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Advertising has always played in immense role in our society. Without advertising, the average consumer would not be able to be told what to buy. They would have nothing in their home, because no one told them to buy anything. It has become fact that advertising affects our daily lives everyday. "In 1915, a person could go entire weeks without observing an ad. The average adult today sees some three thousand every day" (Twitchell 203). This study is based on the Circuit City advertisement for their newly priced high definition plasma televisions.
There are six televisions on the advertisement along with every television playing the new released Star Wars Episode III. Every advertisement should be analyzed with great detail, which is what this study includes. Included is a complete analysis of the prices of the television, the incorporation of the newly released Star Wars film, and the weasel words that promote the purchase of the new home entertainment system. The consumers need to be entertained by television, newspaper, and internet has launched a new type of advertising. Advertisers are beginning to use famous entertainers in their advertisements so that people pay attention to them. Almost every advertisement that is seen today has somebody that the consumer will recognize.
Whether it be a movie star, a comedian, athlete, or a reality television star, the advertiser will make sure that a percentage of the viewing audience knows that person. Not only do they attract our attention with the use of somebody famous, they also attract our trust. By seeing this person on television all the time and especially if you like this person, you feel comfortable with the product almost immediately without even knowing what it is or does. We did it because consumers want to be entertained. It has an American Express message built in. We think it's built in a fairly seamless way.
It doesn't interfere with the enjoyment of the entertainment. So the consumer gets something, and they start to see the value of a relationship with American Express. We don't just come forward with what we want to sell, we engage you with things that you want in terms of the entertainment. (Goodman). American Express uses Jerry Seinfeld to endorse their product and incorporate it into a small skit that he does. Thus, the consumer has entertainment and advertisement in the same segment. They also have a sitcom star that almost everybody in America knows, so when they see Jerry Seinfeld, they do not put up a wall that blocks out the advertisement.
By taking a look at the Circuit City advertisement that this paper is based on, you can see something very similar. The Circuit City advertisement had nothing or very little to do with the creation of Star Wars Episode III. Yet, the entire advertisement is covered with this feature film. There are hundreds of thousands of consumers who are Star Wars fanatics. By targeting these people, they hope to target the audience that loves special effects as well as new innovative technology. Once you understand the code, you understand why people do what they do.
For example, the code for the French -- once you understand the code, you may understand why [French president Jacques] Chirac reacted this way to Bush, because for the French, the code is "to think. " That's it: to think. "I think, therefore I am" -- not "I do, "I think. " The French believe [that they are] the only thinkers of the world and that they think for the rest of the world. They believe that Americans never think; they just do things without knowing why. And so in this situation, where Bush say[s], "Let's do it, " the French say, "No, wait, think; we need to think" (Rapaille). The United States is a country that acts on impulse.
The first thing the consumer would do when seeing the Star Wars ad is either love it or hate it. If the consumer loved Star Wars, they may be tempted to run to Circuit City and purchase a brand new plasma television so they can watch the latest chapter in the saga in high definition. Why does the consumer think like this? Because they are told that the new high definition plasma televisions are better. The advertisement shows Darth Vader much larger and clearer than on a regular television set.
The advertisement also states that the LCD television reduces glare from indoor and outdoor lighting, so the film will not be interrupted. So, is the picture really that much better on the brand new television? Everyone thinks that advertising is full of lies, but it's not what you think. The facts presented in advertising are almost always accurate, not because advertising people are sticklers but because their ads are very closely regulated.
If you make a false claim in a commercial on network television, the FTC will catch it. Someone always blows the whistle. The real lie in advertising - some would call it the "art" of advertising - is harder to detect. What's false in advertising lies in the presentation of situations, values, beliefs, and cultural norms that form a backdrop for the selling message (Chat). Chat explains that the high definition television is in actuality better than a regular television set. What is harder to determine is the actuality of seeing the movie in a different perspective with a high definition television or a regular television.
The advertisers goal is to hope that the Star Wars addicts buy into the idea that the movie will be better on a high definition television. They want the consumer to believe that without the high definition television, the viewer will not see the complete magnitude of the film. Says Stewart, Were the most consumer-driven society in the world. Do you think that a lot of our companies get it wrong?
A lot of them, says Rapaille. A lot of them. (Cracking). Circuit City may have completely underestimated the intelligence of Star Wars addicts. They may receive a few sales, but more than 90 % of them could quite possibly not care if they watch their new Star Wars on a regular television or a new high definition television.
In this scenario, Circuit City was wrong. But, they have almost undoubtedly run ads such as this one before and received a good amount of sales after the ad was placed. Though advertisers spend billions on each advertisement and make mistakes, they put a lot of planning and preparation into each one. "Card stacking is a difficult form of propaganda both to detect and to combat. Advertisers often stack the cards in favor of the products they are pushing.
They may, for instance, use what are called "weasel words. " These are small words that usually slip right past us, but that make the difference between reality and illusion (McClintock) The Circuit City advertisement uses the card stacking technique in many ways. The word price break is the most noticeable word on the entire advertisement. Towards the bottom of the advertisement is a phrase that says theater-like home audio. The consumer may read that phrase so quickly that he thinks that it says theater home audio. This may persuade the consumer to purchase the home entertainment system because he wants to feel like he is in a theater. Advertising has come a long way from what it used to be and has a long way to go before we see anything new.
The advertisers have found quite a few niches where they can work from and still get a large quantity of consumers to purchase their products. With the help of psychologists, sociologists, and many other doctors that focus on how the human brain works, it will be extremely difficult to tackle the advertisement industry as we know it today. References Chat, Jay. "Illusions Are Forever. " Illusions Are Forever. 03 Nov. 2005 < web >. "Cracking Open Your Wallet. " CBS News 7 Aug 2005. 03 Nov 2005 web >. Goodman, Barak. "The Persuaders. " Frontline: The Persuaders. 11 Sep 2004. PBS. 03 Nov. 2005 web >. McClintock, Ann. "Mcclintock.
PDF. " Propaganda Techniques in Toda Advertising. 03 Nov. 2005 < web >. Rapaille, Clotaire. Internet Published interview. 11 Sep 2004. Twitchell, James B. "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz. " Signs of Life.
Eds. Sonia Mask and Jack Solomon. 3 rd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2000. 202 - 221.
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