Product’s benefits

The reader is not immediately aware of what is being advertised; instead, they are led into the body text by the intriguing heading, which is conversational in tone and states, “YOU’LL BE CARRYING HIM FOR THE NEXT 18 YEARS.” The use of a full stop at the end of this declarative is big and bold as well as the title itself, which adds further to the strength of the statement, making it even more intriguing.

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The opening paragraph, remaining conversational in tone, uses a simile, which allows the reader to understand the full extent of the point made. “He’s only six months old and he’s already getting through money like water”. It is interesting here how the emphasis changed from the reader’s responsibility in the title to someone else’s responsibility. The designer has done this to keep the readers interest and to gradually bring the reader to the ‘soft sell’ that follows later. The second paragraph reinforces the first with a declarative informing that, “…even before his birth, Oliver here had clocked up 1,000 in baby equipment, clothes and toiletries…”. The writer has used tripling here to emphasize the numerous items a baby needs and this instills a thought in the reader of just how much finance is required to take care of their family.

Further moving the reader to thoughts of providing for their family, the deictic word ‘here’, used in paragraph two, suggests a picture originally accompanied this advert and this image would probably have been a ‘cute baby’, playing on the reader emotions. This should have the desired effect of selling their financial services. A responsibility shift follows swiftly, bringing the readers’ attentions to the fact that, “…when you have a baby, it is never too early to make plans”. The shift in responsibility is understated, to keep the readers interest and so as not to alarm. The colloquial register is maintained keeping the comfortable tenor and, the potential customer.

The message has now been conveyed clearly but subtly, that the time to save and plan for the future is now. This is closely followed by an imperative that is softened by the use of a modal auxiliary verb, “you could start by having a chat with our financial advisers”. The caring tone adopted here gains the trust of the potential customer and draws them closer to a sale.

The text uses a semantic field that is not obvious initially; the words ‘carrying’ and ‘burden’ have connotations of a struggle and put into context here, a financial struggle. The play on the audiences’ fears is a technique that has been used very successfully in the advertising industry for years and as can be seen in this advert, still is. The reader is soon reassured; the Halifax’s advisers “can ease the burden with simple yet sound advice”. The use of sibilance here is also a key feature of advertisers as this adds a memorable aspect to the wording, and used here, further emphasizes the help available, with an inconspicuous soothing effect.

Parenthesis used in the advert gives further information regarding the cost of a private school. The writer makes assumptions here that the clients’ children will be going to a private school and makes use of an interjection, expressing astonishment at such a price, ‘a whopping 30,000’. The colloquial language is maintained keeping the reader comfortable and the suggestion of private school for the children may also appeal as a lifestyle choice to the reader. A definite modal auxiliary verb is also used to assure the reader that their advisers ‘will also help you protect your family’. Again, playing on the readers’ emotions in order to sell their services, but still in a very caring and supportive manner.

Other techniques demonstrated here are the uses of a pre-modification describing life assurance as the ‘right life assurance’, and of a superlative, the ‘best insurance scheme’. These methods are used regularly in the advertisement industry to ‘push’ the products or services being advertised and usually exaggerate the product’s benefits. It is interesting to note how the use of pre-modification and superlatives have been kept to a minimum in this advert. This is a deliberate choice made by the designer to deliver a level of sophistication to suit the target audience. It also maintains the company’s upright reputation, as over usage of these can appear ‘tacky’.

Grammatical errors occur purposely in the advert for the affect of maintaining the audience. Conjunctions, ‘And’ and ‘Because’ have been used at the beginning of paragraphs instead of elaborating and elongating the previous paragraph. This allows the designer to keep to the short digestable paragraphs that keep the readers interest.

The writer uses humour in the penultimate paragraph to keep the reader entertained and keeps things feeling colloquial and lighthearted. The use of alliteration also adds to the entertainment value and re-enforces the incentive for taking the financial services on offer, to care for the ‘bouncing baby’ you may have in the future. The last paragraph is very important in the advert. It maintains the colloquial register but makes use of an imperative, conveyed in a relaxed tone. ‘Pop into your local Halifax branch to arrange and appointment…’. A further motivational device, the free phone number, follows this.

A change in register is seen at the bottom of the advert. The wording is in bold upper case lettering to ensure the reader sees it and is more formal in tone. It reads, ‘FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR YOUNG FAMILIES – OUR EXPERTISE IS UNDERSTANDABLE’. The Halifax’s logo is centered strategically between these two clauses. The message relayed is that the financial services on offer are easy to understand and the logo reminds the reader of the professionalism and competence of the company that is offering their services. The professional standard of this advert lends confidence and reflects the professional service the reader can expect from such an establishment.