Sex in advertising has been the theme of much 20th Century American Advertising. It seems like all we see these days are advertisements which use the human body and sexuality to sell all kinds of products from food and cars to colognes and exercise equipment. It is virtually impossible to tune into any type of media they days and not encounter some type of an ad which uses sexuality to sell it's product. Most of the time sexuality and the use of the product in a real world setting is irrelevant, but for centuries if sexual connotation is put upon the use of a certain product then the product has been a success in the market place. In the following pages we will be analyzing an ad for Robert Lee Morris Watches, placed in Harper's Bazzar, which uses the concept of "sex" to sell it's watches. For a copy of the ad please refer to the end of this report. We will be applying the basic Principles of Advertising to help use critique this ad.
Objectives and Mission
The objectives of any company using the concept of using "Sex" in it's advertising campaigns are clear. The company wants to appeal to the conscious level of the target market to sell it's product. The company wants to appeal to the consumer who appreciates his/her sexuality and will spend a few extra dollars to look especially sexy. The mission of this type of advertising is to convince the target market that the product, in this case a watch, is essential to their need and want to be seductive and portray that image to his/her fellow peers.
Before any company decides what kind of an ad will be used to represent their company and their product, they will need to consider their target consumer. The advertising agency will need to take personal influences and environmental forces into consideration. While choosing a type of ad, it is very important that the advertiser take marketing stimuli into consideration, these stimuli include: demographic factors, cultural/social influences, and reference groups. The advertiser needs to understand the perceptions, motives, needs, personalities, lifestyles, and attitudes of their target market.
In this ad, it is obvious that the advertiser is trying to appeal to the fashion conscious woman in her 20's or 30's with a moderately high income level who could spend a few extra dollars for the sake of being fashionable. The ad is placed in a high class fashion magazine which shares the company's target market.
Finally, consumer analysis can be thought of the most important of the Principles of Advertising. If an ad is positioned to appeal to the interests of anyone but the target market, then the ad would simply be a waste of precious time and resources.
Advertising effectiveness is a measure to see how effective the advertisement is on consumer recognition and intentions on buying a certain product. There are two kinds of classifications of advertising effectiveness. The first is the communication effects and the second is sales effectiveness. The Robert Lee Morris Watches uses the second type, sales effectiveness. Sales effectiveness measures the impact of advertisement on sales. There are three types of sales effectiveness a company can use. They are inquiry testing, direct response and market testing. Robert Lee Morris Watches uses the inquiry test method. We know that they use this method because they offer a toll free phone in the upper left hand corner of the advertisement. The ad does not offer a lot of content in regard to words. They want the consumer to call them and tell them what they think about the ad and to inquire about additional information.
Creative Strategy & Creative Appeals
The "big idea" for a creative strategy in regards to the concept of sexual appeal in advertisement is virtually to attract the attention and maintain the visual process of the incoming information. Sex in advertisement grabs the attention of a sexual attitude of behavior for the targeted audience. The "love/sex" creative appeal directly impacts the emotions leading to a change in attitude or behavior of the targeted audience. Sexual appeal may be displayed by using naked bodies, illustrative emphasis on attractive body parts, and romantic or intimate moments for selling a hopeful image to the target market. The image of sexual feelings, therefore, lead audiences to believe that the purchase of the product will lead to fulfillment of being part of that romantic moment.
Four components make up the focus for the creative side of advertising. First of all, the "Big Idea" is the starting point and it is important because it is what the audience looks at. The idea must be created to grab the attention of the audience and differentiate the product from other related products in a magazine ad. The "Big Idea" can jump out of the ad, leading the audience to an illusion of "wow" (product image) for purchase and increase in sales. In the magazine ad chosen, the big idea presents the Robert Lee Morris Watch by using a lady's naked waist and having her wear the watch on her wrist as she tries to cover up her private body part.
Robert Lee Morris ad does not present the display of the watch to the audience in a surrounding that a watch would normally be involved in. the idea of wearing a watch while unclothed is irrelevant to a watch wearing purpose. The ad dresses the watch displayed on her wrist by making it visually inviting for the audience to recognize product, create an image of the watch and brand name, and positioning the ad in an environment for the upper class consumer. The ad is placed in Harper's Bazzar to appeal to the more fashion wise and image conscious shoppers who are usually earning a substantial amount of income to dress for this image.
The creative process designs the ad's originality for product differentiation. Using the concept of sex in advertisement is very common in the advertising industry for all media types. The magazine ad must create a powerful impact on the audience, which the Robert Lee Morris ad does. The ad's creative process uses demonstration to present the product and brand name, unique selling proposition which focus on the correlated attributes between the beauty of the watch and the beauty of the woman, resonance by printing an ad that makes you think about the ad, and image by the unity of layout and positioning of the ad.
The particular layout strategy in this ad is to use a large photograph and a few words to grab the reader's attention. The photograph primarily accomplishes this with its sexual design. The words Robert Lee Morris Watches are strongly supported by the picture. The idea is that the lady has nothing on but she still is wearing the watch. Now, it may seem that only these elements are what make the ad appealing, but there are other qualities that participate in the overall appearance of the ad. These certain qualities are referred to as layout qualities. The layout qualities most pertinent to this ad are balance, contrast, proportion and gaze motion.
The balance of an ad pertains to the placement of elements on a page. Formal balance is when the elements are evenly placed on a page and informal balance is when the elements are unevenly placed on a page. The elements in this ad are the photograph of the woman wearing the watch and the words used to designate a brand of watch. By observing the article one could tell that the strategy here is to use informal balance, because the elements are not completely centered on the page. For example, the woman in the photograph is standing at an angle which makes the left and right borders completely different. The left border is a curvaceous hip while the right border is more linear, with the woman's hand reaching straight down. Another example of informal balance in this ad is the placement of "Robert Lee Morris Watches." The phrase is not centered, instead it is placed on the right portion of the ad. There is on other phrase to counter it on the left side. The informal balance of this article may seem like it is a bad thing, because the elements are not evenly dispersed, however, informal balance is what makes the ad appealing.
The contrast of the ad deals with it's shape and color. It there is any shape that could be used to describe this ad, it would be the shape of an "S." by looking at the left side of the ad, the woman's hip is a mirror image of the letter "S." The color also plays an important role because readers envision the ad to be a real naked person wearing a watch, by virtue of the actual color of a woman being used. The color is not exaggerated as to project a sense of fantasy. The actual color projects a real person and therefore makes the ad more concrete and believable.
The proportion of this ad is key. The entire page is encompassed by the photograph of the woman. The picture lies in the background while the words are in the foreground. By using this approach the picture and the words can be viewed separately. It can be seen from big (woman's picture) to small (Robert Lee Morris Watches).
Gaze motion is another quality of layout that plays an important role in this ad. Gaze motion has to do with how a person' eyes move through an ad. This particular would be referred to as an S-gaze, because a person's eye moves through the ad in the shape of an "S." This is very evident on the left side of the ad where the woman's hip is shaped like an S. With S-gaze a reader may start at the torso, follow it down to the curvaceous hip, which leads directly to this most sexual part.
The message strategy is the strategy used by advertisers to convey the idea of the advertisement. The message strategy consists of the selling premise and execution. The selling premise is the sales logic behind an advertising message. It can be a claim, benefit, promise, reason why or a unique selling proposition. The selling premise that our ad, Robert Lee Morris Watches uses is a unique selling proposition, which is sex appeal. It is not a unique selling position in the sense that on one has ever used sex appeal before. It is unique considering what they are selling, which is watches. The use of an almost completely nude woman to sell a watch is unique. The other element of message strategy is execution. Execution is the form taken by the finished ad. The execution of the ad was done very well and accomplished what they set out to do.
When considering the message strategy one must decide if they want the ad to be on the conscious level, being able to perceive the message, or subconscious, being below the consciousness of the senses. Our ad uses the conscious level, more specifically, the sight. The advertisers want the consumer to see the partial