The last type of advertising described by Hall and Whannel is Sophisticated advertising. This is an extension of the complex model but explores the hidden and subconscious feelings within the viewer. Subtle association and persuasion is again used here but products are associated with fantasies. Visual imagery is often blurred to make the advertisement seem like that of a dream. Here the product is then linked to something which is not reality. People are persuaded to consume the products in these types of adverts by using the ideas of buying another lifestyle. Something that without these products would just be a dream not a reality.
Desire is a main factor in persuading consumers to purchase products. “Desire and lack are central motivating forces in our lives” (Sturken and Cartwright: 217). Through consuming products, we aim to fill this lack or desire. Products initially have no meanings and therefore must be given a value by something which will appeal to the consumer and make us want to purchase the objects. Companies will use famous photographers, for example Mercedes have been known to use Rankin in order to glamorise their products. The better the photographer, the better the show casing of the product which companies hope will appeal to ones desires. This is a prestigious and well established organisation and images created by Rankin help to depict this. The consumer therefore develops a desire for the different lifestyle that Mercedes represents.
Models and celebrities can also help to depict a desirable product and therefore lifestyle. The fashion designer Gucci, uses the well known model Kate Moss to appeal to consumer ideals. She represents some thing that many women aspire to; perfect skin, body and fashion. Other companies have followed suit by using other well known celebrities, for example Vodafone using David Beckham and Nestle using Michael Owen. By linking celebrities to products, it creates a meaning for the consumers which they will remember and relate back to the products.
T. S Eliot argues this idea stating that “The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an ‘objective correlation’- in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events, which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately invoked” (Eliot in Williamson: 30). Advertisements provide us with this “objective correlation” of meanings by linking brands and products with people we can relate to and this is a way they persuade us to consume.
By using the famous in this way, adverts are able to widen their appeal to many and again create the abstraction of another lifestyle. This is based on the mentality that if the multi millionaire David Beckham uses Vodafone then by the every day member of the public using them, they can aspire to have a similar status in society to what he possesses. Certain advertisements present to us what our lives could be like; an almost “enviable world” (Sturken and Cartwright: 214). We want to acquire the attributes that consuming commodities will give us. Adverts persuade consumption by claiming certain lifestyles can be attained through the purchase of these commodities.
The age and gender of people used in adverts can also help to persuade one to consume as it targets certain audiences. There is usually an emphasis on youth in advertising and images are used as symbols of cultural communication. This sis mainly used in adverts targeting women but is increasingly being used more often in men’s adverts. Certain looks, hairstyles and body shapes are seen as the most desirable and products then begin to be linked to these ideals through advertising. People will then consume these products in order to achieve these ideals.
Adverts also “use anxiety to sell products by suggesting to consumers the ways in which they may be not only inadequate but potentially endangered or weakened without a particular product” (Sturken and Cartwright: 216). This is the way in which life assurance persuades one to buy. If an anxiety is created within a person they will consume a certain product in order to combat this anxiety. The influences of advertising can be attributed to recent technological improvements in production and distribution of visual representations. It has even been called a “graphic revolution” by Daniel Boorstin (Dyer: 82). Advertisements encourage great expectations because they have become more dramatic and vivid themselves. Nowadays, reality cannot even match up to the images portrayed in advertising. They are something out of this world and this relates back to consumers being able to escape into a better life than reality by buying certain products.
We live within a massive consumer society where products are continually being adapted and improved for our consumption. In this Capitalist society, adverts are used to promote these products and highlight the “enormous assortment of goods” (Sturken and Cartwright: 2001), that are available. Media influence in this sense can be said to be like a hypodermic needle that “injects a message into the mind of the audience” (Dyer: 76). Advertisements use very clever imagery to create the ideal representation of a product. This imagery is used to attract a consumer and appeals to our desires.
Adverts depict a general social message in their sales pitch that has the ability to “shape and sometimes change a person’s behaviour, opinions and attitudes” (Dyer: 75). Ultimately, advertisements appeal to our wants and desires and through this persuade us to consume. They appeal to us by selling “concepts of belonging” (Sturken and Cartwright: 218). By consuming certain products, it seems that we can gain a sense of belonging or even a completely new, improved lifestyle.
Dyer, G. 1982, Advertising as Communication. London: Routledge. Ramamurthy, A. 1997. ‘Constructions of illusions: Photography and commodity culture’. In Wells, L., (ed.) 1997. Photography: A critical introduction. London: Routledge.