Media Studies

– Study Of 4 Advertisements For Cars, And Their Similarities And Differences Essay, Research Paper

??????????????? I will begin by identifying and

describing the signifiers, and then I will say what they signify, and lastly,

say why this advert works, who it is aimed at and identify the techniques

behind this advert. ??????????????? There are several main

signifiers in this advert.? The most

obvious one is the car.? It is a sleek

car, and it is red.? The next large signifier

is the blurred background, i.e. the sky, trees and the road.? After that, there is the man in the

car.? He is not very young, early 50s

maybe, but he looks happy.? The last

signifier is the writing beneath the picture, or the anchor: ALFA SPIDER. EVER HAD A RECURRING DREAM? YOU WILL. ??????????????? The small writing below the

anchor is not important, as it only gives details about the car and where it

can be obtained. ??????????????? These signifiers have meanings,

or the signified.? Firstly, the

car.? Red gives the impression of a

sports car, which is signified further because the car is sleek and looks like

a sport car.? For most people, this

gives a meaning that it is a good, stylish car, that will impress, and

everybody will want one.? The advertisers

further draw on this in the anchor where it assures that everyone will dream of

getting one of these cars.? The blurred

background is also important, because it serves to give an impression of speed,

another feature of most sports cars, and so the signified is speed, which will

help to sell the car because most people enjoy fast cars.? The man in the car is not very young for a

reason.? This advert is designed,

obviously, to target people who can afford these cars, and so the image of a

middle-aged man, who maybe has enough money to buy one of these cars, is

important.? Also, the small smile on his

face signifies that he is happy driving the car.? The last signifier, the anchor, is the most important one,

because without it, the picture could have an open meaning.? It assures people that they will want one of

the cars, by saying that if you don?t always dream about something, then, now

that you have seen this, then you will.?

It encourages people to buy the car, because it is ?your dream car?. ??????????????? This advert works because it has

a very definite meaning, mentioned above, and so there can be no confusion over

the assurance that it is a dream car.?

The advertisers are obviously aiming this car at men more than women,

and affluent men at that, because, as mentioned before, the price range would suit

the driver?s age.? The reason it is aimed

at men is not only because there is a man driving the car, but also because

there is a gender representation that says that women prefer more practical

cars than men and are not so obsessed with speed and looks.? This is of course largely untrue; nevertheless

it will sell better to men.? The

photography of the car is responsible for making the advert work as well.? Although the blurred background is most

likely computer generated, the car is a photograph.? The camera never lies, but here it has been chosen to capture the

image when the wheel hubs are blurred with speed and there is light glinting

off the bonnet and headlights.? This is

all true to life, but the moment that it was taken changes the meaning of the

picture totally.? It now says speed and beauty,

whereas before it could have been stationary with the sun not out.? I will discuss this advert in comparison

with the others at the end of this essay.Advert

No. 2 – Vauxhall Astra ??????????????? I will talk about this advert in

the same way as the previous one, comparing it at the end with the other three

adverts. ??????????????? There are six main signifiers on

this advert.? They are: firstly, the

car, which is a green colour and is shown to be a practical family car.? Next, the road is slightly blurred as in the

last advert, although here the surrounding landscape is sharp.? There are two more signifiers that the road

has got.? They are the fact that it is

very long, and also that it is winding and not straight.? Another is the writing on the actual

picture: ARE WE THERE YET DAD? ??????????????? This is reproduced many

times.? The last signifier is the anchor

on the bottom of the picture.? It says: THE GOOD NEWS: THE ASTRA


TD CAN GO OVER 700 MILES ON A SINGLE TANK. ??????????????? Now I will explain what the

signifiers mean.? The car is a family

one for a reason, which is obvious, it is ideal for a family, especially with

children, when you read the words.?

Green is seen to be a colour associated with the countryside and so if

the car is green, it means that people will see it as a good car to go to the

countryside in.? As mentioned before,

the blurred road shows a sense of speed, reassuring people that although it is

a family car, it can still go quite fast.?

The fact that the road is long is anchored by the words at the bottom,

signifying to people that the Astra can go a long way without refuelling at

all.? The road is also very hilly in

places, which signifies that the car is capable of handling hills very well

too.? The words on the actual picture

signify that because it can go 700 miles on one tank of petrol, then journeys

are unbroken, and will therefore take a short amount of time.? The anchor beneath the image signifies that

the Astra goes 700 miles on one tank of petrol which is good for cost and bad

for kids. ??????????????? This advert works because of two

things: Firstly, we are used to the saying ?the good news and the bad news

….?; Secondly it is a familiar family scenario that is portrayed.? The advert is obviously aimed more at men,

the main money earners, because the children say ?dad?.? This is because Vauxhall believe that men

are more interested in buying cars than women.?

The techniques used in this advert are firstly a photo which is taken at

a moment where the car looks at its best secondly, as mentioned previously,

this background is used because it gives a sense of distance.Advert

No. 3 – Toyota Corolla ??????????????? The main signifiers in this

advert are the car, the headlamps of the other car, and the word anchoring: NEW FROM TOYOTA. THE MOST

DESIRABLE COROLLA EVER. ??????????????? The car is dark blue which

blends in with the car-park backdrop.?

The headlights are round like eyes and are on springs as though they are

goggling.? The anchor says that the Corolla

is the most desirable ever. ??????????????? The signified meaning of the

goggling headlamps is that the other car is amazed at the good looks of the

Corolla, and it suggests that it is not usually like that.? The car-park is dark because it signifies a

smoothness and air of mystery, further implying to the customer that it is

desirable.? This is the same with the

car, as it is a dark colour too. ??????????????? This advert is simpler than the

other three because there are not as many signifiers.? However, its simplicity makes it very effective as the customer

only has to focus on the headlamps and the anchor.? The advert, unlike the other three is aimed at both sexes because

there is no person in or near the car.?

However, the representation of colour for males is dark, and for

females, light.? This means that the

advert is again aimed more at males, who tend to be the main money-earners and

more interested in cars.? The techniques

used in this advert are simple.? The

Corolla contrasts with the other car, so they immediately stand out from each

other and also the are not as dull as the background.? Although the photos of the cars are real, there was probably

computer editing to put the headlamps like that on it.Advert

No. 4 – Volkswagen Passat ??????????????? This is a more complicated

advert than the other three because there are more signifiers.? They are, the outline of the car, which is

simple with not much detail, the Volkswagen sign on the right, which is

prominent and stands out from everything else.?


writing down the side, although not the most important writing , is still part

of the advert, and I will discuss its significance later on.? Finally, there are two pictures, one of the

wife at home in bed reading, and one of the husband in a dressing gown, holding

a clipboard and checking the car all over. ??????????????? The outline of the car is

against a dark background, so that it stands out and the customer can see its

elegant curves.? It is deliberately not

over-confusing.? The Volkswagen sign is

in a bright blue, and so it is the most prominent thing in the advert.? The customer?s eyes are drawn straight to

it, so that they know immediately that they are thinking of buying a car with a

reliable badge on the front.? The anchor

is very necessary, because? otherwise

the adverts signifiers would not go together to form a code and make any sense

at all.? It explains why the husband and

wife are separated and why the husband is studying the car.? It is supposed to reassure customers that

the Passat is ?born out of obsession? and that they will be happy with the

meticulous attention to detail.? The

husband and wife are explained by the anchor, otherwise they are not a lot of

use to the advert.? The writing down the

side of the car is important because it explains further the first statement

and tells customers the things that they will want to know about reliability. ??????????????? This advert is very clever, and

the techniques used are quite different to others.? The size of the signifiers and the colour that they are is important,

because it puts a them into an imaginary order, which one should be looked at

first, second etc.? The simplicity of

the car is, as mentioned before, key to the advert working.? The anchor on this advert is more important

than on the other three, as without it the advert would certainly be open.? It is aimed more at men than women, because

the advert implies that the man had gone round checking it making sure that it

is as good as it can be.? Females do not

tend to be known for this meticulousness. ?It is therefore again an advert for men, the money-earners , to

buy a car.? This advert works because of

one thing: the anchor.? Without this, it

doesn?t make sense at all, but with it, it is a very clever advert indeed.Comparison

of the 4 Cars??????????????? The easiest comparison to make

is that all four adverts are aimed more at men.? This has been explained, but here, it shows a clear gender

representation: men are more interested in cars and they will be the ones

deciding which one to buy with the money that they earn. ??????????????? Another one is that way that the

cars are portrayed.? All the photos show

off each part of the car that is a particular feature to this vehicle, i.e. the

Alfa?s speed, the Passat?s smooth shape.?

This will encourage people to look at the advert and maybe choose that

car over another. ??????????????? ?The anchors of the adverts all have something in common.? Without them on the advert, its meaning

would be open, and it could be interpreted in different ways to the intended one.? However, the anchors make the adverts

closed, and so they only have one, the intended meaning. ??????????????? Another comparison is to do with

the car signs or symbols.? With the

Passat and the Alfa Romeo, it is easy to see which make of car is being

advertised because the symbol is showing.?

However, in the other two, the symbol is small, and it takes some time

to realise which car is being advertised.?

This can be good or bad.? People

will see the symbol first if it is prominent, but this may stop them seeing the

rest of the advert, whereas with the other two, people will either get bored

looking for it, or it will make them look at the advert for longer, which is

good. ??????????????? With all the adverts, the

background is very important.? It either

tells us something, e.g. the Astra, which represents a long distance, or

compliments the car, e.g. the Passat, where it is silhouetted and shows off the

car?s outline. ??????????????? The last comparison is that in

all of them the signs are of varying importance.? Large ones are placed at the front and they can be seen and

interpreted first, whereas smaller ones at the back may require several look as

at the advert to understand what they signify.


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