How do adverts work?

Adverts cost a lot of money, therefore showing just how much advertisers believe adverts work. An advert costs around  600,000 to show during prime time viewing and around  500,000 to make. When buying a product, over 1/3 of the money goes towards advertising costs. It is important that advertisers target their audience correctly and they do this in many different ways. One-way of achieving this is to target an audience according to demographics: – aiming at a specific age, gender and social class.
Scheduling is another way of doing this: – advertising at a specific time in the day or night. For example, advertising a chocolate bar straight after a children’s programme is more likely to have a better response than advertising at night when most children are asleep. Advertisers use a theory called the hypodermic needle theory when making an advert. Advertisers believe that when using this theory they are injecting us with a message, hence the needle. For example, an advert for a car would be targeted at adults with a need for power and control.
This advert would be shown around 9-11pm because most of the target audience will be back from work and watching T. V. However, this theory doesn’t always work because we don’t go and buy everything we see on T. V. Advertisers often try to represent lifestyles, people or ideas in order to sell a product. For example in the 1950’s one ad for a cleaning product tried to make the housewives think they would be better wives if they bought the product. The advert made them feel that they would not be ‘a perfect housewife’ unless they too used the product.

This is stereotyping the perfect housewife. Wide ranges of techniques are used by advertisers on television, which try and persuade us to buy their product and not someone else’s. For instance, different types of music, lighting, special effects, camera angles etc. work to great affect to achieve this. An example of this is in an advert for L’Oreal where they use special lighting to make the hair look healthy and shiny, a catchy music tune and catch phrase, “L’Oreal, because I’m worth it! ” Some L’Oreal adverts have also included famous celebrities.
When the audience sees a famous celebrity, who always has nice hair, using the product and repeating the catch phrase, they too want to go out and buy that product. They use these techniques because when we go to the shops and see their product we will remember the ad and the catch phrase or famous person on the cover and want to buy it. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a technique used in an advert for L’Oreal hair, using ego gratification and sense of immortality to target the audience’s needs.
They use ego gratification because they are targeting people who have big egos. People with big egos are usually vain and want to look good. The advert convinces them that this product will do that, and they go out and buy it. They use a sense of immortality to try and make the audience believe they will have gorgeous hair instantly when using this product. When making an advert there are certain rules that must be followed. These rules are that all ads should be decent, legal, honest, truthful, responsible to the consumer and respect the rules of fair competition.
Advertisers need to follow these rules because adverts are a very good way of making people buy their product and if targeted to a wrong audience could be very dangerous. For example an advert for Barcardi Breezers alcoholic drink or cigarettes would clearly be illegal if targeted to an under age audience. If these rules didn’t exist then these ads may cause a lot of under age drinking and smoking. However, advertisers do somehow manage to get around these rules without being caught. Some advertisers might say they are targeting an older audience but actually be targeting younger people.
They do this by using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. For example, an alco pop drink will be illegal if targeted to anyone less than 18 years of age. However, if the advertisers say that 18 years is their target audience but use ego gratification and a sense of power in their adverts, it is more likely to be attracting a younger 15-year old age range. At the age of 15 children usually want to feel older, more powerful and cooler. An advert for alco pop may make them think they can achieve this by drinking when they know they’re not supposed to.

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