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English 3201: Media Strategies


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Video illustrating media/advertising strategies for my English 3201 class.

Published in: Education, Business, Technology
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English 3201: Media Strategies

  1. 1. •Most people believe advertising doesn’t influence their choices … yet advertising is a multi-million dollar business. •Businesses spend money on advertising because IT WORKS! •Advertising influences us to buy products even when we don’t realize we’re being influenced. •All advertising works on the basic principle of making us WANT something, even if we don’t NEED it.
  2. 2. •Often, there’s no logical reason to purchase one product over another. Advertisers use a variety of strategies to convince consumers to buy their product or service. •These techniques aren’t just used by advertisers trying to sell a product. They’re also used by non-profit and government agencies who want to promote a particular message. •Media strategies are ways to get people to pay attention to your message and/or your product.
  3. 3. Sex Appeal Advertisers use many different techniques to convince people to buy their products. For example: SEX. The suggestion is clear: buy the suit; get the sexy girl. Watch the video that follows and see if you can figure out what product it’s selling.
  4. 4. Did you get it?  It was selling watches. Notice how often the video includes a close-up on the watches people are wearing while they’re getting busy with what appear to be sexy strangers.
  5. 5. Sex in Advertising can be Controversial …
  6. 6. American Apparel has been criticized for using semi- nude models who appear to be underage girls … …although the company claims all the models are actually over 18.
  7. 7. Sex Appeal  There’s no doubt that “sex sells,” making a product appear “sexy” or attractive even when there’s no logical connection between the product and sexuality.  However, advertisers have to be careful about when, where and how they use sex in advertising, as it can create a backlash.  Much depends on how the ad is perceived by the target audience – for example, an ad that is appealing to teenage boys may be seen as very offensive by their mothers., who may be the ones spending the money.  Advertisers also need to be aware of community standards – for example, female nudity is acceptable in TV ads in Europe, but not in North America.
  8. 8. Humour Advertisers know that consumers are aware of vague claims and similar tricks. Ads may make fun of these claims to make us laugh, as with this ad for “New” Shreddies. Amazingly, this ad actually WORKED to increase sales of Shreddies – and won a major advertising award.
  9. 9. Humour in advertising can have the effect of making a product more memorable and giving consumers positive associations with the product … as with another ad that revitalized interest in an older, “classic” product and became a viral YouTube sensation …
  10. 10. Emotional Appeals The use of sex appeal and humour in ads is closely linked to the use of emotional appeals – connecting the cause or product to things we feel strongly about. Are you proud to be a Canadian? Do you love your country? Watch the following video …
  11. 11. I don’t even drink beer and this ad makes me want to buy Molson (well, kind of). That’s the beauty of emotional appeals. If beer doesn’t do it for you, maybe coffee will. Watch the video that follows for another twist on the “products Canadians love” concept.
  12. 12. See how emotional appeals work?  The Molson “I Am Canadian” ad, and the Tim Horton’s “Welcome to Canada” ad don’t give any factual information to convince you that Molson is better than other beers, or that Tim’s products are better than those of other coffee shops.  Rather, the ads work by associating the product with something most people already feel positive about – their country.  In the case of the Molson ad, humour is also used, and in the Tim Horton’s ad, there’s an additional emotional appeal to the love of family as we see the family reunited after being apart.
  13. 13. Advertisers don’t just use sex, humour and patriotism…  Advertisers will use images of people having fun at parties, beautiful landscapes, babies, puppies …  …even if these things have NO connection to the product they’re selling.  Positive images become connected in our minds with the produce that’s being sold.  For example, the use of cute or cartoon characters is a kind of emotional appeal that makes us associate the product with the positive feelings we have for the character portrayed.
  14. 14. So we see kittens used to sell toilet paper, and a fun cartoon captain selling cereal Soft, white and fluffy, sure … but do you want to wipe your butt with a cat? “Ahoy, kiddies! Let’s set sail for the magical land of Type 2 Diabetes!”
  15. 15. With all these kinds of appeals…  …the point is, advertisers don’t want you to think about it too much.  They work to create a positive association with their product, and hope that you’ll enjoy the positive feelings without analyzing the connection too closely.  Advertisers aren’t the only ones to use emotional appeals, and emotional appeals aren’t always positive.
  16. 16. Notice these two different uses of emotional appeals Ads for beer and alcohol often use positive images of fun with friends. This public service ad by MADD uses that idea to create a different emotional impact.
  17. 17. A public service message might even choose to target a specific advertisment …
  18. 18. This parody of a cigarette ad, from the Calfornia Health Dept., uses humour, emotional appeals and shock appeal to question the “manly” image of cigarette smoking, and draw attention to a real-life consequence: lung diseases.
  19. 19. “Shock value” makes use of a startling or graphic image to make a point and draw attention to a product or message. This New Zealand highway ad turns red when it rains, creating the impression of a bleeding child to remind motorists to slow down in the rain and avoid accidents.
  20. 20. Some advertisers use “snob appeal,” trying to market themselves to wealthy customers – or those who want to live like they’re wealthy.
  21. 21. “Plain Folks” appeal  The opposite of snob appeal is “plain folks” appeal – selling your product to people who take pride in thinking of themselves as just ordinary, average people.  The following ad suggests that good, hardworking, ordinary family men will want to buy a truck like the one this ad is selling …
  22. 22. Of course, “plain folks” ads, like other media strategies, are pretty easy to make fun of … even if the purpose is just to get a laugh rather than to make a serious point. (to see what I mean, watch the next video …)
  23. 23. Individuals can also be used to promote products or messages This can take the form of “celebrity endorsement” or “testimonials” from ordinary people
  24. 24. A “bandwagon appeal” suggests you should do/buy something because everyone else is doing/buying it
  25. 25. Advertisers also like to use facts, science and statistics  This is sort of the opposite of the emotional appeal: the focus is on logical reason why the product or service is better for you and you should buy/use it.  But don’t be fooled! It’s very easy to manipulate statistics to say what you want them to say, or for a business to find or fund a study that supports what they’re selling.  Sometimes, what appear to be factual, scientific claims can in fact be vague or downright misleading. Do your research – don’t believe everything an ad tells you.
  26. 26. As this 1930s cigarette ad reminds us: just because an ad looks and sounds science-y doesn’t mean it’s telling you the truth!
  27. 27. Vague claims  Advertisers make many claims about their products, but what do these claims actually mean?  Saying a product is “better” or offers “more” is meaningless without telling us – better than what? more than what?  “Water is wet” claims: Saying something about a product that’s true for every product of that type – for example, saying a cereal is “made with the goodness of grain.” What else would a cereal be made with?  “So what” claims: Claims that are true, but don’t actually make the product any better than any other. “Has more than twice the iron of other supplements!” OK, but is twice the iron actually better for you?
  28. 28. Advertisers may use “weasel words” like “virtually,” “helps control,” or “up to.” These words allow advertisings to make BIG claims for their product, then undercut the claims if they’re not quite true.
  29. 29. Take a closer look at this ad… Can you read the fine print at the bottom? It says: “Removes up to 100% of visible dandruff flakes. Claim based on the visibility of flakes at two-foot distance when used regularly.” If a consumer says “I used this shampoo and I still have dandruff!” the advertiser can point to the “weasel words.”
  30. 30. The use of vague claims, weasel words, and scientific appeals means that companies can claim a product is “environmentally friendly” without having a lot to back up that claim. Many consumers will just grab the green package and feel good about themselves, without reading the fine print to see “How is this product really helping the environment?”
  31. 31. Similar claims are made for products being “healthy” and “nutritious” … However, these claims can also backfire as the makers of Nutella just found out. They got sued for claiming their product was a healthy breakfast food, when in fact it has about the same nutritional content as CHOCOLATE ICING. True story.
  32. 32. •Whether it’s a company wanting you to buy their product, or a non-profit organization wanting you to support their cause, everyone uses media to communicate a message. •Media strategies aren’t necessarily bad; they’re just tools that people and businesses use to communicate. •But often, these strategies can be misleading. •As a smart consumer, you owe it to yourself to be aware of media strategies. Notice when someone’s selling you something, whether it’s a product or a message, and what kind of appeals they’re using. •When you understand the tools that are being used to persuade you, you can make smarter decisions.