Advertising Adrian Wong

Notes from Sell & Spin (A history of advertising)

  • Tapping into desire and creating need
  • Getting out a message and shifting a product
  • Using inages and words
  • Creates illusion that it's diverted at you, and the individual viewer
  • Ads are everywhere ---> you can't escape them
  • 450 Bn. US$ spent annually on ads (old figures)
  • Coca-Cola's ad spending has led to global brand recognition
  • Leo Burnett created personalities as products. E.G. Tony the Tiger ---> Frosties (Connects with audience)
  • Too much advertising is not always good
  • Last time, most people were illiterate so that affected advertising
  • When the merchant class "explodes" more advertising is needed
  • The printing press was the first source of advertising
  • The printing press was a big milestone in advertising for mass communication/media

Rosser Reeves

  • Simplistic, repetitious boasts = "the hard sell"
  • Direct + strident --> repititive
  • "irritate your way into people's consciousness
  • unique selling proposition (USP) = Reason why
  • Highlighting how product was different from others on market.
  • Strong words and unpleasant inages
  • Repetition of the USP ---> association

Bill Bernbach

  • More sophisticated audience ---> more sophisticated advertising
  • Recgonises audience has a brain
  • Blending creativity + art with marketing + commerce
  • Broke wall between viewer of ad + product advertised

Notes from killing us softly 4 trailer (Jean kilbourne - female representation in advertising)

  • Female representation in advertising constructs a stereotype "idea" in female beauty (a standard)
  • It impacts self-esteem - eating disorders + violence against women.
  • This ideal is unattainable.
  • Girls + woman identify with images + learn what it is to a girl/woman within a given society.
  • Messages to women are very negative ---> you are not good enough.
  • This creates "norms"
  • Men are encouraged to see women as objects/dehumanisation

Case Studies

  • Marlboro's sales increased by 3000% (Communicating in a way that says it's the best etc. without you noticing)


  • Branding - What a product represents (lifestyle, personality, identity, values, qualities, look)
  • Media Saturation - When we are bombarded with adverts... 3,000 a day according to the Sell & Spin documentary and that was over 20 years ago!
  • Objectification - The seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object. In the representation of women, this is often sexual objectification.
  • Gender roles - For women roles are often limited to housewife or sex object. For men, roles are often represented as the breadwinner and being served by women.
  • Dismemberment - Cropping & fragmentation of the female body in media images which encourages objectification. Often this is the legs or parts of the torso.
  • Metrosexual - A neologism (a made up word) to represent a changing economic trend in male shopping and representation dating from the 80s/ a man who is attracted to women sexually, but who is also interested in fashion and his appearance.
  • Spornosexual - A neologism ( a made up word with sport + porn + metrosexual) The spornosexual is a more extreme breed of man than his metro forebear. He is just as plucked, tanned, and moisturised.
  • Lumbersexual - An urban lumberjack who is a man who has adopted style traits typical of a traditional lumberjack, namely a beard, plaid shirt, and scruffy hair, substituting otherwise clean-cut and fashionable style choices.
Spencer's rep test: The always ad got an A which was not surprising because it tried to break the gender barrier, by doing things that are normally associated with men and are not sexualised etc.


  • Rise of glamour model
  • Objectification
  • Construction of ideal male body
  • Focus on abs, pecs + crotch

Abercrombie and fitch:

  • It shows that you need to be muscular, caucasian, being active, looking brave and bold, young, camera angle focused on muscles and pectorals. Also, no hair. It shows that the person must be quite youn



What are they advertising?- They are advertising their own chocolate for consumers to eat.

What claims are being made for the products?- They are saying that their chocolate can help you become slim.

What image are they portraying? - They are portraying the perfect woman who eats Maltesers with a man on top. So it's basically saying that if you eat that kind of chocolate, anybody would want to eat it, as it seems that the man is trying to steal the chocolate.

Could companies make the same claims for these products today? - No


Because they are saying fallacies, as chocolates do not actually make you slim, instead, it somehow makes you fat.

Craven A

What are they advertising?- They are advertising their own cigarettes

What claims are being made for their product?- That their own cigarette is good for their own throat

What image are they portraying?- They are portraying that actually, smoking is good four your health, and therefore, you should start doing it.

Could companies make the same claims for these products?- No

Why?- Because as research shows, smoking is not good for your health, in fact, deadly. It could give you throat cancer. We also now know the bad benefits of smoking, and so therefore, they cannot make the same claims.

advertising regulation task:

1. Identify the groups of people who appear to be most vulnerable to advertising. That is, who are the regulators trying to protect?

They are trying to protect the strong people with many muscular features. And also, they like to protect white people rather than other races. Also, they like to protect able bodied people, so they don't like to protect the veterans, or the amputees or the such. They also like to protect straight people, and not the LGBT community.

2. Adverts for which products are most strictly regulated? Why do you think this is?

Adverts for things such as prescription drugs, because if you sell it out too much, or its fake, it could have quite a large effect on one, or even many lives. Also things that may be used in the medical industry, also are quite strictly regulated overall due to if you make it sound really fake, but convincing, then the buyer may be tempted to buy, and find out it was a lie.

3. Do you think adverts need to be regulated. What harm might they do (if any)?

I think adverts need to be regulated. They need to have a limit on what they show. But of course, sometimes, regulation can go over the top, and can be too regulated, basically barring a lot of speech if regulated too much. So there is a limit on adverts being regulated, but too many rules and restrictions certainly hinder how much an ad can say, so there are limits.

4. Create your own set of regulations - about 10 rules which you think should apply to advertisers.

1. Don't over-sexualise body parts

2. Don't consider another race more superior or better than another one

3. There is no "ideal" body type. Don't make only one body type be the ideal one.

4. Mixed-race families are not taboo. They are ok.

5. Make sure the ad does not offend one group of people.

6. Make sure you don't mislead your reader.

7. Make the ads responsible. Make it available for all ages.

8. Try not to make something taboo, rather something normal.

9. If you are staking a claim, support it with proven evidence.

10. Make everything honest.

11. No sexism or racism

12. No innapropriate adverts to children

13. No negative stereotyping

14. No air brushing

15. No objectification

16. No sexually explicit content

17. Have an appropriate placement location

5. Would the benneton ads pass your set of regulations? Would you ban them? Be prepared to explain why or why not.

The benneton ads would pass most of my regulations. But not one of them, which I stated should be user friendly, and anybody of any age should view them without any discretion. So I would ban them due to the showing of nudity, which I think is bad for kids, so overall, it would be a good ad if it tried not to use nudity and thought of a better alternative.

Who regulates advertising?

In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Legal, decent, honest and truthful.

Exploring the work of the asa Ltd

1. How many complaints were received?


2. What was the nature of the complaints?

That the ad was offensive due to the man's clothing and dance moves. Complaints were also received for being overtly sexual.

3. What was the ruling (Upheld or not upheld)?

It was not upheld.

4. What explanation was given for the ruling?

While acknowledging that some viewers might have found the ad distasteful, they did not judge the ad to be offensive and in breach of the code. BV

1. How many complaints were received?


2. What was the nature of the complaints?

The ad prompted complaints that the ad was offensive and encouraged bad language amongst children by using the word "booking" in place of a swear word.

3. What was the ruling (Upheld or not upheld)?

Not upheld

4. What explanation was given for the ruling?

They did not uphold the complaints, judging that it was a light hearted play on words that couldn’t be mistaken for an actual swear word. They also ruled that the ad was unlikely to encourage swearing amongst children; any children that did pick up on the joke were unlikely to have learned bad language through the ad itself.

Omega Pharma Ltd

1. How many complaints were received?


2. What was the nature of the complaints?

After seeing a photo of her friend who had lost weight, the other woman in the ad was unhappy about not being able to fit into her holiday wardrobe. The complaints were most likely received due to negative stereotyping of body image and confidence.

3. What was the ruling (Upheld or not upheld)?


4. What explanation was given for the ruling?

They banned the ad because it presented an irresponsible approach to body image and confidence.

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