamboyant forward (appendix 1). Never-theless, the commercial depicts both players to have the shared value of hard work.4 Appendix 7: Transcription of ”Is talent all it takes?”33
  42. 42. Mads Nørgaard Hansen and Dennis Gade Pedersen BA Thesis 2010As viewers we are first presented to Kompany and Dembélé, who are situated in two separatelocker rooms. Connecting these two players is the interplay between shots, for instance, asKompany breathes in, Dembélé breathes out (scene 1,2). This interplay is used in generalthroughout the commercial, for example if Dembélé runs right, Kompany runs left. This inter-play connects the two participants as being in the same hardworking situation. This techniqueunderlines that Kompany and Dembélé represent hard work and toughness but at the sametime, the interplay generates an individual, competitive atmosphere. The commercial uses atraining ground as a platform for the commercial, hereby showing the backside of the coin,namely that hard work is needed before a footballer can enter the flashy stadiums around theworld.The centre of attention is especially placed upon the individual struggle and the strenuousexercises that they perform, implying that talent is not enough – ahardworking mentality ex-uded by the two characters is needed to reach a higher level. To support this, the two charac-ters are depicted alone as if their teammates have already finished for the day. The two play-ers’ individual strenuous extra effort is visualised by close-up shots of Kompany and Dem-bélé’s faces (scene 5,6), signifying that in order to be a professional football player, one mustgive a 110%.Throughout the commercial a football goal is depicted symbolising that football goes beyondscoring goals. The football goal is usedby Kompany as part of a training drill (scene 9:shot 2)and removes it from its normal context, signifying that he has found a new purpose for it. Therepresentational visual findings connote the overall message: talent is not enough – one mustbe hardworking and tough to succeed. Next, the use of verbal information in the commercialwill be taken into analysis.VerballyA male voice-over narrator is used to guide the viewer through the visual elements of thecommercial. However this is not an ordinary voice-over as it subverts the visual images.Thevoice-over is left out in the first part of the commercial, which gives the viewer time to inter-pret the hardworking characters’visual representation before the voice-over creates this sub-verted interpretation. For instance, the first statement: “If you have got talent, you can just sit34

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