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Two images of Australian advertisements Essay

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Updated: Feb 20th, 2019

The structure and design of advertizing images is aimed at attracting attention of wide audience and producing desiring gaze in them by creating personal associations and the illusion of privacy and intimacy for every viewer. The architecture of advertisement images works to isolate the viewers, depriving them of the sense of community.

The architecture of contemporary ads addresses every single spectator, producing the false impression of pleasurable and bound desire. This paper analyzes the visual texts and the commodity signals of the two contemporary advertisements, exploring the relationship between seeing, selling, and buying in every potential customer.

The first advertisement under consideration is an advertisement of a clothing company Everlast dated to 2006 depicting a young boy with a cigarette in his mouth. This image is an example of unsuccessful attempt of producing the desiring gaze because the ad has been criticized for the promotion of smoking and banned by the Australian Advertizing Standards Bureau. Disregarding all the promises of the clothing company to remove the ad due to the moral considerations, it appeared on a number of billboards and posters.

Still, the mechanism between seeing the ad and buying the commodity did not work, and the scenario used by advertisers was not able to produce the desiring gaze in viewers. The chosen scenario can be compliant with the logo of the company, saying that nothing soft comes out from the Bronx. Still, the image of a boy who screwed up his eyes and a policeman close to him is not pleasurable and does not produce the impression of privacy and intimacy.

The commodity signals, including the smoking boy who is obviously a young prisoner, the policeman and the police office in the background of the ad cannot be associated with positive branding of the company.

Disregarding the widely spread excitement with the negative characters, the negative branding is expected to create negative associations without any personal links with the character depicted in the advertisement. Cronin (2004) noted that “Advertising is thought to enliven the commodity, to spark an active relationship between consumer and commodity which reflects both on the agency and personhood of the subject” (p. 4).

Though the aim of active relationship between consumer and commodity is met in the ad under analysis, as it gives rise to the viewer’s indignation in most cases, this image is not effective for creating the direct link between seeing and selling. The choice of the signals could even have a negative impact on the branding of the company because contemporary consumers pay attention to the moral considerations implied by the companies.

Freedman (2003) noted that the juxtaposition of various elements of the advertizing image is utilized by advertizers for the purpose of manipulating the consumers’ choices and preferences (p. 89). The promotion of smoking in youths and the police office as the background of the ad were not good ideas for attracting attention to the clothing company.

The image of a young boy with the screwed up eyes gives food for thought, appeals to viewers’ feelings but does not create any positive associations or the desiring gaze of the potential buyers. At the same time, the related signals of smoking and criminal background which were initially meant to be secondary elements of the advertisement captured the attention of the audience, leaving only secondary role for clothing.

It is possible that developing the idea that nothing soft comes out from the Bronx, the advertizers went too far and committed a mistake using smoking and criminal motifs as the signals associated with individuals wearing Everlast brand. This ad can be recognized as a sample of the so-called trend of “inalienable childhood” (Schirato and Webb, 2004, p. 163).

Disregarding the popularity of this tendency, according to which advertizing only represents reality as it is, the mechanism is ineffective for creating the link between the depicted phenomenon and the desiring gaze of the viewers. The main reasons for the failure of the advertising image under consideration include the wrong choice of the visual signals which were useless for producing the impression of intimacy on every potential consumer.

The second advertizing campaign under consideration concerns the advertizing image of Australian post which depicts a girl at the bus stop with the logo motivating to personalize post. This advertizing image is a sample of a more successful campaign which was able to produce a desiring gaze in most viewers.

A positive image of a woman wearing a black dress can be regarded as an important signal of visual culture and a valuable component of the link between seeing the ad, creating certain personal associations and buying the offered service. The image of a successful woman triggers the active interaction between the viewer and the visual world of the advertisement. Along with the pastel tones and the black colors of the woman’s clothing, the red logotype of the company creates the only accent in the image.

This advertizing decision helps to set the priorities and clarify the main aim of the ad without overemphasizing it. As opposed to the previous example of an ineffective advertisement image, this scenario is positive and draws the consumers’ attention to the company itself. Establishing the relationship between the ad and the sense of self identity, viewers get the illusion that the image and the logo is addressed to each of them in person and it produces the impression of intimacy and individuality.

The choice of the visual signals of the ad under consideration helps to produce the desiring gaze in the audience and motivates the viewers to take actions and to proceed from viewing and admiring to buying and utilizing. The mirror incorporated into the post envelope is rather symbolic and understandable for the audience.

The woman does not even pay attention to her reflection in the mirror, but the viewers can see it and it seems that her depiction becomes an integral element of the service that is offered by the ad. The effect produced by the ad can be defined as the process of commoditization (Schirato and Webb, 2004, p. 157). The services provided by Australian post are commoditized and provide opportunities for the development of a new segment of market and require imposing appropriate marketing measures and the effective advertizing campaign.

The woman looks into the distance and this detail shows that after personalization of the post, the service works without participation of the consumers. The woman’s reflection remains inside of the envelope though she does not pay attention to it. The architecture of this ad demonstrates the convenience of the service and its practicality. At the same time, the unity of the woman’s image and the envelope is aimed at demonstrating that the service is an integral part of her life.

The whole ad produces the impression of a fragment from a day of a busy city, and the life in it cannot stop for a single moment. Still, disregarding the haste of a day in a business city, the service of a personalized post continues to work even when the consumers are busy with their daily activities. The woman waits for a bus and her thoughts are obviously occupied with her future plans but her reflection remains in the envelope and the service continues its work.

The architecture, the choice of the colors, motifs and images in the advertisement under consideration can have influence on the potential consumers’ decision making.

The pleasant-looking woman and her reflection in the symbolic envelope help viewers to create personal associations and can produce the desiring gaze in them. Drawing the consumers’ attention to the service provider by incorporating the red line with the logotype inscription on it helps to strike the balance between specifying the service provider without overemphasizing its presence in the ad.

The positive image of a young woman looking into the distance along with the original idea of incorporating the mirror into the envelope produces the impression of the integrity of the woman and the service. Through the mechanism of addressing every viewer and creating the illusion of intimacy, the ad under consideration produces the desiring gaze in the audience.

The effectiveness of the visual texts depends upon their ability to produce the desiring gaze and the illusion of intimacy in every individual consumer. The advertizing decisions concerning the choice of visual signals, scenarios, the architecture and colors of the advertisements can have a significant impact on the potential consumers’ perception of the ad and their following preferences and decision making.

Reference List

Cronin, Anne. (2004). Advertising myths: The strange half-lives of images and commodities. New York, Routledge.

Freedman, Kerry. (2003). Teaching visual culture: Curriculum, aesthetics, and the social life of art. New York, Teachers College Press.

Schirato, Tony and Jen Webb. (2004). Understanding the visual. Thousand Oaks, SAGE Publications.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Two images of Australian advertisements." February 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/two-images-of-australian-advertisements/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Two images of Australian advertisements'. 20 February.

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