Media Assignment: Choose an advert or news report of a similar nature and do a content and textual analysis. In this essay I have chosen to look at two male footwear advertisements. The first of these advertisements is for the company ‘Gola’ and, the second is for the company ‘Caterpillar’. Both of the advertisements have been taken from the male magazine called ‘FHM’ which, stands for ‘For Him Magazine’. This magazine is aimed at young men approximately eighteen to thirty-five years old.
Throughout this essay I will compare the two adverts in relation to the aims of the company by an analysis of their content and the text contains within them. I will also argue that although both adverts are aimed at the same target age, they are both aimed at different segments of this market. The adverts are for the same product but have used very different approaches. Both advertisements contain high quality pictures and, have obviously been doctored by the use of a computer. The ‘Caterpillar’ advertisement depicts a model standing in front of some windows.
The trainer itself, allow it isn’t the main image in the advert, is of good, clear quality and, therefore allows the target audience to view it properly. The use of the computer generated giant footprints which, are stamped onto the windows, also allows us to see the underneath of the footwear. The Gola advert has used a completely different approach and, the whole advert is centered on the actual trainers. It depicts ten trainers coming out of a center point, leaving trails behind them.
In this advert not as much detail of the trainer can be seen as in the Caterpillar advert, even though the only image is of the trainer. What the audience does get is a look at the vast range of colours that is available in this particular range of Gola. In the Caterpillar advert the model seems to be stood in a warehouse. The sign which suggests this is the windows, particularly the dirtiness of them. However, there is no real clue as to why the model is there in the first place. He is obviously not working due to the good quality clothes that he adorns.
One idea could be that he is at a warehouse party. This comes from the sign of his sweat which, due to his clothing could signify that he has been dancing and this is why he is so hot? One of the interesting things about this advert is that we don’t see the models feet but just assume that he is wearing the product. Overall, although there has been manipulation of the picture, it does depict some sense of reality. The Gola advert on the other hand doesn’t really depict any sense of reality.
There is a stigma that surrounds Gola trainers regarding the fact that they are ‘unfashionable’ and ‘not trendy’ which, the Caterpillar brand does not share. Therefore, it seems that this advert is attempting to challenge this paradigm and say ‘our trainers are unique and individual’ by its unique and individual advert. The way the trainers all go in different directions support this view. This image seems to suggest that if you buy the trainers then you will also be individual and be able to make your own decision on which direction to take in life. In both adverts the visual images dominate the written.
In the Caterpillar advert there is only the brand logo in the top right hand corner, the name of the trainer and a number to call in order to enquire about stockists and, also a copyright notice. The Gola advert is very similar in that it too only contains the Gola logo, the name of the trainer but instead of a phone number to call for stockists, it has the website address for the company. The main difference regarding the text between the two adverts is its positioning. In the Gola advert all the text has simply been placed in the bottom right hand corner.
This is because they want all the attention of the audience to focus on the image which, seems to naturally involve the audience looking at the centre point and moving their vision outwards. It has been left quite simple but the actual name of Gola and the arrangement of the trainers could signify the scoring of a goal in football. The caterpillar advert on the other hand has positioned their text at each corner of the advert. This again would seem to be in order to draw the audience’s vision to the image but, unlike Gola, they want this to look around the whole image.
When you look around both adverts many symbolic signs can be found. Firstly, the colours used are completely different. The caterpillar advert uses only two colours, yellow and black which could almost be described as sepia – they have even used a black model. The colours are a sign which signify the Caterpillar brand as they are the same colours that are used in the Cat logo. The advert for Gola uses bold, vibrant colours which seem to be the colours of the rainbow- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet- set against a black background.
The perception of a rainbow signifies both happiness and sunshine which, almost suggests that you will be happier if you were to wear these trainers. The combination of the black background and the vibrant colours seems to signify the atmosphere of a night club. The black is the darkness of a club and, the colours together with the fact that they are leaving trails behind them as they move towards you, signify the strobe lights. The clubbing culture seems to be the target audience for this advert. If you look at the deeper connotations of the image used in the Gola advert you could argue that it signifies the drug culture in night clubs.
In particularly hallucinogenic drugs which are meant to heighten ones perception of colours signified by the vibrant colours used and, and distorts the users sense of time, explaining the trails1. The Caterpillar advert on the other hand seems to be targeting the more fashion conscious end of the market. One of the signs that suggest this is the high quality clothes worn by the model. The model is staring directly at the audience with his eyes fixed in a daring fashion. This gaze signifies a challenge to the audience, daring them to buy the trainers.
It can also be said that when eye contact is used in this way in an advert it is like looking in a mirror therefore, this connotes that if you buy the product then you will become this man. The models hair which is a big afro could be seen as signifying the mane of a lion, which again seems to be about reinforcing the logo of ‘Cat’. This also signifies the notion of a lion which is a strong mammal and the king of the jungle suggesting that the audience could become like this. The fact that he is all sweaty would appear to be a sign for manliness based on the myth of sweaty, musculey men being more masculine.
This is also signified by the dead, penetrating stare of the model; the dirty warehouse, and the big footprints. This would appear to be an attempt to lure the target audience into the idea that they could also be more manly and strong if they wore this product. In conclusion, both adverts although for the same kind of product and although they both want the ultimate outcome of selling their product have used different techniques. The Gola advert appears to be about challenging the existing views about their brand.
They want the audience to believe that if they buy this product then they are dynamic, individual and unique. It appears to be targeting the clubbing segment of the market and its main focus in on the vast range of colours that is available in the Gola Classics range rather than the actual detail of the trainer. The Caterpillar advert on the other hand seems although actually shows more detail of the trainer seems to be targeting the more fashion conscious segment of the market. They have relied on reinforcing the brand name and challenging the audience to wear the product based on the myth of manliness.