Adverts Changed

The first method of advertising was an outdoor display, usually eye-catching signs painted on the walls of buildings. One of the first adverts found in Rome offers property for rent, and one found painted on a wall in Pompeii tells travellers of an inn situated in another town. This style of advertising continued into the middle ages. TV advertising began in 1955 in Britain, although broadcasting began and 1936. It was only then realised that televising may be a basis of power and profit.

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In Britain the dominant institution from the 1930s to the 1950s was the BBC, which wanted to provide television as a public service, emphasising the use of information and education, as much as entertainment. To this day the BBC broadcasts no advertising. In early advertising on television more simple marketing strategies were used. A traditional family shown on television included a working husband and a wife, safely at home looking after her man. The women who worked in men’s jobs during the war were conveniently forgotten as this ‘ideal’ family image was broadcast instead.

Later on as more sophisticated technology was used there was more money to be made in advertising. This was because of the larger, more educated audience and therefore a different marketing approach was required. There was now an increase in psychological understanding, consequently subliminal messages and ambiguous meanings were incorporated into adverts. The sexual revolution of the 1960s made people more open about sex. Sex appeal was now used more frequently as a device in advertising as this was seen to be just as attractive as being successful had been previously.

As a wider range of choice and products was given to the consumer, people became more and more influenced by brand names. They featured more often in adverts, and soon dominated them, being shown over again. Brand names can give a certain image to the consumer, and this image has become the predominant selling device. For example Dockers Pants are advertised as being ‘any colour between beige and blue’. This shows the person wearing them to be more conservative, considering themselves casual and laid back, yet tidy. Other brand names are associated with different images- such as an athlete in Nike clothes, or the traditional Cornflakes eating family man. The usage of the Internet and other international online computer networks has also expanded advertising possibilities by opening a new medium, which is used increasingly in modern society.

The Cornflakes advert dates from 1956, and is typical of an advert in this era. It is very ‘proper’, showing the man as a person everyone strived to be, but to a different audience from the Dockers advert. It targeted young families, and working men who wanted a life with a job of their own in which they were central and successful, thinking themselves in control but with a wife always ready to help at home, and a secretary constantly on hand at work. This man is busy, and has ‘no time in the morning’. He has a hectic life, the exact opposite to the situation the Dockers man is in.

In both adverts the narrator has the main part of the script, although there is some other speech as well. The voiceover in the Cornflakes advert is with an upper class English accent. Today accents are used to put across an image of the product or to appeal to certain audiences, and not only one accent is spoken in as this can make the advert appeal to a smaller number of people. During the 1950s accents promoted status and respect for a person, but today as social barriers have broken down accents have changed, and many viewers see ‘BBC English’ as comical.

IN the Cornflakes advert the narrator tells a story spanning two days in a couple’s life. The advert mainly centres on the man and his day at work, which portrays the man as the centre of the family. He goes out to work leaving his wife at home to ‘worry about him’. He is looked up to by her, and is perceived as the centre of her universe. He seems to hold the power, although the reality actually implies the opposite. He cannot do even the simplest things, and even needs his wife to make his breakfast. This is shown when the narrator changes focus from the audience to the wife (or wives in general), saying ‘give him a nice big plate of Cornflakes’, as though the man doesn’t have the capabilities to make breakfast every morning. Even when the man gets to work he is supported by a woman telling him what to do. His secretary guides him through the day and organises his working life, as his wife does at home.

The Cornflakes advert has a small scene n the middle showing Kellogg’s corn flakes being placed on the table with a holder of toast. This is a basic device used from the beginning of advertising, showing the brand name ‘Kellogg’s’, which most people would already be familiar with, centred in the advert in large font. A feature that is different in both adverts if the camera movement. In the Cornflakes advert, the camera is basically static, always giving a front on view. The Cornflakes advert has no music in the background, as this was not expected in adverts in this era. The Dockers advert was obviously intended for viewing overseas and not to other American people as it talks from the American point of view offering something to the rest of the world.

The accent in this advert is American, an accent that most people are familiar with, which also shows the origins of the company Dockers. The language is slangy and informal, the small amount that the narrator actually speaks. It is in a more conversational tone, talking to someone instead of at someone. The man in the Dockers advert is shown as completely capable by himself to sort out his own life, even if in an unorthodox manner, for example ironing his sandwiches. This is also used as a device in the advert to increase his popularity. Throughout the advert this man is shown as superior and capable. His position on the balcony is above the world as he surveys the people in flats below him.

The woman in the advert appears to be there to stop it from being unrealistic, as a flat full of men only would be, and to increase the man’s already established superiority. She obviously finds him attractive and is mesmerised by him standing on a balcony in his underwear. She stops what she is doing to wave at him, and instantly causes an accident. This superiority can be seen as suave and appealing, but it also makes the man almost too perfect. The fact that he irons his sandwiches at the end brings him back down to a more human level. He becomes laughable, and even childish in his approach to life – instantly making him even more likeable.