About Me

I am a nineteen year old student living in the Bay Area along with my sisters (ages 24&17) and my dog, a stud of a boxer (age 8). I am originally from Nevada City, CA but after spending some time at 4 year in Seattle and not liking it, I didn't want to head back to school in good ol' Nevada County, so I moved to the Silicon Valley, where there is much more going on. I do however miss aspects of Nevada City, including being surrounded by pine trees a good 95% of the time, the historic downtown, and of course, the beautiful Yuba river. I love the outdoors, eating lots of good, healthy foods, and crafting whatever I can get my hands on. At Seattle, I was studying civil engineering, but I am changing my course and thinking about following in my dad's footsteps as a lawyer. But, who knows, I'll most likely change my mind 6 times before I graduate. That's me in a nutshell: I like the sun, eating, math, and crafts. What a combo!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Advertisement Analysis: Be a Better Man

“Human beings, it is presumed, walk around with a variety of unfulfilled urges and motives swirling in the bottom half of their minds. Lusts, ambitions, tenderness, vulnerabilities—they are constantly bubbling up, seeking resolution…. Advertisers want to circumvent this shell of consciousness, if they can, and latch on to one of the lurching, subconscious drives” (Fowles 73). Author Jib Fowles believes the way in which advertisers grab the attention of their target markets is by pulling at the most intimate of emotions—emotions so personal, they are withheld from the judgments of others. When advertisers appeal to these emotions through the use of media, humans react, usually subconsciously, and are attracted to not only the product, but also to the images and lifestyle the advertisement sells. Fowles believes that these emotional appeals are found in fifteen different categories. Each category has one objective: to appeal to human emotions, needs, and wants. After browsing through a plethora of magazines, ranging from People to Better Homes and Gardens, to O, the Oprah Magazine to GQ, I found that many ads did exactly as Fowles described—they appealed to many basic needs, including but not limited to: the need to nurture, the need for prominence, and the need for aesthetic sensations. These common appeals are prominently found in a cologne advertisement by Azzaro. This cologne ad does not just sell the product but also successfully attracts needs, as listed above, by using certain models, colors, and props. Azzaro has followed Fowles’ prediction; they effectively “appeal[ed] to deep-running drives in the minds of consumers” (73) by incorporating elements that penetrate the subconscious and deliver meta-messages to effectively sell the product.

When you first look at the Chrome cologne ad by Azzaro you see two good-looking models, a young boy and man, possibly in his early thirties or late twenties, holding one another. The man is on his knees with one armed wrapped around the boy, presumably his son, and the other resting on a small airplane. Intertwined, is the boy; he stands nestled against his dad, and carelessly leans on him for support. One hand slightly in his pocket, the other wrapped securely around his dad’s shoulders. Although the man has a serious, yet casual expression on his face, the son is smiling and exposing his white, straight teeth. Together they wear only grey and white; the son wears a casual white long sleeved shirt and white pants with a grey muffler wrapped around his neck. This light grey color of the muffler is the same color as the dad’s casual V-neck sweater. He too wears white pants.  Placed on the man’s finger is a wedding ring in the same grey color as the muffler and sweater. When you take a closer look at the model’s faces, you see they both have the same light blue eyes, coral lip color, light skin and pinkish cheeks, and even the same care-free, wind blown hair style. It appears as though the two are spending the day together by taking their airplane out for a fly and have just taken a moment to have their picture taken. The plane is also white, like the models’ clothes, but it has a few hints of a darker blue and grey. The image is cropped so that the plane is difficult to make out at first, ensuring it is not the main subject or focus of the ad. Behind the models is a light aqua colored sky without a cloud in sight. The cologne name, Chrome, and the brand, Azzaro, are placed directly above the models’ heads. Underneath these two lines reads the words, “Live to inspire”. As the sky and models’ figures meet, it becomes less aqua but more light, nearly to a white color. This transition from aqua to white is the exact color of the contents in the cologne bottle, which is placed floating in front of the models and scaled disproportionately to them. As you turn the page, going on to the next ad or article, the bottle of cologne is the last thing you see, as it is in the lower right corner of the page.

Azzaro’s ad and its layout, models, and colors were not chosen for any reason. Each element was thoughtfully picked to make an inference. For example, Azzaro chose the aqua color featured in the ad not because they like it but because of what it implies. If you look through cologne ads, you will see that a majority of them are dark and use colors like black and charcoal, but Azzaro went a wholly new direction. By choosing the light blue hue, they appeal to a different market; Chrome appeals not to the man who wishes to be deemed sexy and masculine by women, but to the man who desires to be seen as a loyal husband and caring father. The aqua used is very similar to the blue color featured in Tiffany ads. As Tiffany is a high-end jewelry line, it can be determined that Azzaro was too trying to appeal to an upper-class market. They are not interested in targeting single men, but men who are in a stable relationship and who can afford a higher-end lifestyle. This leisurely, well-off lifestyle is produced in the ad by the use of the airplane. It is the middle of the day, most men are working, but the model, father, has the day off to be with his son. It suggests that he has enough income to take work off, or not work at all, and is also able to afford an expensive hobby. Not only does the man have the resources to own and operate a plane, he is a loving father, as seen by the models’ postures; the man securely holds his son, giving the impression that he is both protective and affectionate towards him. The young boy reciprocates this loving feeling by the way his arms are too wrapped around his dad. As the dad kneels, son stands smiling, giving off the appearance that he looks up to his father and is happy in his presence; his pearly whites are the dead giveaway. The son’s admiring posture against his father emphasizes the cologne’s catchy slogan, “Live to inspire”. The wording, juxtaposed to the dreamy blue skies, gives a feeling of carefree success.

Behind the aqua sky, sunny and untroubled setting, and affectionate models, Azzaro’s meta-messages are revealed. It gives the target market a sense of the need to nurture, the need for prominence, and the need for aesthetic sensations. By purchasing this cologne, men believe they are good nurturers, supporters, and helpers. They are capable and skillful at protecting their children. And as they nurture and care for their children, they are worshipped for their protection and looked up to by their children and in turn, are adored by their wives for being exceptional fathers. As a result of being a successful nurturer, they deserve admiration, respect, and prominence. This is exactly what Azzaro is advertising they will receive and what these men deserve. But, not only will they receive praise from their children and wives, they will receive acclamation in their workplaces as they become better at their jobs and their incomes rise. With a higher salary and more time off, they have even more occasions to be with
their children. It is a cycle that grows and grows; Azzaro sells the idea that Chrome can improve life by increasing income, based off of the confidence gained from being a fostering parent and husband. Furthermore, the perfect layout, color combinations, and models’ expressions and poses suggest men too can become closer to perfection. They can be flawless in every aspect, ranging from parenting to clothing, to hobbies to hairstyles. Chrome sells the lifestyle of a financially stable, successful, carefree, devoted father and husband with immaculate looks and style. 

Advertisements are everywhere: billboards, on the TV and radio, on the webpages we browse, in the literature we read, on tray tables, in bathroom stalls, and even in space. With ads in sight nearly every minute, how do advertisers make appeals to consumers? Jib Fowles examines advertisements and why we are only attracted to a few in his essay Advertising’s Fifteen Basic Appeals by drawing on the research of Henry A. Murray. Although we are exposed to a number of ads each day, few have the ability to make their way into our subconscious and attract us to more than just the product, but to the lifestyle affiliated with the product. In an ad for cologne, Azzaro uses some of the appeals described by Fowles to create an underlying message while promoting the product. This message being that men who buy their cologne will be additionally nurturing, successful, and maintain a laid back demeanor. As ads become more prevalent, advertisers will be forced to use innovative techniques to draw the attention of consumers. For now, they are able to attract us by appealing to personal, sometimes subconscious, emotions but as we become more immune to ads of this nature, a revolution of advertising will be necessary. 

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