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... Free Sample on Marketing

Topic: Write an Essay, Critique on Advertisement


Write an essay critiquing an advertisement. The advertisement could be a full page ad from a glossy magazine a small ad from a newspaper ,a flyer ( that should be something that I can have it to attached with my essay) or just anything from the print media. While a print ad would be the easiest for you to work with. Essay like these usually focus on how the ad works to persuade its intended audience. As you write the essay you will focus on HOW the ad works to persuaded its intended audience. 



Ad Analysis: Prior Considerations.

The marketing literature and profession distinguishes between several criteria or recipes of what makes an advertising good or bad. One need be careful here, because we are not necessarily talking about the ad's private success or failure. Let us dwell on this topic in somewhat greater depth, and begin our discussion by addressing the ever-hot and controversial issue of suggestive innuendoes oftentimes used in the advertising of virtually all groups of products. The ad's content need not be overly explicit or provocative for it to actually provoke an immediate response and controversy in public opinion as to the tools it employs.

In fact, explicit advertising will unlikely be resorted to by large enough manufacturers because its effect clearly spills over onto unintended audience (minors, many religious groups, etc.), which will inevitably trigger public resistance as a stronger form of inertia. Then, the larger companies are, all else held same, more socially responsible if only due to their higher transparency to the public, which translates into a high opportunity cost of their reputation or 'goodwill' deteriorating. Finally, of course it depends on the degree of vertical integration or centralization within the distribution channel, or the manufacturer's ability to influence the retailers and wholesalers.

Like any piece of art, a printed ad has its focal points, positive spaces, and message. Accordingly, it may maximize the network of prospective supporters (the effective audience) if it provides a clever and sophisticated message for the audience that dislikes trite and uninspiring clichés or bare-bones information. They derive some exclusiveness from supposedly constituting a group sharing in common their ability to decipher signals and complete puzzles. Therefore, the suggestive and insinuating content may simply not work because its message is perceived as too cheap and trivial by some groups of sophisticated (well-educated) consumers. 

Among other factors contributing to the effectiveness of the message are non-discriminatory material (based on race, sex, etc.) and appropriate language. The former pertains to the acceptance or public inertia aspect of success, while the latter would suggest a leverage or tradeoff between the high efficacy of idiomatic language in the native environment and its failure elsewhere (compromising globally by maximizing locally). 

Ad Analysis: An Application.

We have chosen a printed ad by the Guess company manufacturing apparel, which constitutes part of an ad campaign launched in the mid-1990s. The ad depicts a young and attractive couple assuming a rather loose posture and mutual disposition that could suggest that, while they are probably having a fulfilling private relationship, they don't mind outsiders penetrating their privacy zone (or not feeling very uncomfortable about there being some onlooker possibly trying to "Guess"). This image adopted by the company for a long enough time now, appeals to the audience of young people in their late teens and mid twenties, readily to constitute and identify with a network of like ones. Evident is a specific attempt at demographic value differentiation based on identifying with the image of the brand: young, charismatic people readily to be accepted socially, which implies reason enough to stick with the brand. 

Provided the company manages to map the product's image into the message, the latter could be quite effective in private benefit terms. The controversy with the company's products, though, has arisen from the obvious exploitation of the well-selling yet socially costly (in the long-run) tool. The language issue does not pose a big problem even for global positioning, as the printed ad codes most of its message into a picture rather than words, thus reducing the possible ambiguities and idiosyncrasies by reducing that dimension. As discussed above, the message might not be selling as well with the more psychologically mature youth keen on more 'sophisticated' signals. 

Now, since the visual message appears quite obvious and rather low on artistic plot, its utmost effect should be traced on the subconscious level. People want to enjoy the most social acceptance possible, and will presumably invest in any properties or attributes that promise to enhance that acceptance dramatically. The criteria of adequacy are determined by the institutional pillars and otherwise value system maintained within the society, which involves things like wealth, power, physical attractiveness and intellectual capacity to name but a few. This particular ad suggests that the product being positioned has a predominant proportion of the emotive value in its value structure. Accordingly, it is not necessary that the audience is expected to try to converge to some already-existing elite circuit (although it does appear so and was probably intended to affect the consciousness of the target group that way). In fact, there is a network effect in action, whereby it is suggested that a prospective audience establish a network of individuals who would have in common those winning properties, by using this product. 

By the nature of networks, the larger this one grows, the higher its expected value to every newcomer. Therefore, the initially virtual (or hypothetic) reference group becomes a real and growing one. We have addressed the emotive value dimension, which is largely pertaining to brands in general. Indeed, it constitutes an important if primary value component in products otherwise hardly superior to another casual pair of denim. Where emotive value is involved, it strikes the cord of vain prospect of constituting a part of the high-status reference group if it is a mature product, or of establishing an exclusive network eventually to evolve into a reference group if it is a new product or a new image. In the case of "Guess" jeans, we see in particular that no prominent celebrities are employed to position the image. The good-looking yet unfamiliar youth depicted refer to the broader audience, closer to the real life (and easier to identify with) than the Hollywood celebs. If the latter were to be referred to as 'brand,' the former are neither generics nor any specific brand, yet still exclusive. 

One intricate point revealed by the mechanism pertains to the gap between the factors acting on the surface versus those harder to spot and control, and hence potentially more effective. Thus, the emphasis on the good looks might be confusing for the analyst, because the primary dimension of the image would supposedly be entirely captured in the product-specific value, rather than model appearance as the key to club membership. While far from all of the targeted audience could boast a similar attractiveness, it is in the company's best interests to widen the audience rather than excluding those that don't qualify. The exclusion does take place, yet in the form of recognizing as socially fit those opting to enter the network, and rejecting those that fail to. Therefore, the good looks evidently act as a purely psychological trick not stressed in the official message yet pretending to impose a whole range of winning properties on those willing to invest in one. The inconsistency is of course hidden, so that both the formal and the informal messages have an effect on the audience. 

Finally, the "Guess" wear shows to be comfortable and private, in fact at times a bit too relaxed with respect to the social standards. That could be viewed as a form of protest against hypocrisy and arbitrary social constraints, which traces in the characters clothing style and behavior alike. The message is thus for the audience of young individuals feeling too special to comply with too many standards and willing to join a network of similar ones. 


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