SmartPak's Smart Advertising

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SmartPak's Smart Advertising

  1. 1. SmartPak’s Smart Advertising Cortney Copeland Coms 100B: Peterson 4/20/2011
  2. 2. Behold… the Artifact! Tacking up: getting horse ready to ride. Clinic: Intensive lessons from visiting professional. Missing shoe: Big problem! Supplements: Cost an arm and a leg, one more thing to do- but your horse will feel great! Two text/image blocks, each in three parts. Horseshoe image stands in for word, is largest image on page. Lots of white space, centered alignment. Bottom: paragraph instead of blocks, left aligned instead of centered, blue instead of white, factual instead of hypothetical.
  3. 3. Okay… some context please?  SmartPak Equine: Equine supplement company with free shipping of supplements packaged in daily doses.  Practical Horseman: One of AIM Media’s 11 equestrian magazines, targeted to avid, competitive English equestrians. Hey look! That’s me!
  4. 4. SmartPak Equine: One of us Started by horsewoman with a business degree Promotes friendly insider image Website states: “Founded by riders and horseowners for riders and horseowners” SmartPak founder Becky Minard with business partners and horse, Wesley. From article in Dressage Today.
  5. 5. Practical Horseman- more like Hardcore Horseman! 90% of subscribers are intermediate, advanced, or professional riders Magazine features a regular column by George Morris, Chef d’Equipe of the USEF Show Jumping Team, monthly features on winning professionals, competition advice, and detailed training exercises. Articles as well as advertisements all emphasize improving performance and being a successful rider or horseperson. It is not light reading!!
  6. 6. So what you’re telling me is…  Claim: SmartPak’s advertisement is highly effective because it creates a dramatic narrative and deeply appealing argument, tightly targeted to its audience but with an underlying universal appeal.  Don’t just take my word for it- Walter Fisher and Stephen Toulmin are backing me up on this!
  7. 7. Fisher’s Narrative Paradigm  Stories are a means of reasoning.  Narrative probability + Narrative fidelity = Narrative rationality  In other words: Coherence + Meaningfulness = Narrative rationality. Narrative Rationality Narrative Probability Narrative Fidelity Characterological Coherence Material coherence Structural Coherence Comparison to life experiences and ideal standards of conduct Values Consequences Relevance
  8. 8. Toulmin’s Model of Argument Data So, (Qualifier) Claim Since Warrant Unless Rebuttal Because of Backing  Fisher himself considers the Toulmin model a way of assessing narrative rationality, because we accept the message of stories based on the quality of their warrants, or good reasons.
  9. 9. How does this apply to that horseshoe ad? D: Many things can unexpectedly go wrong at the barn D: SmartPak’s monthly supplement ensures that one less thing can go wrong. C: Ordering from SmartPak Equine will increase peace of mind. W: Having one less thing to worry about increases peace of mind. D: Your horse is missing a shoe. Oh no! Not another unforeseen disaster!! Wow SmartPak, you’ve got a point! Thanks for being there for me, SmartPak! Now I can move on to bigger issues…
  10. 10. But wait- there’s more!  SmartPak’s claim is deeper than it seems to be… peace of mind is broader than just supplements and intact horseshoes.  In fact, the narrative is all messed up- the problem of the missing shoe is never even solved!  This is a break from classical narrative, in which conflict escalates until the advertised product solves it.  Unless, of course, the conflict is not actually the missing shoe, but something deeper… *gasp!!!*
  11. 11. “At the barn, sometimes all you can do is expect the unexpected.” My horse Topper died suddenly before he was even 4 years old, despite being perfectly healthy when I rode him the day before. My friend’s horse China is still recovering from these injuries sustained in a trailering accident.
  12. 12. “If you want one thing you can always count on, order your horse’s supplements in SmartPaks.”  The narrative is messed up for a reason- the missing shoe isn’t the real conflict, and SmartPak acknowledges that it cannot solve it.  The real conflict is the problem of uncertainty- no matter how dedicated we are to our horses, we cannot guarantee their health or safety.  We can guarantee their supplements though. SmartPak gives us just a little more control over our horses’ wellbeing. It is at least something we can rely on.
  13. 13. To wrap it up…  SmartPak’s advertisement uses narrative form to create a vivid and familiar situation, making for strong narrative probability.  The ad’s narrative fidelity is strong because of SmartPak’s insider identity and its appeal to the values of Practical Horseman’s readership.  This narrative is part of a Toulmin-style argument, the claim of which is that buying SmartPak supplements increases certainty and peace of mind.  This claim is the warrant, or good reason, for buying the product. It is highly motivating because it appeals to the deep human desire for certainty, particularly as it applies to our beloved (and accident-prone) horses.
  14. 14. If I were to do more research on this, I’d look into visual theory, as well as the relationship between advertising and values. But I’ll probably be spending my time with Zemo instead. He’s cuter and fuzzier. Happy trails everybody!

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