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Visual Analysis Paper

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Just Plain Nuts

Advertising is a marketing communication in the form of print, radio, and television intended to manipulate or persuade an audience to either start or to continue using a product. Ads can use humor, emotion, or facts in many different ways to get a point across. “When it comes to creating effective ads broad emotional appeal will win out every time, according to Orlando Wood managing director of BrainJuicer labs, which does research and development for clients in marketing and advertising.”
An ad for California Almonds from the Men’s Journal magazine features a middle-aged man, married (wedding ring), wearing a nice watch, trimmed cut hair and nice clothes. He is in shape, looks professional, and appears to be running for exercise. The image of the professional man, who is already in shape, leads viewers to believe the ad is targeting a specific, elitist audience as opposed to a wider demographic. The ad asks if viewers are taking the steps to stay fit and does not speak of getting fit, so it is definitely targeting an audience that is already in shape. The ad uses a logos appeal because it talks specifically about heart health and maintaining a healthy cholesterol level by using “scientific based evidence” listed at the bottom of the page.
Sex appeal and anxiety are also used to get the point across. Middle-age men are anxious about heart health because of their potential for heart attack. Advertisers want men to look at this and want to emulate the man in the ad because he appears to be fit and still in good health; viewers assume his fitness and health is because his diet includes almonds The fact that he is wearing a wedding ring might suggest he is motivated by wanting to be around longer for his family even though the ad does not show a woman or children.
The next ad from the women’s cooking magazine, All Recipes, features a balding, middle age, blue-collar worker. This ad uses a pathos appeal because an average man trying to look sexy and talking about building a guest house for his mother-in-law, usually a source of argument for a couple, is humorous. The man seems to be willing to do the one thing he would never do because the woman has baked a dessert for him. This ad tells a woman that if she uses the product she will be able manipulate her husband/partner to do what she wants because of the statement “bake and you shall receive.” The ad appears to be Egalitarian because it uses more of an average man and not a typical blond-haired, blue-eyed, muscled model. Most women can relate to this man in the picture as more of an average husband because of the tools in the background, uniform pants and blue-collared shirt. The website listed on the ad allows the audience to use their imagination as to what is on the website. The fact that the ad includes no other description makes the viewer want to go to the website to learn more about the product. In addition, the ad spreads over two pages with the majority of the picture on the left side and the website and logo on the bottom right side making the humor, not the logo, the focal point.
The final ad for Blue Diamond Almonds is from Health magazine geared towards women and mothers. The ad features a mother and daughter lying on the beach and a stamp stating the product as a winner of the magazine’s “healthiest food” award. The embrace of the mother and daughter combined with the award creates the feeling the product is trustworthy by using an ethos appeal. By featuring the on-the-go convenience of the package, different flavors and colorful packaging, appealing to mothers keeps the ad egalitarian. Sex appeal is used throughout this ad from the woman in the bikini to the container which has an hourglass shape that most women aspire to have. Since the ad did not use an “average” mom leads the viewer to draw the conclusion that if she uses this product she will obtain this body. There is no anxiety aspect in this ad because the woman appears to be relaxed on a beach. By highlighting the word “more” the viewer’s attention is drawn to the many different reasons to consume this snack.
Everyday advertising companies spend millions of dollars to sell their product. A logical conclusion is that ads work on a level below consciousness and may work on those who claim to be immune regardless of the appeal used in the ad. Since the market for any product, including nuts, is competitive companies employ different types of approaches. All three of the ads use a different appeal to reach a certain audience. The first one uses a Logos appeal focusing on logic, facts and statistics. The second ad uses a Pathos approach by using humor to grab the viewer’s attention. The third ad uses an Ethos appeal creating a legitimate, trustworthy, credible ad with the winner of the “2008 Healthiest Food Award” stamp. Regardless of the product featured if the advertisement connects with the audience it will sell.

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