Being an adman isn't easy. Advertisers need to capture--and keep--an audience's attention, while successfully delivering a message in 30 seconds or less. (15 second ads are common, and Master Lock just released a 1 second ad.)
In addition, a good ad must compete with other flashy ads on television and, most importantly, get the viewer to remember that product being advertised (studies show that most viewers cannot recall the product being promoted in the most recent ad they saw, even when the ad aired within the last 5 minutes).
Here's how it's done:
Classical music lends, well, class to products. It's used frequently in commercials for expensive cars, perfume and fine wine.
The classical-style music in the black-and-white diamond engagement ring commercial evokes a very strong emotional response even though the music is not "authentic." It's actually a contemporary piece modeled after the music of baroque composers like Antonio Vivaldi.
Classical music and opera are also used with contrasting products such as jeans or sneakers.
MTV (music television) reaches one of advertisers' most coveted demographic groups, 18 to 34 year olds. As a result, many ads attempt to imitate MTV's trademark style of quick cuts, creative camera angles and eye-catching visuals in order to attract and keep the attention of a younger audience.
Studies show that "distraction increases the effectiveness of a weak message" (Pratkanis, Aronson. 142) because it decreases a viewer's ability to counter the argument made in the ad. Other techniques used to distract viewers include songs, irrelevant pictures and offbeat characters.
black and white
Advertisers often use black and white to evoke the past, making the product or idea seem classic and timeless. The technique is also used for dramatic effect. Nike commercials, specifically the "if you let me play" ad, often take advantage of this.
- Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson. Age of Propaganda.
- Courtland L. Bovee and William F. Arens. Contemporary Advertising.