Analysis of Advertisements for Two Different Things
In order for advertisements to succesfully portray a product, they must
be directed to the appropriate intended audience. Magazines, in general, are
usually geared towards a specific audience with distinct interests. Therefore,
the `ads' need to be carefully designed to attract the attentions of the
magazine reader. This very concept is well displayed in the two selected, yet
very different, magazine ads from the software magnate Microsoft Corporation.
The first ad is taken from Computer Games Strategy Plus - a gaming
magazine, as one might infer from the title. The product `Monster Truck
Madness' is a computer video game designed, quite obviously, for entertainment
purposes. The second ad is from PC World, which is of a much more technical
nature than its previous counterpart. The product in this ad is `Microsoft
Project for Windows 95', a software used for businesses and project development
The `Monster Truck Madness' ad encaptivates the casual browser with its
bright yellow background with a large purple type set across the top of the
page accompanied by the words: `Size Matters". This leads the reader to ponder
the meaning of this rather unusual phrase and to further read the smaller
print. Here, the reader encounters an irregular font of different sizes to
accentuate certain words. While this may be annoying to many, its overall
purpose is to create a lively playful environment through the usage of fonts.
This, of course, is an attempt to appeal to a younger gaming audience. On the
other hand, the `Microsoft Project' ad does not envoke any visual desire read
further into the text. The sections are divided into fine print paragraphs
with a slightly larger heading above. Everything is set plainly and
unassumingly. This can be justified to mirror an American professional's
lifestyle: simple, neat, and organized.
The first four lines in the `Monster Truck' ad: "bigger tires, bigger
competition, bigger thrills, bigger mud-splitting" uses repetition to
accentuate the fact that this game is bigger and better than all the other
racing car games. Microsoft then introduces the product in a rather blunt
manner but just stating the title of the game. The reader is then asked to
"strap yourself into a 1,500 horsepower tower of American pig iron, punch it
when the light turns green, and you're in for the biggest race of your life."
Having read this far, the reader should be overwhelmed by the forceful way the
ad delivers its message. From this, one can derive the intent to parallel the
`brute force and run over everything attitude' that only a monster truck can
possess, in the text.
The `Project' ad explains very straight-forwardly what the software is
capable of doing for the readers and their businesses. What this lacks in
excitement is made up for through a very complete description of the product.
This is appropriate for the intended audience: no-nonsense, no-hassle
businessmen. Strangely enough, the `Monster Truck' ad, in sharp contrast,
discusses absolutely nothing about the actual game itself. Instead it
elaborates on other parts of the ad more important to persuading the intended
group of people.
The pictures and images are, of course, `everything' to an advertisement.
They retrieve preconceptions from each individual without using words at all.
Consequently, these pictures must express a meaning related to its intended
purpose - in this case, to sell the product. In the `Monster Truck' ad, the
first image the reader should notice is the massive blue and yellow monster
truck. Certainly because it is the largest picture, but also because it is
seemingly `standing' on its back tires. My first impression of this picture
was one of pure awe. I imagine hearing the powerful revving of the engine and
the massive tires rumbling through the grass. However, if the reader has no
preconception of what a monster truck is or how large it is, this picture may
be nothing more impressive than a Micro Machine. Nextly, two additional
pictures are taken from the computer game itself. Both, in an attempt to
impress the viewer, are taken at an inspiring frame deserving of a highlight
reel. The viewer can see the rich color and high resolution details of each
individual screenshot. The purple monster truck in mid-air flying off a ramp is
strategically positioned in the exact middle of the photo, bringing all
attention to the truck. The picture on the lower left shows the interior of
the vehicle, the speedometer and tachometer; everything a real-life monster
truck would have. Lastly, the last corner of the rectangle holds the picture
of the box of the software. This is most likely intended to allow the reader
to recognize the box when they head over to the store. The quote in the
picture: "Down and Dirty Racing", goes to emphasize the fact that the game is
not intended for the faint hearted conservative but rather for the hardcore
Conversely, the pictures in the `Project' ad are very realistic to one's
life compared to the `virtual' world of the `Monster Truck' game. The central
picture is, of course, the businessman who is denoted by the blue collared
shirt, tie and neat appearance. The man has a Windows 95 `Start' button on his
head possibly symbolizing that all ideas start within the mind. From here,
small blurbs of photos are linked together. One is a flowchart of coworkers
connected on a board, signifying the need for companies to work and communicate
together in order to be successful. The second is a building made up for
wooden blocks allowing, as the title states, teams to visualize where the
project is going. Next is photo is a small boy whispering into the ear of a
girl. While this can signfy communication among everyone, instead I believe it
to be the man's children to show that he is a successful business and family
man. Lastly, the final link goes to a picture of the box `Microsoft Project'.
This relates the software to the other items by linking the results that your
company will receive when you buy `Microsoft Project'. Also, this box is
Microsoft's way of allowing you to remember what it looks like at the store.
The box is simple, neat and organized signifying the orderly fashion of a
company. One clear lacking of this ad are pictures from the actual software
itself. It may be safe to assume that the software is just a large array of
icons and there is nothing amazing to look at. Once more, as stated at the
beginning of the paragraph, a business type is more concerned with `real world'
pictures rather than one of the `virtual' gaming world.
Two very different advertisements from two very different magazines
selling two very different products, yet all from the same company. While the
reader may not be aware of it, each ad differs from one magazine to another.
This is due to the typical stereotype of the persons who usually buy a certain
product. Am I saying that all people are stereotyped? Yes, of course. If this
were not the case, then ads would not be specifically designed to attract each
unique group of people and everything would be colorlessly drab. Ads are meant
to be directed to a particular prototype of the buyer, economy relies on this
constant method to thrive.