Styles and stylistic elements in advertising george rossolatos

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Styles and stylistic elements in advertising George Rossolatos http://grossolatos.blogspot.com/

Styles and stylistic elements in advertising George Rossolatos http://grossolatos.blogspot.com/

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  • 1. An overview of styles and stylistic elements in advertising George Rossolatos ( [email_address] , www.grossolatos.com ) 24-10-2011
  • 2. W hat is the purpose of advertising?
      • To create positive, differentiating, relevant, credible brand related associations in consumer memory, leading to
      • positive brand related attitudes
      • that have a tangible effect on consumer choice
      • thus enhancing the probability of resulting in sales
      • Advertising (and brand communications in general) are responsible for the creation and maintenance of brand meaning
  • 3. What is style?
      • The manner of expression in writing or speaking
      • The set or sum of linguistic features that seem to be characteristic whether of register, genre or period
      • What makes styles distinctive is the choice of items, their distribution and patterning Encyclopedia of stylistics
      • The order in the movement of a train of thought Guiraud, La Stylistique
      • Stylistics, the discipline in charge of studying style, is popular in both literary and non literary research fields, such as advertising
  • 4. Why style matters in advertising?
      • Advertising style not only furnishes unique structural elements to an ad text, but also registers unique relations among elements
      • Advertising style creates unique pathways in memory and differentiating brand related associations
      • Advertising style creates a differential brandscape in consumer memory
        • «Meanings of the commodity are not inherent in the products themselves; they are generated by the producer’s discourse about the product» Noeth, The sign nature of the commodity
  • 5. Why style matters in advertising?
      • It minimizes competitive threat
      • It maintains brand saliency – top-of-mind in consumer choice (ad stimuli are translated into brand cues in consumer memory)
      • Any two brands competing in the same category may have the same positioning , eg the same signified or concept
        • Differentiation occurs at the level of the signifier
        • In fact, the signifying relationship between the signifier and the signified is overturned occasionally in the context of an advertising message (eg Beans means Heinz, as against the signifier Heinz meaning the signified/concept Beans) Williamson, Decoding advertisements
  • 6. Does style affect meaning?
      • Two opposing perspectives:
        • key brand meaning (depth structure or core semantic structure) is unaffected by stylistic variations (surface structure or ad narrative) (the Greimasean approach)
        • even the slightest stylistic variation affects meaning (eg Rifatterre)
  • 7. What is style as structure?
      • Style is perceived in a Gestalt (=sum greater than parts) fashion, but slight changes in the underlying structure can have massive changes in the Gestalt
      • «The word structure refers to the fact that signs relate to each other in specific and easily recognizable patterns, just like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle» Danesi, Interpreting advertisements
  • 8. Why surface structure elements of an ad narrative are important in shaping brand meaning?
      • Meaning is not generated solely through verbal discourse and brand memory is not shaped only in terms of verbal signs
      • Figurative language in different registers (visual, sonic) is not only equally important, but perhaps more salient than verbal discourse
      • The synaesthetic potential of different advertising stimuli (ie power to connote meaning alongside different registers at the same time- A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS)
      • Ads are not processed only cognitively, but also affectively «Communication never just ‘communicates’, ‘represents’and expresses, it also always and at the same time affects us» Leeuwen&Kress, Multimodal Discourse
  • 9. W hat is the relationship between style of advertising execution, behavioral responses and attitudinal shifts?
      • The same as literary style: different styles for different communication objectives
      • The aim is not only to communicate rational claims about a brand, but also to build long term emotional associations
      • The effects of different execution styles vary based on their short, medium long term orientation, eg
        • S hort term: informative style- special offers – direct call to action
        • Long term: affective advertising,
      • Styles are not mutually exclusive- there are mix and match approaches
  • 10. ADVERTISING STYLES
  • 11. Key ad execution stylistic typologies (I)
    • Just like different literary text styles (epic, drama, comedy) and rhetorical styles (eg epideictic, panygeric), different advertising styles:
      • Humorous (eg Famous Grouse)
      • Anthropomorphism (eg Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger)
      • Cartoon (eg Mr Muscle)
      • Informational (eg ALDI)
      • Call to action (eg Spar)
  • 12. Key ad execution stylistic typologies (I)
      • Cinematic narrative (eg Martini)
      • Endorsement (celebrities, eg Nespresso)- features and values transfer between the endorser and the brand (Noeth, Semiotics of Advertising Reader, p38)
      • Non existing human figures representative of ideal target group (eg Betty Crocker) – BETTY CROCKER IS AN INDEXICAL SIGN OF THE TARGET GROUP PROJECTED BY THE BRAND PERSONA (Noeth)- consumers actually believed she existed
      • Testimonial
      • Value branding – capitalizing on wider societal value and belief systems (eg Axe latest ad or Nike classic ad capitalizing on the dialectic between good and evil)
  • 13. Key stylistic typologies (III)
      • Shock (eg Outpost, Benetton)
      • Brand personification (also a very popular mktng research technique) – (eg Mac/PC Integrated campaign)
      • Surrealistic (eg Campari)- brand as transformative lens of reality (eg Absolut, Silk Cut)
        • B rand milieu / brand mediated social space over natural space
      • Buzz/excitement – pure surface structural play among signs
  • 14. Key stylistic typologies (IV)
      • Realistic
        • R epresenting consumers in «real life» settings (eg Dove)
      • Historical / trans-generational
        • E specially for brands with strong heritage (eg Hovis )
      • Emotional/affective (visuals with natural landscapes, mothers with babies, scenes portraying caring husbands, etc) ESP POPULAR WITH CORP ORATE RESP ONSIBILITY ADS (eg Deutsche Bank)
  • 15. Betty Crocker’s changing «iconic sign» over the years in tandem with changing fashion codes / social stereotypes
  • 16. «Mac/PC» brand personification Danesi, Brand Image The «PC vs Mac» campaign is a striking example of Saussure’s position that langue is a system made of differences and oppositions; P.Kotler «brands do not compete in a void»
  • 17. Pros and cons of each stylistic typology
      • Humour (+)
        • attention grabbing
        • ability to create positive attitudes
      • Humour (-)
        • wears out quickly/need for use of different themes
        • positive attitude about the ad, but not necessarily about the brand (high risk of low correct association between ad execution and brand)
        • increasing production costs due to need for multiple executions
  • 18. Pros and cons of each stylistic typology
      • Informational (+)
        • suitable especially for products characterized by high degree of technicality (need for explanation over and above generation of excitement)
      • Informational (-)
        • too much information dilutes attention
        • does not stand out in a reel with figuratively rich commercials (lost in the clutter)
  • 19. W hat is the relationship between style of advertising execution and attitudinal shifts?
      • The same as literary style: different styles for different communication objectives
      • The aim is not only to communicate rational claims about a brand, but also to build long term emotional associations
      • The effects of different execution styles vary based on their short, medium long term orientation, eg
        • S hort term: informative style- special offers – direct call to action (direct impact on purchase behavior)
        • Mid to Long term: affective style (indirect impact on purchase behavior through impacting on attitude formation)
      • Styles are not mutually exclusive- there are mix and match approaches (rational claims + affective audiovisual elements)
  • 20. STRUCTURAL STYLISTIC ELEMENTS IN ADVERTISING
  • 21. Intended effects of different stylistic registers (modalities)
      • Meaning is not generated solely through verbal discourse and brand memory is not shaped only in terms of verbal signs
      • Figurative language in different registers (visual, sonic) is not only equally important, but perhaps more salient than verbal discourse
      • The synaesthetic potential of different advertising stimuli (ie power to connote meaning alongside different registers at the same time)
        • «senses are intermodal; T hey mesh in the act of perception and sign interpretation» Danesi, Interpreting ads
      • * registers according to Barthes, modalities according to Kress & Leeuwen
  • 22. What are the key stylistic elements in an ad execution?
      • T one of voice (with regard to either verbal elements or the overall «feel» of the execution)
        • Barthes’ grain of the voice: the mode of utterance overdetermines the semantic content
        • Effecting meaning closure in the audiovisual sequence, avoidance of polysemy- anchoring meaning in salient stimuli/shots by adding emphasis
      • Actors (where involved) – casting
      • Music (central or background)
      • Garments
      • Fonts/colors
      • Kinematic elements: gestures, facial expressions and proxemics
      • Narrative form (eg dialogic between actors, impersonal – voice-over / narrator)
      • Shots and motion sequencing, montage (key shots selection- each shot consists of 24 frames)
  • 23. What are the key structural components of advertising style? Schmitt et al, Mktng Aesthetics
  • 24. «Rules of thumb» regarding the effects of key structural components of advertising style- Visual signs
      • Shapes
        • Square shapes are associated with masculinity, dynamism, conflict
        • Round shapes are associated with harmony, softness, femininity
        • Symmetry connotes balance
      • Color
        • Saturation and brightness influence our perceptual experience of physical properties
      • Typeface
        • Tall, narrow letters seem elegant
        • Narrow, full letters seem friendly
  • 25. Rhetorical figures as stylistic elements in advertising – aids to ad/brand recall
      • A rhetorical figure is an artful deviation (Corbett)
      • Two main types of rhetorical figures, schemes and tropes
        • A figure in the schematic mode occurs when a text contains excessive order or regularity, while a figure in the tropic mode occurs when a text contains a deficiency of order or irregularities (Mick & McQuarrie)
      • Analogical representation is a frequently used method – effecting emotional associative transfers between nature and society (eg just like a koala takes care of its babies BY NATURE so WE , AS A BANK, TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S FIRST ACCOUNT)
  • 26. Verbal signs - Indicative rhetorical figures
      • Metaphor
        • Metaphor compares two unlike things to imply that the qualities of the second object should be attributed to the first object, even though these qualities are not literally applicable
        • Example: Esso «Put a tiger in your machine»
      • Metonymy
        • Metonymy designates an object by something closely associated with it-- a particular instance, property, characteristic, or association
        • Example: Coca-Cola’s “The pause that refreshes”
      • Synecdoche (a special subtype of metonymy)
        • Synecdoche substitutes a part for a whole (e.g., “blossoms” for flowers), the material for the product (e.g., “tins” for canned goods)
  • 27. Verbal signs - Indicative rhetorical figures
      • Alliteration
        • Alliteration/chime repeats the same consonant sound in the initial position in three or more subsequent words or the majority of the words with alliteration
        • Example: “ F ight Your F ear. Introducing F osamax”
      • Pun (wordplay)
        • P uns repeat a single word, but with different meanings each time or using a word with different meanings
        • Example: Fisher Peanuts’ “Who’s the nut that left out the MSG?”
      • Ellipsis
        • Ellipsis/aposiopesis deliberately omit words. The omission is readily implied by the context with ellipsis , but the audience must discover or self-generate missing information that is not readily implied with aposiopesis.
        • Example: “57 varieties are made by Heinz, only 5 by Hunts.”