Advertising Topic: The advertising of beauty products Questions 1. What techniques do advertisers use to persuade people to buy their products? 2. Which techniques are most effective? 3. How do the techniques link to visual elements to appeal to a particular target audience? Estéé Lauder Hydrationist moisturiser (Mindfood March 2010 pp1-2) Technique Example Effect Neologism Hydrationist Adds to the idea that the product is very new-so new it has a new name Declarative Sentences Moisture is one of skin’s key defences Makes a statement that makes it sound as ..skin’s moisture barrier is strengthened though it is a fact. Adds to credibility Direct address Your skin The reader feels as if the ad is directed at You’ll see them. Makes them more likely to buy it Comparatives Younger healthier Plays on women’s propensity to compare themselves with others Positive adjectives Dramatic exclusive Adds to the positive image of the product Statistics 100% 50% Adds credibility Strong verbs Strengthened experienced proved rush Implies speed of effect Imperative Feel the instant Tells the reader to do something so they are likely to do it Repeated structure Rush of moisture/look of aging Opposites – one cancels out the other. Links them by repeating the structure Lancome Génifique Moisturiser (Mindfood March 2010 p3) Technique Example Effect Declarative Sentences Imperatives Reactivate, discover Tells the reader to do something so they are likely to do it Similes As if infused with life Allows the reader to make a comparison As if lit from within which is positive Positive adjectives Cushiony velvety vibrant radiant visibly Makes the product very desirable youthful Minor sentences Spectacular results Stands out and has impact because it’s short. Graphs To add credibility Linked words Discover/invents Implies newness and gives credibility Direct appeal Your The reader feels as if the ad is directed at them. Makes them more likely to buy it Adverbs Astonishingly breathtakingly, dramatically Adds to the verbs-all very positive and add to the seemingly impossible effects of the product L’Oréal Revitalift Cream (Mindfood March 2010 pp11) Technique Example Effect Statistics 87% less, 96% more Adds credibility Declarative sentences Elastin is… Skin is… Revitalift is… Adjectives Sensitive, young, new, gentle Adds to the positive image of the product Celebrity endorsement “My wrinkles…” Andie McDowell If a celbrity uses it, it must be good. Adds credibility. Plays on snob appeal “I use the same as …” Slogan Because you’re worth it” Easy to remember Direst appeal Clinique Clarifying Lotion (Women’s Health Feb 2010 p7) Technique Example Effect Comparatives Younger, longer, smoother, livelier, better, Plays on women’s propensity to compare smaller, clearer themselves with others Imperatives Refine, soften Tells the reader to do something so they are likely to do it Declaratives It’s unique… Makes a statement that makes it sound as though it is a fact. Adds to credibility Question Result? Active verbs Whisks, block, clog, Adjectives Linked words Whisk/sweep, Easy elimination Just, only, unique, all, Nothing else is like it Direct address you Incomplete sentences And it’s priced… Daily and over… Sukin Natural Skincare (Women’s Health Feb 2010 p87) Technique Example Effect Adjectives Active, essential, natural, affordable Adds to the positive image of the product Listing Do not contain sodium lauryl sulphate, Gives the impression that some creams sodium laureth…. contain huge amounts of chemicals Superlatives highest Makes you think nothing is better Slogan Skincare that doesn’t cost the earth Easy to remember Positive nouns Vitality, radiance Adds to the positive image of the product Bobbi Brown Mascara (Mindfood Jan/Feb 2010 p11) Technique Example Effect Imperatives Make Tells the reader to do something so they are likely to do it Gp of three minor sentences Unbelievable volume. Endless build. Each adds to the positive image of the Exceptional separation product Positive adjectives Unbelievable, endless, exceptional, unique Adds to the positive image of the product Linked words Bold statement/Introducing/party Regenerist Cream (Mindfood Jan/Feb 2010 p17) Technique Example Effect Pun Whipped (cream/defeated) Clever Links cream and quality Imperative Save Tells the reader to do something so they are likely to do it Direct address your Comparative More hydrated Plays on women’s propensity to compare longer themselves with others Slogan Love the skin you’re in Easy to remember Direct address Decléor Hydra-Floral (Mindfood March 2010 p89) Technique Example Effect Inclusive pronouns our Includes reader Repetition damage Negative connotations Onslaught, ravages, pollution, dehydration Makes the product seem indispensable alliteration Protection from pollution Makes the words more memorable, links Supple, soft them in meaning because they are linked in sound Adjectives Immediate, continuous, maximum, Adds to the positive image of the product natural, soothing, healthy Imperatives Enjoy Tells the reader to do something so they are likely to do it Joyce Blok (Mindfood March 2010 p97) Technique Example Effect Alliteration Refresh, restore and rejuvenate Memorable Specific skin concerns Links words in meaning because they are Sensitive skin linked in sound Imperative Love your skin again Tells the reader to do something so they Refresh, restore and rejuvenate are likely to do it Group of three Safe, painless and convenient Listing Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants Uneven skin tome, acne, sun damage, dehydration and fine lines Adjectives Gentle, sensitive, specific, safe, painless, Adds to the positive image of the product convenient, Repetition gentle Declarative sentences “instantly brightens” Makes a statement that makes it sound as though it is a fact. Adds to credibility Priori products (Mindfood 2010 p91) Technique Example Effect Unsubstantiated claim Voted by leading authorities Adds to credibility for gullible people We’ll guarantee you’ll look.. Comparatives Younger healthier Plays on women’s propensity to compare themselves with others Inclusive pronouns We’ll Makes readers feel included Adjectives Anti-aging, natural, potent, skin-saving, Adds to the positive image of the product proven, noticeable, powerful, green Imperative Give your skin the PRIORI glow.. Tells the reader to do something so they are likely to do it Group of three Cleanse, tighten and minimise Hydrationist Lancome L’Oreal Clinique Sukin Bobbi Regenerist Decléor Joyce Priori Brown Blok Positive X X X X X X X X Adjectives Negative adjectives Statistics/Graphs X X X Imperatives X X X X X X X X Listing X X Declarative X X X X X sentences Slogan X X X Inclusive X X pronouns Strong verbs X Comparatives X X X X Questions X Direct address X X X X Celebrity X endorsement Superlatives X Neologism X Repeated X structure Simile X Adverbs X Linked words X X X Minor sentences X X Strong verbs X Incomplete X sentences Positive nouns X Group of three X X X Pun X Repetition X X Negative X connotations Alliteration X X Unsubstantiated X claim Research Log Date 17.03.2010 Decided on topic and collected advertisements Annotated ads and wrote up findings 18.03.2010 Filled out table on frequency of techniques 22.03.2010 Wrote intro to report 23.03 2010 Started answering first question in report 30 .03.2010 Completed Research Report: The Language of Beauty Product Advertising I chose to investigate the language of beauty product advertising because I was interested to see how advertisers use language to persuade people, mainly women, to purchase products which, as far as I know, do not work. I was keen to see whether different advertisers use the same techniques, which were the most effective and how these techniques promoted an image of the product. What persuasive language techniques do advertisers of beauty products use and which are most effective? Imperatives Imperatives were the most common technique used across all the ads I analysed. Most of the commands were related to the characteristics of the product being advertised-Feel (Hydrationist), Refine, soften (Clinique) Refresh, restore rejuvenate (Blok). These imperatives create a rapport with the reader and by telling them to do something, they are more likely to do it. People like being told what to do and advertisers use this to their advantage. They add a feeling of urgency to the ad and they speak directly to the reader. They are very effective for this reason. Positive adjectives All the ads I studied used positive adjectives. They contributed to giving a positive image of the product and would encourage the consumer to purchase the product. Hydrationist used dramatic and exclusive, Genifique used cushiony, velvety, vibrant, radiant, youthful while LÓreal used sensitive, young new, gentle. The choice of adjectives showed what image of the product the advertiser wanted to portray. LÓreal wanted to emphasise the gentle qualities of their product while Hydrationist emphasised the more vivid and exciting characteristics. The Bobbi Brown mascara ad used adjectives like unbelievable, endless, exceptional and unique to emphasise that this product is unlike any other. The Joyce Blok ad wanted to emphasise the safety of their product, so they used words like gentle, sensitive, safe, painless. The positive adjectives were very persuasive in several ways. Firstly, they give information about the effects of the product. If a product was described as ‘natural’ or suiting ‘sensitive skin’ it appealed to people who were keen not to use very chemical and possibly toxic products. If a product was described as giving ‘youthful’ effects, it appealed to people who were worried about aging skin. Who wouldn’t want skin that is vibrant, radiant and velvety? All of these adjectives promote effects which are attractive to the reader. The use of positive adjectives is very persuasive because they either give information or they give a positive image for the product. Declarative Sentences Declarative sentences were a very common feature of the advertising of beauty products. They state something as though it is a fact and this is a very persuasive technique. People are likely to believe something which sounds as though there is no question about its validity. For example “Moisture is one of skin’s key defences” (Hydrationist) and “It’s unique” (Clinique) or “No one measured up to Olay Regenerist…” These statements leave no room to disagree so make the product seem well supported by ‘facts’. Declarative sentences add a convincing quality to the advertisement and are persuasive because they sound like facts. Comparatives The use of comparatives was widespread probably because people, notably women, often compare their skin or appearance with others. The use of a comparative implies a comparison with someone else and as beauty products are meant to make people look better they tend to encourage this. Hydrationist uses younger, healthier, Clinique uses younger, longer, smoother, livelier, better, smaller, clearer. Priori uses younger, healthier. It is significant that all three products use younger as this is a key feature that beauty products are trying to achieve. The use of comparatives encourages comparison and is very effective for this reason. People would always choose the ‘better’ of the options and this, of course, can be achieved by buying the product being advertised. 3. How do the techniques link to visual elements to appeal to a particular target audience? All advertisers have a target audience in mind when they advertise a product. They choose language techniques to match their audience. The Priori ad is targeting people who are looking for natural products. The visual image is of product packaging which is lying on leaves and moss. The predominant colour is green which emphasises the ‘greenness’ of the products. This is also emphasised by the use of words like natural, anti-oxidants, green tea, healthier. The headline ‘Natural wonder’ also reinforces the natural quality of this product. The Sukin ad also has a green image as well as stressing the economy of the product. It uses words like botanicals, vegan, and natural as well as affordable. The main colour is green also with pictures of plants. This ad also has a list of the chemicals that it doesn’t contain. This lets consumers know that most cosmetic creams do contain these toxic sounding chemicals. The Regenerist ad has a predominant colour of red with the jar of cream in the middle and glowing white from the bottom. It looks like a trophy and this is referred to in the ad when it says that this cream beat others in a survey even though it was much cheaper. This ad is targeting those who want the best effects with the least amount of money spent. The overall effect of the results of the survey added to the image of the glowing centre stage product target. Decleor and Hydrationist used pale flowers and drops of moisture in their ads and the Clinique ad used just drops of water. All these ads what to emphasise the moisturising qualities of their products and so the water droplets are supported by words like moisture, moisture boost, moisture barrier, sustainable moisture complex, and hydration. The target audience is those who feel that their skin lacks moisture. The use of flowers makes the product seen natural. The Decleor ad is all natural but the Hydrationist isn’t. yet, they both use the same graphic. It was significant that some ads had a link between the graphic and the text while others didn’t. This suggests that some people are swayed more by the picture than the text. Conclusion I found many language techniques which advertisements use to promote beauty products. The most common were positive adjectives, imperatives, declarative sentences and comparatives. The language techniques were used effectively when combined with the visual images to target particular audiences. This is a very competitive area and appeals to people’s desire to look better, to save money or to be natural were common.
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