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Textual And Visual Analysis Of An Advertisement

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One of the most recognizable athletes in the world and more importantly, one of best soccer players in the game today, David Beckham is also a popular figure in the world of the media and advertising. He has made appearances in advertisements for such companies as Adidas, Pepsi, Gillette, and Vodafone. Recently, I noticed an advertisement in People for "David Beckham Instinct," a product line consisting of aftershave and fragrances. On the back of the magazine, he is shown in a head-only photo looking into the camera against a very plain, blue back drop. A picture of the product is placed in the lower right-hand corner, right above the words, "New Fragrances for Men." Directly above the picture of the product reads "Beckham Fragrances," with the icon of the product above that phrase. These underlying details of the advertisement lead to a product aimed at a middle-aged, middle-class male. The demographics of People and also Sports Illustrated, where the advertisement has recently appeared, reinforce this idea. People, although predominantly female at 87%of the readers, attracts a readership that has a median age of thirty-seven years-old and a median household income of approximately $73,000. Sports Illustrated has a readership that is 75% male with approximately 90% of the readers being aged between sixteen and forty-nine. The average household income of the readers is approximately $60,000. The two sets of demographics in the magazine in which Beckham's advertisement appears reaffirm that the advertisement is aimed at middle-aged, middle-class males.

It is quite clear in the advertisement that David Beckham is authoritatively gazing into the camera lens, and hence, directly at the reader. This pose asserts that a connection with the reader is established. It addresses the reader directly, rather than not looking into the camera, and almost demands a relationship with the reader. David Beckham in this advertisement can be seen as saying, "I demand you to enjoy this product and its benefits." Klein reaffirms this idea by stating that "advertising has shifted from a focus on the qualities of a company's products to a focus on engaging consumers in an intimate relationship with the intangible personality or soul of a brand" (Klein 5-8). This is exactly what Beckham is doing, creating a relationship with the consumer. The placement of the product also presents an interesting idea. Because the common convention is to read from left to right, top to bottom, the placement concerning this advertisement is strategically in the lower right-hand corner. The team of advertisers is potentially hoping to create a lasting impression since the lower right-hand corner is more than likely the last area to be seen. The size of the product on the page is not very big; it is almost as if the product was photographed at real-life size.

The predominant colors found in the advertisement are blue, the color of the back drop, while the bottles of cologne shown in the bottom right-hand corner are red. The choice of blue is obvious - it is cool, soothing, and orderly and it brings comfort and serenity to our eyes, mainly because society relates the color blue with the sky. The choice of red for the color of the bottles is not so obvious. Red is considered the most passionate and the most dynamic color for it symbolizes love, rage, and courage, perhaps parallel with the name of the product, "Instinct."

The voice, or tone, of the advertisement is along the lines of calm. The blue in the background symbolizes serenity and peace due to its relation with the sky. Beckham's countenance reveals why the advertisement is so serious. This serious tone is reinforced by the price of the product. The advertisement, though serious and calming in tone, is not all that informational. That is not to say that it is nonsensical. The lack of the use of words does not present the reader a chance to learn more about the product. The only thing that is given is the name of the product along with a sentence along the bottom of the page that states for whom the product is aimed at - men.

Much can be said about the font used in the advertisement, particularly when it comes to the name brand, "Beckham Fragrances." The font utilized for the first word, "Beckham," is along the lines of a Times New Roman font and is presented in boldface. This is perhaps to convey to the reader that the last name has importance and significance, for it is of a well-known person, David Beckham. The second word, "fragrances," is presented in a classical, more elegant font. This is to convey a mood of high class, or strong personality. The placing of the text is also classical, as one word is followed directly underneath the other, not in a diagonal fashion, but with the centers of the two words at the same point as if a vertical line was drawn down the page of the advertisement through the centers of both words. Concerning semantics, only denotations are utilized. "Fragrances" holds the same meaning as if one had checked the definition in the dictionary.

One item found in the advertisement that was mentioned earlier in the paper was the icon of the product. As stated earlier, the icon is found on the right half of the page about halfway up the page. It consists of the letters "d," "v," and "b," in that order along with a fancy drawing that stems from the "v." The letters "d," "v," and "b" come from David and his wife's, Victoria, first names and a "b" for Beckham. The icon is termed the "Beckham Beauty House Crest," and marks Beckham's entrance into the world of luxury fragrance. Due to the elegance of the icon, it seems as though it were created to evoke both a sense of English heritage fused with a modern touch. The elegance is parallel that of the function of the fragrance. As stated in the lecture notes, the function of the fragrance is "actually a bundle of values, what the product means to the consumer." The value of the fragrance is mostly social, but a small part psychological. "Instinct" is certainly indicative of a person's social status. An elegant fragrance demonstrates that a person is, or wishes to be, more elegantly perceived. In the case of a luxury fragrance, a person feeling sexier is certainly a psychological value. One may not actually be sexier by wearing the fragrance, but one may undeniably feel sexier.

All rhetorical appeals can be found in the advertisement, but pathos and ethos are the two most present. The ethos in the advertisement refers to the idea that if we, the more than likely middle-class reader, believe that David Beckham has good character and good sense, then



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