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Advertisement Description: Critical/Contextual Analysis Essay


In the competitive world, communication is conveyed in several ways. The response of the target audience to a given message will depend on how best the message has been displayed to be analyzed by the said audience. The most common means of communication is through signs and images.

Business organizations and various stakeholders apply images in conveying their message to the target audience. In order for the said image to be effective, the advertiser must be able to make a detailed evaluation of what these images connote, how and when they are used and their importance to the society (Chandler & Daniel 2004, p.54).

This means that the images should be carrying some connotative meanings, other than the denotative ones that can be easily interpreted. They may be carrying some myths or something the community cherishes. Some signs are polygenic in nature since they carry more than one meaning. Therefore, care should be taken when they are used so that the intended meaning comes out.

This paper attempts to make an analysis of an advertisement image. There are three modes of advertisements: Presenter, Demonstration and slice of life. The focus of the analysis will be on presenter advertisement. A presenter advertisement exhibits how a product works by demonstrating the unique product attributes and effectively explaining the product or service to the viewers.

This form of advertisement can equally help a business to highlight how the specific needs of another third party business can be met. Presenter advertisements are best suited for internet flash and television.

The signifier is the picture depicted in the advertisement. It is through interpreting the image that we create meaning from the advertisement. The text on the other hand is the signified; it highlights the meaning that the signifier indicates.

When making an advertisement, several factors are considered. Some of these factors include gender, age, and class of the targeted group (Chiazzari & Suzy 1998, p. 256). Cost of advertisement is a major challenge when choosing the kind of advertisement to make.

Advertisements have a lot of impact to the public and therefore the corporate world has developed common trend especially when introducing new products into the market.

The image used in this advertisement is that of Thierry Henry. Thierry Henry is an international footballer, an icon, and a renowned person who has worked hard in the field of football to make sure his team prospers. The said advertisement describes a football icon that is not afraid to fail in all his endeavors but hates to lose.

This means that the advert urges the subject of the target group to undertake all their activities and focus on winning despite the challenges (Chiazzari & Suzy 1998, p.255). The iconic figure of Thierry Henry as used in the advert shows a person who has put his fear behind and thereby shows his willingness to try new ideas to become successful.

The use of image also describes a person who is hopeful without having doubts. However, the introduction of the dormant Reebok sign at the bottom of the advertisement heightens the tone of the advert and as such, urges the subjects of the target group to put doubts behind them and move on with new ideas.

Reebok is an international company dealing with sportswear materials and produces accessories, athletic shoes, and apparel. The company has struggled through several barriers to achieve an international recognition (Talbot 1998, p.144). The advertisement image is portrayed in this picture is on the billboard.

The billboard is large enough such that people can see it from a far distance. It can be noted that such a large size is also visible to people who are inside a moving vehicle. Thierry looks regretting as shown by his face signifying someone who lost in the past because he was afraid to fail.

The tone of the message, that is, the use of bold and light colored writings signifies courage and not hesitating. Therefore, the target group should never lose hope when exploring new ideas.

Based on the picture and the message portrayed, Thierry Henry represents the middle-aged population of young men and women (youth) who are afraid of exploring new opportunities that come on their way. When one glance at the advert, what is seen first is bright picture of football icon Thierry Henry, followed by some bold and light written words, “I am not afraid to fail but I hate to lose”.

The first intention of the advertiser was to attract the onlookers because the bright color of Thierry is very conspicuous and strikes the eyesight very fast and therefore everyone brings his or her attention to the advert.

The information written on the advert has a lot to tell the target audience. The way the information has been written can be interpreted in two ways. First, the advertiser is targeting someone who knows how to identify and interpret images and second, the advertiser is targeting someone who does not know how to interpret images but can read and analyze the information (Saussure 2011, p.59).

The information is very polite and suggestive. The advertiser tells the audience (who can read but not interpret the image) that indeed he looks like someone who is afraid to explore new ideas and is deemed to lose (Tolston 1996, p.73). The same message is passed to someone with ability to read and interpret the image, which adds some emphasize to his understanding.

This image implies that if one comes across good opportunities in life its good to explore on them without fear otherwise he will stand lose and regret.

In addition, the image is very advising in that both the image and the written words are advising the target group they should never be afraid to fail but never give a chance for loss. The youthful generation is also advised to try to maneuver through several opportunities as they make critical decisions in life.

The notion of symbolism technique is used in the advert. The sign of Reebok and the image of Thierry Henry are symbolic and as such, it has proved effective as the main idea behind the advert is passed (Lewis 2007, p.108).

The subject of the targeted group should never regret anytime in their entire life instead, they should avoid any fear associated to their failure and develop a positive attitude towards winning just like Reebok Company and Thierry Henry does.

This is because despite several challenges that Thierry Henry has gone through in the football arena he always strived to excel and the same for Reebok Company, it has passed through major struggle to become an international company in sportswear materials (White 2000, p. 52). In terms of challenges, both Thierry and Reebok Company share similar characteristics regarding their struggle for success.

The image also symbolizes two different kinds of life; a hopeful and successful life of a youthful guy who has achieved and anticipate to face the future after succeeding in the past and a regretful life of a failure who is always afraid to fail and ends up losing.Further, the image also signifies a great deal of contrast. As such, the mood of Thierry Henry contrasts with the tone and the message being conveyed.

Topography also features in the advertisement whereby some words have been bolded to emphasize the importance of the advert to the targeted group. Behind the bright image of Thierry Henry is another black image with a different size and appearance: symbolizing two different kinds of lives, the two personalities are living.

Thierry Henry image is bright, big and very visible symbolizing courage, hope, and lack of fear in facing the future (Tolston 1996, p. 75). The image behind him is black and not clearly visible symbolizing darkness and lack of vision for a person who has lost hope in life.

The choice of color also plays an important role in the advert. The bright color branded to the football icon depicts success and achievement for someone who made a positive choice in life and never lost therefore life has been success to him. With this color, it is easy to capture the attention of the target group and therefore the message is conveniently conveyed.

The image behind him is dark in color and invisible symbolizing lack of vision for a person who has been in darkness and has no focus to achieve. Color tone is also brought clearly by use of bold colored words such as “lose” and “not”. Boldness brings about emphasizes of the message to the reader.

To a person who can read and not interpret his eye vision will be attracted to the bolded words that are negative in nature and link them to the image of Thierry Henry; he will therefore understand better the negative repercussions of ignorance.

In terms of gender, the advert uses an image of young football icon meaning that the young generation of youthful men and women are being represented in the product or service being advertised.

These groups are in the process of making life decisions and so the image makes them aware that the choice of decision they make today will determine their success for tomorrow; therefore they should never regret the kind of decisions they make in life (Tolston 1996, p. 73).

This is because most important decisions in life are made during youthful stage and choice of decision is an important determinant in future. The two images informs the target group the importance of making informed choices in life by capturing both positive and negative sides of future and displays them in the same advert so its upon the reader to read, see, and make judgment.

Though the advert uses a man’s image, it does not mean that men are the target. The writing on it is clear evidence that the advertiser targeted the young generation from all races ranging from men to women (Saussure 2011, p. 58). There is no any limiting attributes to say a certain class is targeted, the advertiser generalized to pass a clear message to everyone.

The use of image is very effective when making advertisements. According to, a researcher, picture brings personal reflection to a real life situation. Picture also carries a very strong message for those who cannot read and write. In addition, personal image brings a sense of human being and it is easy for one to understand the message because people are interested in what they see around them.

It is therefore very important when designing an advertisement to take into account the target group and their area of interest, which enhances the effectiveness of the advertisement. Advertisements are different depending on age factor, race, gender, and class.

The use of brand logo and an arrow is a distinctive feature in this advertisement because it creates curiosity and visibity of the advertisement (Talbot 1998, p. 144). The use of different colors in brand logo makes it look conspicuous from the rest of the image.

The advertiser uses an international sportswear company and a renowned football icon as an advertisement strategy. Both the football player and Reebok Company have international recognition and therefore everyone is curious to know the message behind the two. The image attracts the reader and once he sees the image he will read.

The background also presents both the past and the future that is unknown to the target group (Barthes 2003, p. 212). Both future aspects as presented in the advert (the invisible dark image) show a right decision that was made in the past yields to successful opportunity in future (bright image of Thierry Henry).

It is clear from the analysis that images play an important role in making an advertisement. An advertisement is most effective when an image of an international icon is used or common thing that is known to everyone because people want to be associated with an international and successful person in their lifetime (Lewis 2007, p. 108).

Colors also carry different meaning to different people and therefore the choice of color is very important. Bright colors are the best because they strike the eye very strongly and one can see them from far even in a moving car.

It is also important to use more than one language, toplogy and color technique when making such advertisements because the intended message very effectively conveyed to the intended group as compared to other types of advertisements (Chiazzari & Suzy 1998, p. 275).

Overall, the advertiser has applied necessary ingredients in bringing out the message in the advert. There are no controversial images or violation of media ethics. The colors have been applied in their context without suggesting otherwise to the reader.

With such kind of advert, the advertiser is likely to achieve its target. This application by Reebok Company implies that images play a great role in advertisement

List of References

Barthes, 2003, Mythologies, John Wiley and Sons, London.

Chandler, R & Daniel, F 2004, Semiotics: the basics, Routledge, New York.

Chiazzari, A & Suzy, D 1998, The complete book of color, Barnes and Noble Books, New York.

Lewis, J 2007, Typography: design and practice, Jeremy Mills Publishing, Huddersfield.

Saussure, F 2011, Course in general linguistics, Columbia University Press, New York.

Talbot, M 1998, Multiple voices in magazines, in Language and gender: an introduction, Polity Press, London.

Taltson, A 1996, Mediations: text and discourses in media studies, Arnold, New York.

White, R 2000, Advertising, McGraw-Hill, New York.

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IvyPanda. (2019, April 6). Advertisement Description: Critical/Contextual Analysis. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/advertisement-description-critical-contextual-analysis/

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1. IvyPanda. "Advertisement Description: Critical/Contextual Analysis." April 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/advertisement-description-critical-contextual-analysis/.


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IvyPanda. "Advertisement Description: Critical/Contextual Analysis." April 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/advertisement-description-critical-contextual-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Advertisement Description: Critical/Contextual Analysis." April 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/advertisement-description-critical-contextual-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Advertisement Description: Critical/Contextual Analysis'. 6 April.

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