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Advertising is an important element of marketing as it distributes messages to the target consumers or audiences of specific groups. The impact an advertising approach will have on its target audience depends on its characteristics. This paper analyzes a print ad used for the “Moms Demand Action” campaign launched to propagate the need for a gun ban. The print ad provokes the audience’s emotion by exposing the apparent irrationality in banning other items that are less harmful than guns. The analysis of this paper describes the application of different print ad characteristics for transmission of the ad message.
The analysis concentrates on characteristics including the colors, portrayed message, ad relevance to the target audience, ad set, characters in the ad, and the way the ad provokes the emotions of the audience and drives them to respond to it. The paper concludes by summarizing the effect of the ad on the target audience.
In analyzing print media, it is first important to consider the ad aesthetic characteristics because the major element of an advert that attracts the target audience to the ad is the ad aesthetic elements (Clow and Baack, 2007). This theory was obviously considered in the “Moms Demand Action” print ad. This ad definitely highlights the importance of aesthetics for attracting the audience considering the image and textual arrangement.
The aesthetic contribution of the print ad to its message is also obvious. The ad has a picture of two kids standing in a classroom. The girl is holding an assault rifle with a rather stern look on her face; beside her, we can see a harmless-looking boy of Asian descent with a Kinder Egg in his hand. The text on the ad requires the audience to identify the child holding an item that has been banned in the US. The text is written in fonts comparable to fonts used for sending military telegrams. These aesthetic characteristics do not only provoke the emotions of the audience but also direct their understanding of its violence-based context.
The effectiveness of the ad depends on its ability to attract the actual target audience. There is a need to do the analysis of the ad to ensure that themes in the ad capture the target market that the ad is designed for (Glen, 1986). By looking at the picture with two little kids, we can see that this ad indicates strong conformity to this ad positioning theory. It has been designed for the government and the general public.
The design intends to ensure that the ad provokes the emotions of the public, and creates a possible reaction from different arms of the US government. It successfully achieves this objective through its inclusion of children as the characters in the print. Children are naturally perceived as being frail and harmless. The fact that the child in the picture with the assault rifle has a stern and a rather unsympathetic expression is the possible effect of gun or rifle on children.
Apart from their expressions, the selection of the characters is also influential in portraying the intended message. Even though the ad intends to promote the need for the government to place a ban on guns, the ad does not use any popular movie villain as the character with a gun; instead, we see a blond girl as the character with the rifle. By using an unknown, regular character, this print ad successfully exposes the potential harm of any weapon on children and people.
The aesthetics, setting, theme, and character selection in the ad all contribute to the perception of the audience of the current gun laws. Apart from exposing the irrationality of banning Kinder Eggs rather than guns, the print ad utilizes some of the characters’ demographic features to provoke the audience’s thoughts (Ademola, 2005). The characters’ races are used to show the need to place a general ban on guns.
The bloodiest gun violence by a single individual is still attributed to the Virginia massacre by Seung-Hui Cho, a student of Asian descent. It may have been apparently rational to portray the Asian male character holding the gun in the print ad. However, the kid was portrayed with the Kinder Egg, and a blond girl was portrayed holding the rifle. This shows that race does not stand as a barrier to gun violence as anybody can be a perpetrator.
This paper analyzed the Moms Demand Action ad. The print ad targeted the government and general public regarding the US Gun Laws. This ad uses its texts and illustrations to successfully capture the attention of the target audience. Through a thought-provoking strategy, the ad reaches the emotion of the audience by exposing the apparent irrationality in banning any less harmful items other than guns.
Ademola, O. (2005). Effects of Gender-Role Orientation, Sex of Advert Presenter and Product Type on Advertising Effectiveness. European Journal of Scientific Research 35 (4), pp. 537–543.
Clow, K, E.& Baack, E. D. (2007). Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications. NJ: Pearson Education.
Glen, M. D. (1986). Consumer Research and Semiotics: Exploring the Morphology of Signs, Symbols, and Significance. The Journal of Consumer Research 13 (2), pp. 196-205.