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Advertisement Analysis Essay Thesis Statement

Copyright 2011 by Gary L. Pullman

According to Jib Fowles, to sell products and services, advertisers appeal to one or more of fifteen emotions:

1 The need for sex
2. The need for affiliation
3. The need to nurture
4. The need for guidance
5. The need to aggress
6. The need to achieve
7. The need to dominate
8. The need for prominence
9. The need for attention
10. The need for autonomy
11. The need to escape
12. The need to feel safe
13. The need for aesthetic sensations
14. The need to satisfy curiosity
15. Physiological needs: food, drink, sleep, etc.

In addition, I have found, most advertisements also use a visual metaphor, texts which often involve a play on words and suggests the visual metaphor, and, of course, various visual design elements (such as models, props, color, size, shape, and texture). In fact, in an assignment that I give my freshman composition students, I ask them to use the following sentence to structure their advertising analysis essay:

The name of product advertisement in Title of Magazine uses a metaphor to equate the product to an object or experience to which the advertised product is equated and uses such visual design elements as identify specific elements (colors, shapes, props) to sell the product.
To provide a model, I then offer this sample five-paragraph essay, first identifying the thesis sentence and the topic sentences, which I underline in the essay itself:

THESIS: To sell a men's magazine, the Ché advertisement in Commuter World magazine uses a metaphor to equate the product to a “better” dream world and shows a promiscuous young woman approaching a trolley station.

TOPIC SENTENCE 1: The advertisement’s text, “Let’s keep dreaming of a better world,” equates Ché magazine to a place in which beautiful, promiscuous young women are readily available to any man.

TOPIC SENTENCE 2: The female model is shown from behind, so that the viewer is encouraged to see her as an object rather than as a person.

TOPIC SENTENCE 3: The model approaches a trolley station, which symbolizes the connection that she intends to make with the train that will take her to her destination.
I also include a picture of the advertisement. Here’s the result:

INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: Men’s magazines feature articles concerning topic of interest to their subscribers: alcoholic beverages, sporty automobiles, hunting and fishing, politics, scientific and technological breakthroughs, workplace guidance, travel and tourism, and, of course, dating. Some, such as Playboy, also boast of interviews with the rich and famous and of short stories by popular or even renown writers. There are apt to be jokes and cartoons, too, mostly about sexual matters. The mainstay of such magazines, however, isn’t the news, advice, humor, or fiction, but the photographs of beautiful young women wearing little or no clothing. It makes sense, then, that an advertisement for a men’s magazine, whether foreign or domestic, would appeal to such periodicals’ strongest selling point. If humor can be used to make the sales pitch, so much the better, but, when it comes to promoting men’s magazines, nothing sells as well as sex, as marketers for the European men‘s magazine Ché are well aware. To sell a men's magazine, the Ché advertisement in Commuter World magazine uses a metaphor to equate the product to a “better” dream world and shows a promiscuous young woman approaching a trolley station.

BODY PARAGRAPH 1: The Ché advertisement in Commuter World magazine uses a metaphor to equate the product to a “better” dream world. The accompanying text at the bottom of the advertisement, which is printed in smaller font than the message on the model’s skirt, indicates that the image that the advertisement creates--of a nubile young woman who is available to anyone who is interested in calling her--is a fantasy: “Let us keep on dreaming of a better world.” The advertisement has a playful tone, suggesting that the “better world” to which it alludes would be a fun place to be, and the fun would be of a physically intimate variety. Following this fine print, as it were, is the logo that identifies the product that the advertisement is selling, Ché, a “men’s magazine.” The model seems to represent the sort of fantasy girl that the magazine is apt to feature on a routine basis. By purchasing or subscribing to this magazine, customers gain admittance to the “better world” of fun-loving, available dream girls.

BODY PARAGRAPH 2: The female model is shown from behind, so that the viewer is encouraged to see her as an object rather than as a person. Her face is not shown. Therefore, the emphasis of the picture is on her body, rather than her face, on the physical rather than the personal. She is an object, rather than a person. She wears a simple, green top that exposes her midriff, a charm bracelet, and a white mini-skirt. A small, simple, black purse is slung over her right shoulder. She is the largest object in the picture, and she is the closest to the image’s center, her positioning within the picture, like her size, emphasizing her over everything else that is depicted in the advertisement. Next to the figure of the young woman herself, the most outstanding prop in the picture is her skirt. It is short enough to reveal the lower portions of her buttocks, which are bare, suggesting that she either wears a thong or no underwear at all. The exposure of these parts of her anatomy draws the eye, as does the apparent fringe that adorns the bottom of her skirt, some of the tassels of which are missing, revealing the parts of her buttocks that show. There is something else odd about the fringe: the tassels, which are short, rectangular strips, bear printed text that is too small to read. However, on the seat of her skirt, in red cursive lettering, below which is an arrowhead, pointing downward, is the message, “My number.” This message makes it clear to the advertisement’s viewer that the text printed on the tassels identifies her telephone number. Her skirt is itself an advertisement of the sort that includes, along its bottom edge, a series of tags that are printed with a telephone number to which those who are interested in the product or the service that the advertisement promotes may respond. Essentially, the model is saying, to all interested parties, “Call me.” It is based upon a play on words, alluding to the common phrase, “I have your number.”

BODY PARAGRAPH 3: The model approaches a trolley station, which symbolizes the connection that she intends to make with the train that will take her to her destination. The train represents opportunity. The model is approaching the station. If the viewer were present, he might meet her, and, if he were to join her on the trolley, the train might convey him--or, rather, him and the young woman--to a common destination. The silent text of the advertisement seems to be. “Don’t miss the train!” and represents a call to action, or, in the language of the trade, the closing sales pitch. From a Freudian point of view, the train is also a phallic symbol, which suggests, even more clearly, the sexual nature of the destination to which the young woman and her date will travel, if he calls her and arranges to meet her at the station.

CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: If advertisements are any indicator of such matters, it seems safe to say that men and women are interested in vastly different types of pursuits. Advertisements in women’s magazines indicate that women are interested in spotless kitchens, a healthy, well-fed family, a clean home, fashionable clothing and accessories, travel, interior design, furniture, and business careers. Men’s magazines’ advertisements suggest that their readers’ interests are fewer by far and simpler: food, sex, and cars. An advertisement for Ché men’s magazine, in fact, makes it clear that many men would welcome as “a better world” one in which women are not only readily available sexually but travel to one’s doorstep, in answer to a telephone call. For most men, the advertisement suggests, life just doesn’t get any better than that!

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Dove Advertisement Analysis

Dove body wash is a Unilever brand under personal care category. It is a packaged consumer good under the beauty classification. Dove Body wash caters for the generic female market since it is a beauty body wash. For the purpose of this case study, the focus will be on dove body wash for beauty (Egendorf, 2006). Dove body wash for women is sold in over 80 countries in the world. it is, however, produced in only 13 countries spread over six continents. this means that the company has to come up with the right advertising approach to gain presence in the countries where it does not have active production of the product.

Purpose of the advert

Unilever ltd, the owner of Dove brand, realized that there are issues that affect female demographic that stem from the advertising campaigns. In 2004, the company pointed out that most of the women grapple with self-acceptance and body image. The media is awash with falsified perceptions of the ideal beauty. Dove Body wash advertisement, which is part of Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, seeks to discount the stereotypes peddled by conventional adverts the campaign’s goal is portraying the benefits of the body wash as real. The advert portrays the body wash as a product that has attainable benefits among all the women regardless of how they look.

Creative strategy

Adverts in the cosmetic industry use models whose looks are above the ordinary woman that eventually uses the advertised product (Blythe, 2006). As a result, the consumers of the product end up with a false an idea about the product. prolonged use of the cosmetic products advertised using the generic approaches is disappointing since the product in itself is incapable of changing the look of the consumer to match up with the model (Egendorf, 2006). The mismatch between expectations and outcomes leads to increasing dissatisfaction with the product hence the decline in sales.

Dove body wash is part of female product line that has positioned itself as a brand that can be used by all women regardless of their looks. The advertisement campaign works towards the creation of self-acceptance through propulsion of the ideal that beauty is relative and unique. Therefore, there is no need for a woman to work towards vane emulation of plastic beauty peddled by the majority of the advertisements in the cosmetic industry.

Dove Body wash advertisement Campaign not only focuses on the social aspects of beauty. On the contrary, it states the simple capabilities of the body wash without any form of exaggeration. The adverts also mirror the reliability of the Dove body wash for women body care. The adverts use real women as opposed to the models in order to indicate the real goal of the product, which is taking care of all the diversified needs of the women regardless of their looks or race. Because of this creativity, the company has been able to distance itself from the fallacies of beauty while attending to the real needs of the clientele (Blythe, 2006).

social media advertisements

The social media campaign for doe body wash is accommodative of the women regardless of their look. It is an extension of the mainstream media advertisements which seek to portray the women according to their real beauty.

Read also about the advertisement analysis on Bentley Motors


Major competitor for the product is Nivea, which is produced by German based company Bierersdof. Nivea body wash are sold using the Nivea name just as Dove body wash. Nivea body wash has become increasingly diversified to include the male products. However, the Nivea adverts have always been poised for the niche market made of the well to do people. Dove body wash is inclusive whereby; they seek to meet the needs of all the people. They are also diversified such that they cater for the different women needs (Egendorf, 2006). Both companies use the same media outlets to advertise their products. The companies advertise on billboards, mass and print media.

The main difference in the company’s adverts is the focus that they assume. Nivea body wash are advertised using the generic approach of models. The essence of Nivea adverts is to create the illusion among the women that they will end up with the looks similar to those of the models. The direct message in the Nivea adverts is how transformed the user will be after using the products being advertised (Pride & Ferrell, 2008). The subtle message in the adverts is that the women have to look like the models for them to be deemed as beautiful.

This perception is misleading since some of the qualities that the model have are inherent. There is nothing that the product adds to the inherent qualities (Kotler, 2000). On the other hand, Dove body wash is advertised using real women. The advertisement approach sends the message that one does not have to be a model or possess model-like qualities to be beautiful. As a result, most of the women are open to the idea of self-acceptance. Dove campaigns are based on truth without any unnecessary exaggerations.

Media strategy

Dove Body wash Campaign, which is part of Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, uses most of the conventional media outlets to publicize the idea. There are advertisements on the digital media such as the television and FM stations. Adverts for the campaign are designed to suit the target media. However, the modifications do not change the main message of appreciating the real beauty in the women. The billboards used for the campaign depict happy women from all the races. Promotion of the fund is by extension promotion of the brand.

Blythe, J. (2006). Marketing (1st ed.). London: SAGE Publications.
Egendorf, L. (2006). Advertising (1st ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
Kotler, P. (2000). Marketing management (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Pride, W., & Ferrell, O. (2008). Marketing (1st ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.