Analysing television adverts

I have chosen to evaluate three adverts, which were chosen from the top ten most popular television adverts of all time. They have one common denominator in that they are all for beverages. The products that they advertise are: Guinness draught beer, Tango (a fizzy orange soft drink) and R.Whites lemonade. The first area I am going to examine is the main devices used in each of these adverts. In the Guinness advert the main devices used are stirring images of a surfer waiting for the perfect wave, and then the wave finally arriving and him surfing it. This works well as the punch line of the advert is that when you purchase a pint of Guinness you cannot drink it straight away, you have to wait for it to settle, just as a surfer has to wait for the perfect wave.
The main device in the Tango advert is a short, fat man who is painted orange and runs up to the Tango drinker and slaps him in the face. This tells the audience that Tango is a refreshing, revitalising drink, which brings you around as quickly as a slap in the face. The R.Whites advert uses a man singing as its main device. The focus is not on the man, but on the lyrics of the song that he is singing, which is all about how he cannot help drinking R.Whites lemonade, even in the middle of the night, because the taste is so delicious.
Music is a very important aspect of advertising. If a person is in a room where the television is on but is not watching the television, if they are reading the newspaper, for example, then it will be the music on the advert which will catch their attention and make them look up and pay attention to it. Also, as an advert is very short the atmosphere that the advertisers want to achieve has to be built up over a short amount of time, and music can help them greatly in achieving this goal.

In the Guinness advert a drum is used to create atmosphere. Throughout the course of this advert the drum becomes a metaphor for several different things. At first it symbolises a ticking clock, which illustrates how patiently the surfers are waiting for the perfect wave. As the main surfer runs out to the wave and begins to surf it the drums symbolise his heartbeat and therefore show how exhilarated he is to be surfing the perfect wave. As the wave begins to break, the foam becomes white horses, leaping gracefully and powerfully over the surfers’ head. At this point the drums symbolise both the beat of the horses’ hooves and the power of the wave. The interesting thing about the drum is that it never beats faster, just louder, and this both gives the advert a great deal of conviction and makes it very emotionally arresting.
There is no music in the Tango advert. This does not make it any less popular than the other adverts, as the sound is instead focused on the voice over. Unlike the Guinness advert the Tango advert is not emotionally arresting, and so no music is necessary in that respect. In the R.Whites adverts the music contributes to the humour, but the humour in the Tango advert is very slapstick, and it is therefore the action itself that is so funny that it does not need music to aid or explain it.
The R.Whites advert is unique because, unlike many adverts, including the Guinness advert, where the music is just an accessory to add atmosphere, the music is what the advert is based on. The main device of the advert, as I mentioned earlier, is a man singing. The most important area in the advert is the lyrics of this song. These lyrics are:
“I’m a secret lemonade drinker (R.Whites, R.Whites), I’ve been trying to keep it down But it’s one of those nights, (R.Whites, R.Whites)….” This song is telling the audience that R.Whites lemonade is such a wonderful taste sensation that you cannot help becoming addicted to it, to the point when you will sneak about in the middle of the night, just to have some. The other important aspect of the music is the style in which it is sung. The advert was released in 1973 when Elvis Presley was very popular, and is sung in the “Elvis” style by an Elvis impersonator. Not only would this mean that people would relate to the style of the singing, but the sound of Elvis’ voice would draw peoples’ attention to the adverts.
Advertising slogans are one of the most memorable aspects of adverts in any type of media, including television. Slogans are used directly in two of these adverts, and indirectly as part of the song in the R.Whites advert (I’m a secret lemonade drinker has become known as a sort of “unofficial” R.Whites slogan). When the Guinness advertising campaign was first launched the slogan was “Guinness is good for you”, however this had to be abandoned when the advertising standards board said that the advertisers could not tell people that Guinness was good for them because Guinness is an alcoholic drink and alcohol is actually very bad for you. Guinness then stumbled around for a few years and came up with a few slogans, none of which really stuck.
Eventually, in about 1998 the company responsible for advertising Guinness went round several bars and pubs and discovered that they could base their campaign around the fact that when you pour a pint of Guinness you have to wait for it to settle before you can drink it. They then came up with a slogan based on this and a well-known proverb: “Good things come to those who wait” It was this slogan that formed the basis for the advert I am studying because, just as a surfer has to wait for the perfect wave, you have to wait for the perfect pint of Guinness.

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