Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Commercial Analysis by Julianna Salman

Nike has been one of the leading companies to create a strong image for themselves all over the world. Their products are well known for their quality and durability, and they are established and well-respected by its consumers. The unique selling approach to Nike is that they are known for possessing an unparalleled marketing campaign; they created an ideology along with selling a product. The quality of their products is already known, Nike has been placed at the top of the hierarchy of brand salience. What Nike offers, as far as positioning, is a sense of cultural belonging, the promise of individual accomplishment, and encourages dreams of parity with the world's greatest athletes. Nike is able to create this commodity sign and brand image through their latest commercial titled The Human Chain.

This commercial is visually stunning and powerful thanks to the cinematography and editing to create this fluid movement throughout the piece. It is showcasing the skills of top athletes, featuring an eclectic mix of talents including, Lance Armstrong, LaDanian Tomilson, Maria Sharipova, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and Derron Williams. Along with these world class athletes, the ad also features regular athletes, especially younger children, working on improving their skills. The video also features the track "Ali in the Jungle" by British band, the Hours. The song is the narrative of the commercial, where the lyrics are used as Nike's intention of simply asking you if you get knocked down, how quick are you going to get up?

The opening shot of the first sequence is of a runner with prosthetic legs at the starting line of the track in an empty stadium. The music begins, with a close up of his prosthetic legs, then we see a wide of him taking off at the sound of the gun. There are multiple images of the same athlete running, showing his progression down the track. While he is shown wearing Nike apparel, the focus is more on his performance. The commercial is called the human chain because it is creating a beautiful, unbroken chain of human movement using the time lapse photography style.

In the third shot we see the transition from the track star to the soccer player, again it is in the same format of this time-lapse imagery where we see multiple images of the same person moving differently and simultaneously. While the music continues to play, the style of how this commerical was shot urges you to push forward while looking back at your displacement from just a split-second ago, as one short action is actually a chain of events sparked by the will to progress and move forward. The audience continues to see this through other athletic disciplines such as basketball, tennis, martial arts, bmx, bull riding. Seeing these different athletes working hard and practicing with such determination, Nike is attempting to reach a broad audience and hoping to inspire them by showing them how these athletes perform.

Nike's intention is to inspire the consumer, its positioning is to be memorable, not necessarily focusing on the use of the product but what the product represents. The commercial uses an extraordinary and excessive style to capture individualism and progress. It is appealing to a higher sense of excellence and instills a sense of individual accomplishment. There's a lot of emotional raw power throughout this commerical because towards the middle of these great athletes' practices there is conflict. In this shot the chain crashes and as the athlete, mixed martial artists, Rampage Jackson falls down. There is close up shot of him on the ground lying there for a still moment. The song is extremely important in this clip because it says "everybody gets knocked down" repeatedly. This moment creates a very organic feeling of how humans, even the best athletes in the world, are not perfect. The beauty of this scene is that it is not glamorized or glorified, it embodies failure and how one can get out of sync or break off from the chain. By showing a top athlete falling down and failing it makes it more relatable to the consumer, it has a very realistic approach and persuades them that even these god-like athletes are not perfect and do have to work hard.

The following shot is of the same athlete immediately getting back up to his feet after the following words from the song say "how quick are you gonna get up?" The chain is then back into sync transitioning to the next sport, football, as the football player is seen pushing his way through the opposing team again in the same multiple image format.

The final shot has the most impact as it is a continuation of the human chain with the last featured athlete, Lance Armstrong. It shows a smooth transition of him riding down the roadside, with extreme focus and determination. Also you can see more of the Nike brand and his partnership with his Livestrong campaign. Here the ad not only draws on our knowledge of the content presented but on our knowledge of the world. For example the ad pushes the audience to want to do further research of these athletes and find out what their struggles are, and how they accomplished so much while facing these obstacles. Putting Lance Armstrong at the very end left a strong impression because of the use of intertextuality. The audience knows his relationship with Nike and struggle with cancer and Tour de France victories. His success solidifies Nike’s intended message of the advertisement.

Nike draws interconnections with their product and various popular sports, that relate to individual athletic success with prominent athletes constructing a convincing world of symbols, ideas, and values harnessing the desires of individuals to the consumption. From Lance Armstrong on his bike, to a six-year-old in China learning martial arts, movement is the universal language that connects us all. It’s a language of beauty, drama, tragedy and triumph. And the road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure.

Commercial Analysis

This commercial begins with a model walking dramatically in what appears to be the desert as music builds. The camera fades to black and the line “This Christmas” is shown on the screen. We see the model again briefly, then “Victoria’s Secret presents” is shown. Again with the model, and now the line “One gift” is shown. They are really driving up the suspense here. The doors open to a big house with a model in a chair in the middle of the room, and we see the line “A thousand fantasies.”

Now the action happens. The music comes in strongly and suddenly there are models coming out of helicopters, hanging out on motorcycles, walking through fire, and throwing knives. It is all very entertaining and exciting, and nobody even questions why these women are all in lingerie since that is typical of the kind of movies the commercial is emulating anyway.

Of course there are also random shots thrown in of the models just posing in the lingerie and looking at the camera in their seductive and slightly pouty way. No Victoria’s Secret commercial would be complete without them. The typical “fierce walking shots” are included as well. The commercial seems to be more concerned with featuring the models than the actual lingerie, since in some of these shots you cannot even really see what the model is wearing and may just see a close-up of her face.

Various “movie set” props are shown so that it appears that we are watching the models as they star in a movie. Intertextuality is used in the ad to refer to action movies. The entire commercial is really just a condensed version of an action thriller. Basically it is Victoria’s Secret meets Transformers, which is fitting since the commercial is directed by the explosion-loving Michael Bay.

The commercial is done in typical Michael Bay style, complete with helicopters and explosions. Even though these things may not be what people normally associate with lingerie, an association is created for the theme and product through the story of the commercial and its focus on fantasy. This association portrays Victoria’s Secret as a brand that is exciting and their product as something that will fulfill the consumer’s wildest fantasies.

This Victoria’s Secret commercial explores the theme of fantasy fulfillment. It features the models in various larger-than-life, straight out of a movie scenes that are meant to represent the fantasies of the audience. The fantasy fulfillment theme appeals to the consumer’s sense of lack by interpellating that they are unsatisfied with their normal lives and wish that they could be hanging out with Marisa Miller in her underwear on a pool table (or that they could be Marisa Miller.) Since that is not a realistic goal for most people, why not buy the lingerie she is seen in for yourself or your special lady friend so that you can feel a little bit like you’re a part of that fantasy scenario? Buying the lingerie is probably as close as you’re ever going to get to that particular fantasy. The fact that the commercial is set up to look like the models are filming a movie adds another dimension to the fantasy aspect. Wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie is not only enough to make you feel like a supermodel; you get to feel like a supermodel filming a high budget action flick. Who knew buying a bra could make all of someone’s wildest dreams come true?

This commercial utilizes a soft sell approach to sell the product. Even though the product is featured prominently (though not as prominently as the models themselves), very little information about the product is actually given other than what it looks like on a supermodel and where it can be purchased. Emotional appeals are used to hook consumers. The whole premise of the commercial is that you should fulfill your fantasies, which presumably consist of being with or actually being a Victoria’s Secret model, by purchasing lingerie from Victoria’s Secret. The company uses beautiful models in the ad because seeing them wearing the product creates a desire for the consumer to want to emulate them, which they can accomplish somewhat by buying the product.

No matter how outlandish the fantasies portrayed in the commercial may actually be, the exciting feel of it is likely to make people associate the lingerie with the way they felt when they were watching the commercial. Even people who do not necessarily want purchase lingerie to emulate a Victoria’s Secret model are likely to be entertained by the commercial, so the positive associations the commercial makes on an entertainment level are effective. After all, the great majority of people have to buy underwear, even the ones that don’t really care about underwear models. The commercial is memorable and this action movie strategy must have paid off, since Michael Bay has directed other commercials with similar themes for the company since this one.

Here is the full commercial:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Commercial Analysis

Here is the commercial I chose to critique for our commercial analysis. The product is Carlton Draught beer and is made in Australia.

Old & New Coke Commercial

I think this ad definitely produces a sense of nostalgia because throughout the entire commercial you see different clips from very old originial Coca Cola commercials. You see the classic polar bear we all used to know and love and even the little boy offering his coke to Mean Joe Greene that was in an ad decades ago. This particular commercial is all about knowing the secret formula for Coca Cola, but they did it in a way that would make everyone recollect on what Coca Cola used to be about and still is today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Intertextuality in T-Mobile ad

This is part of a series of ads by T-Mobile that features a representative of T-Mobile (cute girl in pink dress) as well as one guy to represent AT&T (older traditional business suit guy) and another to represent iPhone (young dude). This entire campaign is a reference to the older "I'm a Mac; I'm a PC" ads that Apple used to do, which was then referenced by Windows in their "I'm a PC" ads, and now we have these ads comparing T-Mobile to AT&T. Slightly confusing, but it's been shoved in our faces so much by now that surely everyone gets the reference and is "in on the joke," thus the T-Mobile ad accomplishes what it wants.

Nostalgia in Orville Redenbacher ad

Orville Redenbacher (the company, not the man) wanted to evoke a sense of nostalgia so badly that they decided to use CGI to bring the man himself back from the grave to sell popcorn. Despite the fact that his image has been used on packaging for the products in the past even after his death, he hasn't been alive to endorse them in speaking ads for several years. I suppose they wanted us to see the kindly old man and think back fondly to an innocent time long ago... But actually it's just creepy. Public response wasn't great either and the ads didn't last long.

Diet Coke

I feel like this Diet Coke ad creates a sense of irony. A diet coke can appears with a Starbucks like warmer around the can and the text above the diet coke can says "Good Morning." This ad is implying that Diet Coke in the morning is as good as coffee is to start your day. But I mean it's kind of ironic to show this can with a warmer on it because a diet coke that is so hot to burn your hand would not taste great at all. Diet coke is best enjoyed cold. And I know it's to create the coffee vs diet coke idea but its funny and ironic at the same time. It should have had a koozie around it.

Nostalgia in Coke Ads

Nostalgia is used in ads to make people remember what "the good ole days" were like. A time that they would love to be able to relive over and over or at least go back to for a moment. Coke ads always bring on that sense of nostalgia to me. This ads brings on a sense of the days when people went to the ballpark on Sundays after church. A family day out at the ballpark. This classic bottle on the mound also hits home to older generations when this is the only packaging it was sold in. An ice cold bottled coke at the ballpark is a time worth wanting to go back to.

Here is my commercial for our paper... Where has it been (Dodge Durango commercial

T-Mobile Commercial Dwyane Wade & Charles Barkley Nostalgic

This ad for T-Mobile is a good example of nostalgia as it appeals to a sense of lack. Here, we see retired basketball player Charles Barkley watching old footage of his days playing basketball in the 80s. He is making current basketball star Dwayne Wade watch this in order to be in his “top 5”. The style of the ad creates a sense of nostalgia because you see Dwayne Wade, a young up and coming basketball player, with a lollipop, almost child- like, being forced to watch Charles Barkley’s old games. Charles Barkley does this because he sees a lot of himself in Wade when he was in the NBA and by making him watch his old videos it fills that void of lack for Barkley that he misses from being a basketball star in the past.

I think this ad gives a sense of nostalgia to it's audience. It first approaches the style that creates a sense of experience and good background history by using the spokesperson that was originally used in the past. I think that even the word choice that they use for the slogan gives off this idea of bringing people back to the past. Underneath "Orville Redenbacher's" on the popcorn bowl to the right, it says, "Gourmet Popping Corn"; I think that by using the word choice of 'popping corn', it reminds people of the elders in their lives who they can relate to as having the best food and recipes, whether that be a cooked meal or fattening snacks such as popcorn.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

AT&T Childhood Memory

This commercial for AT&T reminded me of something with a bit of nostalgia. The commercial has the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory song as a reminder of a childhood memory. Then asks you to go back to when you were five years old. Back to a time of being carefree and happy and AT&T can give you back that feeling.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Werther's Nostalgic Ad

When we started talking about nostalgic ads in class I immediately thought of this old Welcher’s butterscotch commercial that features a young kid talking to his grandpa about imitation butterscotches and the surprising feeling they had over people actually buying them. At the end the put up the text the original and I feel like this commercial tries to take people back to an original moment in their childhood and talking to an elder like a grandparent having some type of knowledge imparted on them. Of course, they were probably talking about something more important than not buying imitation butterscotch candy, but this ad tries to play off of those kind of moments.

Trojan Irony

This Trojan condom ad displays irony because the groom passes his father-in-law’s test by seemingly passing on hooking up with his other daughter after she proposes hooking up to him. However, as the ad shows, the father-in-law was a little bit too quick to commend his future son-in-law because he wasn’t going to his car to get away from the other, very attractive sister. He was actually going in there to grab some condoms but comes out looking like a hero anyway because everyone in the family thinks he was dissing the other sister. The only thing that puts even a little bit of a damper on the groom’s stroke of luck is that the hot sister gives him a look of disappointment as if she really was wanting to hook up, not just set him up for failure.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In this ad the performers from the popular series Glee burst into song and dance to represent the new Folsom Chevrolet. The catchy tune of, "See the U.S.A." consists of the group dressed all in white, looking classy, syncronized and clean. The ad is embedded with intertextualities because every performer from the actual series is present to create one commercial for Chevrolet. Also, this ad connects the Chevrolet commercial in with an actual ad for the show Glee. By representing Chevrolet AND Glee it is a win/win situation.

Pepperidge Farm Remembers

I find many advertisements for food products use nostalgia as a means for authenticity. As a society we find comfort in our home, and for the lucky ones we find superiority in our mother's home cooked meals. If any food product could rival the tasty goodness we grew up with than there is an automatic draw to it. In this Pepperidge Farm commercial the old man presents a pretty straight forward form of nostalgia. Using an old fashioned toaster with his apparent grandson sitting next to him, he wants the veiwer to remember that family relationship. The elderly spokeperson recalls the time in our childhood when our grandmother made us our raisin toast and all that "buttery" deliciousness. This correlates to Freudian theory of how we long for that motherly (or in this case grandmotherly) closeness and feel an emptiness. Perhaps enjoying this Pepperidge Farm toast will alleviate the longing we have to go back to that time, because Pepperidge Farm "remembers" too.

Postmodern Blog Assignment

Post a TV commercial or print ad that uses strategies of nostalgia, irony, or intertextuality. In about 100 words, describe why you think it uses that strategy, and how it works in the ad through style and content.

Score: 10 points for Ad and Description (Choose either nostalgia, irony, or intextuality)

BONUS: Get another 10 points by doing another ad and description for one of the terms not used for the first post. For example, if your first ad is about nostalgia, your second must be either irony or intertextuality.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Sample Ad Online Critique

[Below is a sample of what an online critique might look like instead of a written paper. This is a work in progress!]

One of the most famous television advertisements of all time only ran once--the Apple Macintosh ad from 1984. Here you would give a little more detail about the ad and why it was famous, or what it was for, such as how this was the way Apple introduced a new computer for the first time, or how the ad agency tried to get rid of both spots. Since you will be writing about a contemporary ad, you could describe other similar brands, or other strategies the brand has used. It is up to you. After your introduction to the ad, you should embed the ad like this.

Then you get on to general discussion of the ad, tacking whichever elements of it you think are the most important as discussed in the paper assignment. Rather than writing a shot chart, you should provide frame grabs of appropriate shots from the ad. The easiest way to get these is to hit pause while watching the video on YouTube, then do a screengrab. You can do this for all the shots you want, then open the screengrab files in a basic photo editing program to crop and resize them. You will also need to save them in the jpg format. You should provide 5-10 screen grabs to illustrate the visual techniques in the ad, and place them at appropriate points in your online essay.

 This commercial begins with a very gloomy scene, faceless humans in drab clothes marching in unison in a hallway past monitors. Although we see some closeups on their faces, they seem undistinguishable. The editing and photography emphasizes how they march in step.

This is contrasted with a lone woman runner who is striking in red shorts. She has what looks like the outline of a computer on her shirt, but it is very hard to see without the ability to pause to view the frame. She carries a hammer and is running forward with much intention. You should do a better job of describing what you see. I am writing off the top of my head just to show how to put things together.

Apple - Lemmings

Infamous "Lemmings" ad from Apple. Too far?

Mac Ad - think different - apple

Here's a Mac "Think Different ad from the late 90s or so. Simple aesthetics, appropriation.