Nowadays, it became a commonplace practice among advertisers to go about increasing the commercial appeal of the advertised products by the mean of emphasizing the pathos and ethos related subtleties of these products’ discursive positioning.
The reason for this is simple – by taking advantage of this specific advertisement-strategy, advertisers are able to ensure that the conveyed commercial message is fully consistent with the targeted audience’s unconscious anxieties, in relation to the promoted product/service. In this paper, I will explore the validity of the above-suggestion, in regards to the poster ‘Refresh on the Coca-Cola side of life’, chosen for the analysis.
The poster in question features the opened bottle of Coca-Cola with a drinking straw inserted in it. The straw itself is shown extended beyond the poster’s spatial boundaries in the direction of one of the windows on the wall – hence, creating a visual illusion, as if the apartment’s resident is in fact able to take sips out of the bottle.
This, of course, creates objective preconditions for onlookers to spend more time, while observing the poster, because when exposed to it, they get to experience the sensation of a cognitive dissonance.
One of the poster’s most striking features is the fact that it organically incorporates the appeals to logos, ethos and pathos.
Its appeal to logos is concerned with the textual message ‘Refresh on the Coca-Cola side of life’, which establishes discursive parallels between the advertised product, on the one hand, and the notion of ‘refreshment, on the other. Nevertheless, it is specifically the poster’s strongly defined appeals to ethos and pathos, which make it memorable.
The first of these appeals is concerned with the fact that, while observing the poster, potential consumers are able to confirm the validity of the idea that Coca-Cola is indeed a high-quality product. After all, if it was not the case, people would not go as far as trying to drink the promoted beverage by the mean of inserting a straw into the product’s one-dimensional depiction.
In other words, the discussed element of the poster’s design serves the function of convincing people that doubting the advertised product’s high quality, on their part, would prove highly unreasonable. Consequently, this is expected to provide them with yet additional stimulus to consider purchasing it.
What also adds to the poster’s ethos-related appeal is that the featured image is culturally relevant, within the context of the affiliated socio-cultural settings. After all, it subtly hints at the sheer industriousness of the individual, which supposedly succeeded in taking advantage of the poster’s proximity to his or her apartment.
Yet, as we are well aware of, in America one’s endowment with the sense of industriousness is considered reflective of the concerned individual’s existential worth. Therefore, there can only be a few doubts that the discussed poster is indeed adjusted with what happened to be the essence of main existential drives, on the part of the majority of Americans.
The poster’s appeal to pathos is concerned with its ability to trigger a variety of emotional responses in onlookers. In its turn, this has been accomplished by the following:
The poster prompts people to experience the earlier mentioned sensation of a cognitive dissonance – when observing it; they do spend some time assessing the de facto possibility of what is being depicted. As a result, the image ends up being ‘engraved’ in their minds.
This, of course, points out to the fact that the poster’s designers we well aware that, in order for a particular advertisement-message to be memorable, it must necessarily be emotionally charged.
The poster conveys the message of ‘realness’, in regards to the advertised beverage. In its turn, this is supposed to lessen the acuteness of onlookers’ awareness that, while exposed to the advertisement in question, they are being psychologically manipulated.
This, of course, implies that while designing this particular advertisement-poster, its creators remained thoroughly aware that the process of ‘seeing’, which takes place in people’s minds, is highly subjective.
The poster addresses one of main unconscious anxieties, on the part of potential consumers – specifically, their deep-seated desire to perceive the surrounding reality, as such that can be transformed by the sheer strength of their willpower. In this respect, a certain parallel can be drawn between what accounts for the power of the poster’s appeal, on the one hand, and the power of just about any organized religion’s appeal, on the other.
In both cases, the advertisement/religious message’s recipients are encouraged to consider the possibility that there is indeed a good reason to believe in the possibility of ‘miracles’. This once again substantiates the legitimacy of the earlier suggestion that the design of the concerned advertisement-poster is culturally appropriate.
After all, it appears discursively consistent with the fact that, as of today, the so-called ‘moral majority’ (consisting of bible-thumpers) continues to exert a considerable influence on the societal dynamics in America.
Because there is an undeniable element of ‘silliness’ to the poster in question, the conveyed advertisement-message helps onlookers to suppress their fear of aging. The rationale behind this suggestion is quite apparent – by finding the earlier mentioned ‘silliness’ amusing, people do realize themselves being cognitively related to the qualitative characteristics of a youthful living.
Consequently, the induced workings of their unconscious psyche convince these people that the very fact that the discussed poster appeals to them, signifies that they are rather ‘young at heart’ – regardless of what happened to be their actual age.
There are also cultural connotations to the above-suggestion – the poster in question appears thoroughly consistent with the discourse of ‘youthfulness’ in America, which causes many elderly citizens in this country to mimic the act of young people.
In light of the earlier provided analysis, it will be fully appropriate, on our part, to suggest that the poster at stake will indeed prove an effective tool for increasing the promoted beverage’s commercial appeal. This simply could not be otherwise, because it does not simply feature the appeals to logos, ethos and pathos, but combines them organically – hence, creating a powerful cognitive effect.
Moreover, this poster also exploits a number of culturally relevant anxieties, on the part of the targeted audience members, which in turn causes the promoted message to be particularly memorable in both: cognitive and perceptual senses of this word.
I believe that the deployed line of argumentation, in regards to the discussed subject matter, is fully agreeable with the paper’s initial thesis. Apparently, there is indeed a good reason to expect the poster ‘Refresh on the Coca-Cola side of life’ to never cease attracting people’s attention, as an imaginative and psychologically sound advertisement-piece.