Describe one recent advertising campaign. Pay particular attention to the key concepts and discuss the effectiveness of the campaign. Advertising is a way to market a product in order to create awareness and an understanding so as to persuade the audience to purchase the product. Advertisements are effectively messages sent via the media in order to influence the audience that consumes them.
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An advertising campaign such as the Boddingtons beer campaign directly sets out to target a 15-30 year old audience, in the B to D socio-economic groupings. Everything in an advertisement has been purposefully placed there for a reason. Before anything can be read into and depicted from advertisement such as Boddingtons, looking at the adverts at face value, from the vibrancy and boldness in colour of the animation, to the voiceovers and portrayal of men and women. The content of the adverts have been positioned to make the audience believe a preferred reading.
The media language employed throughout the five advertisements within the campaign puts focus and emphasis on the product throughout, in both direct and indirect ways. The beer itself plays a central role, whether it is actually being consumed or placed in a superior position. Graham Heffer, the ‘male’ cow is used as the central figure or person throughout the campaign, and Claudia the ‘powerful brunette’ type, as well as other numerous amounts of stereotypical good-looking, primarily blonde females. The graphic effects and colours used almost allow for the indirect sexual connotations of the adverts to be created in quite an obvious way, although the animation means it is not too overtly explicit. The animation also creates and allows for a humorous overtone, which seems apt for a beer advert.
The animation used is a powerful tool; everything on the screen has been placed in order to set the scene- from the bright, heavy sunlight and palm trees to the darkly lit large house on a stormy night. The camera angles used allow for suspense to be built up, close ups allow for sudden dramatic revelations – such as when Graham crashes through the window. The camera shots used in the campaign help to reflect the sexual ‘air’ and connotations that the beer has.
Cutting from slow low angle shots as tension is created, as Claudia blindfolds Graham on the bed, to high up, quick-cut rate shots, which create a sense of action. On many occasions overhead shots are used to break-up the viewpoint and create more dynamic interest on screen. In addition to camera shots, the background noises and music used helps to set the mood and tone and adds to the atmosphere that the animation creates. The drama that the background sounds create aids the preferred reading of the advertisement.
Both the narrative devices and representations contained within the five advertisements are very similar. The basic plot outline of the advert is that Graham is placed in celebrity style mansions, drinking creamy Boddingtons beer whilst surrounded by women, and living the lifestyle that the target audience would aspire to. Each advert narrative contains some kind of humorous remark or jest, either by Graham or Claudia and there are many intertextual references in the campaign.
The type of intertextual references are those, which the core target audience of 18 to 25 year olds would recognise, so the campaign effectively targets them. Such references to the film – ‘The Shining’, the television programme – ‘Through the Keyhole’ and the television show – ‘Des O’Connor Tonight’. The differences between the adverts allow for a wider audience to relate to the adverts, so that more people can be targeted. It is interesting to notice that the narratives contain some of the codes and conventions specific to situation comedy, for example the idea of a set up and pay back in the form of a joke and the subversion of the audience’s expectations.
The narrative, media language and representation all help to create an initial preferred reading of the advertisement and then as it builds up the audience’s expectations of what is about to happen are subverted. For example the use of sound to deliberately create sexual connotations creating the preferred reading of what is going to happen, the subversion of expectations creates the ‘Boddingtons is better than sex’ connotation.
As with the representations created in the campaign where Boddingtons is placed with essential foods in a fridge to show it is needed to survive – placing it in this dominant recognisable position creates identification by the audience, encouraging them to do the same. The advertising campaign welcomes females to consume the product. A strong, independent brunette is placed into a fast car, showing women in a domineering, leading position, as the campaign attempts to break social stereotypes, like the beliefs of today’s youth drinking culture. It encourages women to drink beer and it is represented s being an all round everyday normal item for consumption.
The campaign aims to represent Boddingtons so that it seems to affect and influence all areas of a person’s lifestyle. In one advert the aspiration lifestyle of Graham is used to promote the celebrity style life that drinking Boddingtons can bring, with the product placed in a safe to connote the need for safe guarding and protecting the precious, prized Boddingtons, and in another advert a typical night club setting is used to place the product in familiar surroundings, where Boddingtons is available at every pump at the bar. The representations of the product itself are very important, either that it is so precious it needs protecting, or that it is everyday and normal, ultimately the message the representations are sending to the audience is that whatever lifestyle one leads, Boddingtons can be incorporated into your everyday life.