Examine some of the ways that television advertising has developed since the 1950’s Television plays an important role in society today with almost every family in the UK owning a television if not two. Advertisements are a fantastic way for companies to sell their products or services. Television advertisements are really effective because so many people watch programmes on a regular basis. It is more effective than most other forms of advertising e.g. posters and radio, because people spend more of their free time watching their favourite soaps or series than looking at posters around town or listening to the radio in the car. Also, television tends to command a person’s full attention, whereas people often listen to the radio while doing something else e.g. getting dressed or driving their car.
Over the years adverts have changed with their audience so they remain just as successful. The question is how have they changed and what makes them so appealing to the audience. In the 1950’s adverts were very different to what they are today. The “Lux Soap” advert is a good example to show this. The advert begins with a frame, which says ‘An Interview with Googie Withers’ in fancy writing, which makes it look less like an advert. Also, the fact that it has Googie Withers, a star of the day, in the advert helps sell the product. The advert is in black and white and is quite slow paced showing the technology difference between the 1950s and modern day.
In the 1950s, the height of glamour and sophistication was visiting the cinema, and the music used in the background is Hammond Organ music that is often seen in old films. This makes the viewer think about the cinema, and gives the product a sense of classiness and beauty. After the introduction frame, the advert zooms in on a lady who seems to be Googie’s secretary. She says that Googie is in a press conference. This is an attempt at realism although it fails, as it is so unconvincing. However, this sets the story by conveying Googie’s importance.
The advert continues to a room with Googie Withers and two school children, who look like teenagers. Direction is visible and intrusive as the poses are ‘held’ before the action is ready to start. This makes it look unnatural. Also, the reaction shots are exaggerated, making the characters look ridiculous and unrealistic. One of the girls asks a question, “Off the record, what is your beauty secret?” Because she says “off the record” it gives the viewer the idea that they are about to know Withers’ beauty secrets which helps sell the product.
The speech used by the characters also adds to this as it is obviously scripted so it sounds artificial. The people use no confluence features of conversation such as hesitation, pauses, repetition and fillers. Also, the characters wait in turn for the chance to speak, whereas in normal conversation people overlap each other with speech. The accents used are obviously marked Received Pronunciation, which is also quite unreal, and the characters use unsubtle emotive language, such as “splendid” and when they describe the product as “purity itself”.
The expectations of the audience are quite low as the advert explains everything rather than allowing the audience to figure things out themselves. For example, the camera work draws obvious attention to the product by zooming in on it. The setting of the soap enhances its aesthetic appeal as they have placed it on a black cushion. This gives the audience the idea that it is some kind of precious jewel and gives the product glamorous characteristics.
As a whole, the advert uses simple marketing techniques. The idea of celebrity endorsement has changed these days because now celebrities tend to play different characters rather than themselves, whereas Googie plays herself possibly as she would be normally. The adverts discourse structure was also very simple, they might as well have said, “How do you get such a beautiful complexion?” and answered it with “I use Lux Soap”. Now, the adverts are more complex than this.
As technology improved so did adverts, and in the 1980’s a good example of an advert was for Hovis. There were three different commercials for Hovis, each showing the same sort of thing. The first thing that sticks in the mind of the audience is the music. The product identification with Dvorjak’s New Symphony is very strong and the music really gets stuck in your head. The music itself seems quite old as it sounds like it is being played on a gramophone rather than on a CD.
It’s quite warm and reminds the audience of family times, which implies homeliness and comfort. It is quite slow paced so it gives the idea of tranquillity. Also, it evokes the idea of brass band or colliery band music adding to the idea of old fashioned and traditional. The first of the adverts features a young boy cycling up a cobbled street to deliver bread to ‘Old Ma Pegotty’. This is a character from Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’. This builds the product associations with traditional and classic English quality.