Safe Auto Norm McDonald Self Parody Ads




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Safe Auto Norm McDonald -

                                  Having insurance for the important things that helps the average person get through the day is a total must , especially if you own a car . Auto car insurance companies like SafeAuto have made remunerable commercials promoting minimum coverage through the style of Anti-Ads.  In Safe Autos commercial, Norm McDoanld Differences, Self-Parody is the style to promote car insurance .This year, Safe Auto , has become new and improved as well as bringing in a fresh face to adversities state minimum coverage by hiring Norm McDonald.

                                  For years , SafeAuto has had so many innovative ways to advertise auto car insurance to the public. Safe Auto car insurance offers affordable car insurance that meets your states minimum coverage. In any state you can receive car insurance at a low minimum which makes it easier for you to afford.  In February 2013, SafeAuto came up with a new saucy way to advertise how Safe Auto has changed the way on auto car insurance by hiring “Official National Spokesman “ Norm McDonald. Norm McDonald is a retired stand-up Comedian and now speaks for Safe Auto jokingly advertising that “Safe Auto Keeps you Legal for Less.” With SafeAuto choosing McDonald as the National Spokesman, was a clever choice for the audience that these commercials are directed towards. McDoanld brings a sarcastic, monotone style which makes him perfect for the “Comic relief” in a serious matter such as car insurance. Almost everyone owns a vehicle and no matter which state you may reside in you need insurance. The audience intended for these commercials are very broad and unpredictable.  And choosing Norm was a perfect match for an unpredictable audience.

                                  SafeAuto commercials are scarcaticly blunt and down to the point, with chuckle to leave you pondering “How much would my state minimum be and did he just say that?” Norm concentrates on amusing the audience on how Safe Autos nonchalant advertising follows. In SafeAutos, Norm McDonald –Different commercial, the Anti-Ad used is Self-Parody Ads. “The object of attention is the supposed spokesman for the company who distorts the traditional role for the comic relief “(Simons and Jones, pg. 427) In the commercial Norm comes out and introduces that Safe Auto is new and improved and as  hired a new national spokesman. As he continues to introduce the new spokesman, he realizes that he is the new spokesman! He pauses with a confused face and says “I thought that I was the comic relief, huh?” He jumps to follow through with the announcement of a new Safe Auto and encourages car owners to get state minimum coverage with SafeAuto. Norm closes out the ad  and panicly states  “While I review my contract!” The commercial ends with Norm hastily searching through a table full of papers  expressing his confusion. “Where does it say ‘Spokesman’?”  In the Analyzing Product Advertising, it explains that the spokesman will do or say anything that the company would not do like be openly sarcastic about the product being sold. “The Self-Parody works because it makes use of the peripheral rather than the central route to persuasion.” , explained by professor Rod Martin.  The reading explains that it can be difficult to make a logical and rational argument for certain products. Advertisers have to “evoke positive association with the product in the minds of the viewers without encouraging them to think too much about the product.”  This basically means that when making a commercial that not only sales the product but also has to  find a way to draw in consumers in an entertaining manner. In SafeAutos Hollywood with Norm McDonald, Norm explains openly that even though Safe Auto hired him to speak for their company , “ Don’t think for one minute that they have gone all Hollywood on you.” Meaning that they still stand by the fact that we are for the average car owner and they do not have to have a famous actor speak for them. Even though Norm was once a known comedian, he is just as good as any other celebrity. And this follows into SafeAuto, it does not matter which you live in, you still can receive affordable car insurance. This is a great grab for the audience .

                                  The audience find Self-Parody rememerbale for the fact that they are “creative” . These commercials find a way to keep our attention and pulls the audience into possibly buying the product.  The reading explains that we must employ to understand the message and that they are interesting as well as funny. The advertising marketer’s effort to draw in the audience’s attention. And for the fact that we acknowledge the humor in each ad and that the audience can reply with simple laugh, is the whole goal for advertisers to keep their persuave approach to their audience and still find keep them amused.

Cicelle Beemon

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Axe Apollo

The “Axe” line of body wash and other male products has built a brand that has become synonymous with manliness.  They started and continue to create advertisements aimed at young adult and teenage males looking to portray that manliness and get the girl.  The commercial begins with a view of several very good looking women cheering for their team in the last seconds of a game.  After that the commercial cuts to one of the most dramatic endings in NCAA Men’s Basketball history, a winning shot by Bryce Drew at the buzzer.  Yet when the fans and cheerleaders rush the court they converge on an astronaut that smells of the new Apollo fragrance developed by “Axe”. This specific commercial combines two things that our culture believes makes a successful man, a high intelligence in sports as well as the ability to get the girl.  The use of sport as well as feminine sex appeal shows the ultimate victory for a man in our society.  This is not the only commercial by “Axe” that shows a correlation between people who use their products and their success in attracting very beautiful women.  The campaign’s over their entire existence has capitalized in creating and showing the young man wearing “Axe” somehow attracting a young woman he would not normally be seen with.

This advertisement and the campaign by “Axe” as a whole can be seen as propaganda for many reasons.  As the Randall Marlin chapter eventually defines it, propaganda is “the organized attempt through communication to affect belief or action or inculcate attitudes in a large audience in ways that circumvent or suppress and individual’s adequately informed, rational, reflective judgment.”  Dealing with the audience of young males, who often feel like their only purpose at that current time is to find a girl, it is particularly easy for “Axe” to get around rational thought.  The campaign is centered on young males winning over women because of the way they smell.  In particular the Apollo campaign is centered on them winning the ladies over other males who would usually be the ones winning over the lady because of more rational reasons.  These Apollo commercials can be determined as propaganda because they are trying, and ultimately succeeding if you look at sales numbers, to prove that the way you smell with their products will be so attractive to women that they will leave other highly qualified suitors for them.  In an individual’s “adequately informed, rational and reflective judgment the women should be attracted to the basketball players who overcame the impossible to win the sporting contest.  Or in another Axe Apollo commercial, the women should be more attracted to the good looking man who heroically saved her from a burning building.  Yet for no reason other than the “Axe” product, the women are most attracted to the regular Joe in the stands or walking down the street.

The Marlin article also deals with certain companies create a branding process, “which tries to associate the product with a lifestyle or world view, so that the buyer is buying an identity along with the product.”   “Axe” as a whole has created a brand that is synonymous with manhood as stated before.  Every advertisement created by the company used sex appeal to sell to young males.  It made the average male into a magnet for attractive women.  The brand is now thought of as a way to make young males more attractive, they are buying the identity of a man that will attract women and the identity of a perfect man.  There may be a correlation between smelling good and the ability for a man to attract a women, yet there is no rational evidence that a certain kind of body wash will do it as effectively as they portray it.  Yet, young males buy all of their products for that particular reason and “Axe” sales can prove the effectiveness of its branding and campaigns.

This campaign is very effective because of its ration of act: agent in Burke’s Pentad.  The act in every single commercial from the “Axe” product shows that the young man using the product will end up with a very attractive girl showing great interest in him, most often multiple attractive women.  This age group is especially vulnerable to this type of advertising because of the hormones in their developing body as well as societal pressure to date the most attractive girl as possible.  The societal pressures to look as much like a “man” as possible means getting the best looking girl and “Axe” shows that using their product will get you one that will make your friends jealous.  Going along with that same viewpoint of societal pressure and hormones the agent or agents are just as persuasive.  The girls who look like should be dating the captain of the football team within their commercials turn every teenage to young man’s head.  They only use women who are the definition beauty within our culture and dress them in clothes that are very tight and show a lot of skin.  The sex appeal of the women used in the commercials makes every guy jealous of the guy on the commercial.  The sex appeal, jealousy, societal pressure and hormones of their target audience make this Apollo commercial and the entire “Axe” campaign persuasive.

JW Kieckhefer

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Work Trip

For my final message evaluation, I have chosen a commercial from Samsung that is very funny. The product for this commercial is the Samsung Galaxy S3. The commercial uses humor and self-parody’s itself. Samsung is obviously trying to sell their phone and showing the features it can do like wireless data sharing. The commercial starts off with a husband leaving on a work trip and he is saying goodbye to his family while he is departing for his trip. The audience is in this commercial I think are slightly broad. The audiences are people that are looking to stay connected to family and friends while away and it is also showing a new feature of wireless data transfer that is exclusive just to that phone; I think it is safe to say that even the early to mid-20 year olds are also a underlying audience in terms of the new unique feature that is exclusive to this phone and also the sexualized message is a great attention grabber.

In this commercial Samsung advertises their phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3. The characters depicted in this commercial are of a family and the husband leaving on a trip. It starts off with a husband, his wife, and their two daughters walking out to a waiting taxi in front of their house. The daughters are the first to say goodbye and that they have left a video for him to look at on his trip when he misses them or wants to be reminded of his family back home. The husband then enters the taxi and the wife says that she also made him a video and they touch phones to enable the wireless data transfer of this video. “That is sweet.” the husband says smiling and the wife replies, “You probably shouldn’t watch it on the plane.” The husband has a dumbfounded look and a few thoughts of excitement, he was not the only one with a dumbfounded look; I also was because I am very happy for this couple to be keeping their marriage so fresh, especially after two children you just do not see that to often these days.  The commercial then flashes “The next big thing is here” and the scene closes with the taxi driving off.

This advertisement is an ‘anti-ad’ and more specifically a ‘self-parody’. According to the text a self-parody ad is where the object of attention is the supposed spokesperson for the company who distorts the traditional role for comic relief.  In class we presented the readings different types of advertisements. My group and I had the self-parody ad and went with a non-traditional way of advertising and laced it with a very heavy comical dialogue, which the text clearly stats is part of a self-parody ad. The ad starts with his daughter saying they made him a video, which is cute and sweet. Then his wife tells him she made a video for him and again we are thinking of how sweet that is, even the husband acknowledges how sweet it is; she then says, “You probably shouldn’t watch it on the plane.” Well this escalated quickly, but you see how the traditional role is reversed into creating a provocative ad that also happens to be humorous as well. The phrase, ‘sex sells’ does ring true in this ad but not in the traditional sense. They use humor but sexualize it to make it capture your attention and bring into focus on the commercial. The commercial then ends with words in the middle of the screen saying, “The next big thing is here.” They are doing the exact same thing here grabbing your attention with the sexualized message they just presented you with but also saying that there new product is capable of bigger and better things.

I think this ad was successful in persuading some people, not only with the commercial but also with the new technology that the phone does have. This commercial was effective and Samsung even made a replica of it featuring Mr. and Mrs. Claus, so wrap your head around that for a second. The average viewer would find the commercial intriguing not only for the sexualized message that was implied but also because the Samsung Galaxy S3 was a hugely anticipated new phone. This commercial was a very I would not say classic but very clearly a self-parody ad. This commercial does have the potential to offend some customers with the sexualized message and it does not focus on the phones features very much, it just shows one of its many new features.

In the end I feel the commercial was successful and was aimed towards a broad yet defined audience. It was a highly anticipated phone, this commercial was specifically just trying to gain more interest and pay attention to their new product. It is a clear depiction of a self-parody ad by advertising its new feature, yet being humorous in a way that many people could have a good chuckle to. This commercial serves as a very effective advertisement for the Samsung Galaxy S3.

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Snickers Satisfies Hunger and Comedic Need


     The last message evaluation of the semester should be left on a good note, so I am choosing to evaluate a Snickers® advertisement. Who doesn’t love a delicious Snickers? The ad is entitled “Coach” and depicts a football coach in a tough position. Players run to their coach and one asks “Fourth down, Coach. What do we do?” to get Robin Williams in a Hawaiian tourist shirt responding with “I’ll tell you what we will do. I want you to go on the field; look for anything with an O [pointing at the playbook]” Robin Williams continues by saying “Let’s kill ‘em… with kindness. Jimmy, I want you to make balloon animals. Tyler, make little tea cozies; something fun.” One of Robin’s players asks if he is okay. He vivaciously laughs and chants for “Mother Russia!” His assistant coach urges him to eat a Snickers® bar he conveniently has during their football game. When Robin asks him “Why?” and he responds “You get a little loopy when you’re hungry” Robin eats the Snickers® and the assistant coach asks him “Better?” At this point, Robin is now a large black man wearing school attire and responds “Better… Now let’s go for it!” and everyone cheers and runs away. As the camera pans out, there is an odd sight; a long haired, middle aged man in a leather coat atop the cheerleaders’ pyramid. That man proceeds to face dive into the turf as a dismount from the top of the pyramid. With bits of the turf stuck to his face Bobcat Goldthwait, the cheerleader, yells “Go get ‘em, guys!” A Snickers® in the making comes on and the narrator tells you “You’re not you when you’re hungry. Snickers® satisfies” with matching text overlaying the freshly finished Snickers® candy bar.

            In the Simon and Jones text we read for class (Analyzing Product Advertising) they discussed anti-ads. “Coach” is absolutely an anti-ad and uses a few of the styles they discussed. They start with Pseudo Non-Ads (PNA). PNA are meant to depict a realistic situation that is not to be seen as an ad. PNA want the viewer to see the ad as an account of something real that happened (424). The idea is that hunger can strike anywhere; even during the big game. Not only this, but hunger has its consequences. Those consequences could make you screw up the game; or fall off the top of the pyramid your cheerleading team has been practicing for weeks. The aspect that makes this part of the anti-ads is the exaggeration and the fact that you cannot become Robin Williams through hunger alone. You certainly will not act in the ridiculous way Robin Williams hunger pangs drove him to.

They talk about Code Transgressing Ads (CTA) next. These ads start with a traditional code and then break that code (425). This ad applies to this in that it appeals to a ‘code’ traditional ads try to appeal to: realistic situations. The idea that the problem may arise anywhere at any time is that situation. The difference is during the big game you typically power through it and get some grub when you can. Typically, people do not go bat shit insane and talk nonsense over a little hunger. Following that difference the problem is solved with a candy bar that is nothing short of delicious.

The last style of anti-ads this commercial uses is Self-Parody Ads (SPA). SPA gives attention to a person, usually of some celebrity importance or social value (actors, comedians, musicians, etc.), and that person twists the typical message for a funny appeal (427). Robin Williams and Bobcat Goldthwait are those people to help give the twisted message. Robin Williams shows that hunger has detrimental effects to your current psyche and responsibility until you eat a tasty candy bar to balance out your brain chemicals. Bobcat simply shows that being off your game can be detrimental to your well-being. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone having too good of a night after a face plant from any height.

Simon and Jones say that anti-ads are typically “heavy on faux-irrelevant irony and light on substance” (428). I think this ad does a good job of being an anti-ad but straying from this stereotype. It uses 3 of the 5 styles of anti-ads yet still lets the viewer know the candy bar is filling and delectable. Even in the faux environment and over exaggerated effects a useful advertising message was still delivered. They also say that anti-ads typically appeal to the common thought “Aren’t advertisements stupid?” (428). This advertisement does not, in my opinion, appeal to this stereotype either. It uses comedy and irony of a common situation to effectively deliver a message that may stick with people. They end the commercial with “Snickers® Satisfies”. It is simple and to the point, yet still effective.
            Personally, I love the ad. I think it is very funny and does a good job at making a memorable impression. The random humor of Robin Williams in this ad is what makes the commercial funny. There is not much that could have been done to make this commercial better. The contrast between Robin Williams and the actual football coach was a great distinction of non-hungry to hungry. Seeing that this is the last message eval for the semester I think I will go celebrate with a delicious Snickers®


-Craig Christman

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Apple’s Photos Every Day Ad

Technology never ceases to be upgraded. Every year, competing companies will come out with the latest version of their top smart phones, computers, video games, etc. Regardless of the number of changes made to the technology, a company will still release an upgraded product a year after its initial release. We see this every year with all the big smart phone manufacturers: Apple, Samsung, HTC, and the few others. For my final message evaluation, I have decided to analyze an Apple iPhone 5 advertisement.  The advertisement is called “Photos Every Day” and was posted on Apple’s Youtube channel just a week ago. With 1.5 million views already, it is easy to say that advertising plays an important role in how Apple constructs their own image.

The ad shows many clips of people using the iPhone for its video and photo functions alone. The ad shows the phone being used in a variety of settings: during a bright, sunny day, during a gloomy rainy day, out in a field, on the beach near the ocean, inside during a packed concert, even while riding a skateboard. The goal of this is to show that no matter what kind of lifestyle you have the iphone’s camera/video function will work for you. If I were to guess the target audience of this message, I would say that this message is aimed at Caucasian teenagers and young adults. Throughout the entire ad the iPhone is being held by a younger white person (with the exception of a couple scenes) while doing activities that are considered youthful, i.e. skateboarding, jumping on the bed, traveling, and attending concerts.

 I find it interesting that they made three or four scenes showing the talent taking and editing pictures of their food. A common occurrence among young people is taking pictures of their “well-prepared” food and posting for all their friends to see and talk about on the social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This has been poked fun at on television shows and even in songs, showing that it has a big enough fan base that it was important for Apple to put those three or four clips in for the massive amounts of people who follow the trend of “culinary photography”. In order to end the commercial, a narrator speaks the only line of the commercial while the clips continue. The only line that is said in this advertisement is “Every day more photos are taken with the iPhone than any other camera.”

Taking a look at the reading from chapter 12 by Simon and Jones titled, “Analyzing Product Advertising,” it talks about the eras of communication we have gone through and the one in which are currently, “hypercommunication.” This hypercommunication refers to the constant bombardment of ads a normal human must go through on a daily basis. The media is so over saturated with content from companies trying to push their product that the advertisements must be creatively constructed so that it will not only get to the target audience but will be seen and attended to by the viewers (420).  According to Simon and Jones, in this era of communication advertisers are using similar tactics in order to capture the target audiences’ attention.  These tactics are that being described as “misdirection of language” and in this Apple ad they are using the “trivially true” claim (431). The ad makes the claim that “more photos are taken with an iPhone than any other camera.” I consider this to be trivially true because the iPhone is a very popular phone and most people with camera phones will take pictures with their phone versus a second stand-alone camera for the convenience of using one piece of technology. So yes, everyday someone is taking a picture with an Apple iPhone, but that quality would not hold up to a new DLSR camera that is similar in price to the phone itself. Apple is almost making an “everyone-else-is-doing-it-so-should-you” argument, but making claims about the amount of photos taken, where as the ad would be more effective if Apple could make an argument for the quality and ease of use of the device.

Overall I feel this ad is not as effective as it could have been. Since I see myself as the targeted demographic of this ad, I would want to hear more about what makes the iPhone camera worth dedicating an entire ad to it. By telling me that it is used every day to take pictures, Apple is telling me something I already knew, and this is not effective as an advertisement.  With all this being said, Apple could have turned this ad around right at the end by saying that the entire commercial was shot using an iPhone. This would increase the ad’s persuasiveness because as the viewer I could see high definition video captured by the iPhone, but in this ad that is not the case. Better luck next time Apple.


– Phill Taner

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Going Out—The Stir by

For the last message evaluation I have chosen an advertisement by about a new product they have called The Stir—by  This is a new concept to their online dating site, which helps bring singles together. is a popular online dating site that matches singles in specific areas together as potential partners.  The Stir is a new concept developed my within the last year.  The Stir is live events that singles can go out and enjoy with other singles in their area.  These events very from bowling to cooking classes as well as dance lessons and many other live events.  The Stir is taking online dating offline and making it more enjoyable for singles to meet one another in cities all over the country. 

The audience that this advertisement is geared toward is singles who are interested in going out and meeting new people, rather than just meeting new people online.  I have chosen to apply this advertisement to the VALS system.  The VALS system is composed of eight categories, which is based on personality traits that influence the behavior of individuals in the marketplace and the amount of resources they have to spend.  These categories include:  innovators, thinkers, believers, achievers, strivers, experiencers, makers, and survivors.  This particular advertisement falls into the experiencer’s category.  Experiencer’s are consumers of the high-resource group and they are motivated by self-expression.  The experiencer’s are the youngest of all and they have an average age of 25.  Individuals of the experiencers category have a lot of energy, therefore they enjoy physical exercise as well as social activities.  Experiences are avid consumers and like to spend majority of their money on clothes, fast food, music and other youthful favorites, with a specific emphasis on products and services. 

 I believe that this advertisement is very compelling to the audience being targeted.  This commercial shows individuals of the experiencers category that being single and meeting new people is fun an exciting.  The Stir creates an environment that makes singles want to get out and meet one another, and they make it easy for people to meet at their live events.  There are several different live events to market towards all types of people.  Some of these live events include: bowling, dance class, happy hour, mixology classes, cooking classes, billiards, wine tasting, and sushi.  This markets to all types of people, which makes it easy to find a stir event that suits everyone. 

 This advertisement appeals to the experiencers because it is an example of young people with a lot of energy getting out and experiencing social activities.  Due to the nature of this advertisement being singles meeting new people and dating, the audience or experiencers are avid consumers.  Experiencers feel an importance to spend money on youthful favorites such as new products and services.  This is why young individuals partake in online dating sites like  Online dating has become vastly popular in recent years, and has been proven to work for several couples.  Therefore, this gives experiencers reassurance to partake in new products and services like’s Stir live events.  

 I believe that this advertisement created by about The Stir, which brings singles together through real life live events and makes dating fun and simple, is very completing to its audience.  The audience is defined through one of the eight categories of the VALS system as the experiencers.  The VALS system was created based on personality traits that influence the behavior of individuals in the marketplace and the amount of resources they have to spend.  The experiencers due to their high-resource group have created the ability for The Stir to exist and be popular among single people all over the country. 

 This advertisement is persuasive in several ways.  In recent years it has become a fact that online dating is growing and becoming very successful for several couples all over the world.  There are a number of online dating sites popping up and becoming vastly popular among singles.  With numerous online dating sites competing with one another, broadened their markets by developing The Stir.  The Stir opened new avenues for to capitalize on.  The Stir will bring in more clientele to than other competing online dating sites due to these live events.  Experiencers are members of a high-resource group, and a willing to spend money on new products and services.  Experiencers interested in online dating will be more compelled to spend money on an online dating account such as that puts together live events for free and gives singles the opportunity to meet other singles in the area, without the pressure of a one on one date.  The experiencers get to meet others who are interested in the same social activities.  The Stir is a persuasive tool that influences young single individuals to join and find their soul mate.  The Stir takes online dating offline. 

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The Leap List

For my final message evaluation, I chose a commercial advertising the Honda CR-V.  The commercial starts with a young, 20-something women in a Georgia t-shirt taking a picture of herself in front of her car, then shows pictures of her (and sometimes a friend) wearing t-shirts or standing in front of signs for all 50 states.  In each picture, she/they seem to be having fun and/or experiencing what each state has to offer.  The car is visible in some photos, but not all of them.  The commercial ends with her and the friend running into the car while “visit all 50 states” appears at the top of the screen with a box next to it.  A checkmark appears in the box while the narrator says, “The leap list: get going on yours in the CR-V from Honda” and the fine print about the car appears at the bottom of the screen, along with the logos for the CR-V and Honda.

This ad is definitely geared towards a younger demographic, and probably a more female demographic as well.  I first saw this ad on the Lifetime channel, which is geared towards women, so that assumption seems to fit (and the only two people seen in the ad are young women).  The fun locations and t-shirts and the act of taking pictures is what makes me think the intended demographic is a bit younger (in the 20s-30s range) since Instagram is such a popular app these days (and often used to take pictures of oneself in cute outfits in cool places).

As talked about by Malefyt, this ad is all about experiencing the product; Malefyt says, “progressive companies… avoid more ‘rational’ marketing approaches which treat brands as commodities, and instead ‘stage’ their services as events and offer their goods as ‘props’ (pg. 90).  This ad is a perfect example of this; it tells the consumer to go have an adventure, whether it’s visiting all 50 states or something else on the “leap list,” and that he or she can use the CR-V to do it.  This is a great way to advertise in today’s market; people want to have an emotional connection to a product, not just a rational one.  Consumers are more interested in how a product makes them feel or how they will experience it than how it works.  If the ad had focused on talking about what features of the car make it suitable for traversing the country instead of just showing the girls having a good time on their journey, it would have been less effective because of this.

The ad is also a great example of a pseudo non-ad.  These are ads that don’t look like ads; that is, they appear to be candid or real-life moments which just happen to be caught on film and happen to help advertise a product or a service (Simons & Jones, pg. 424).  The pictures in the commercial all seem as if they are taken by the girls (even though they are very well composed…) and they are presented kind of haphazardly, as if they are being thrown on a table as they look back over their trip.  When I first saw the commercial, I didn’t even know what was being advertised—I only knew it was a commercial because it was playing in the middle of a commercial break.  This anti-ad helps make the consumer more invested in what’s going on; he or she sees the pictures from the girls’ trip, with the girls having fun and smiling, and wants to know more about their experience and how to experience something similar.  Then, when the ad is revealed, the consumer has a more emotional tie to wanting to buy the car, because it makes it seem as if buying the CR-V will automatically make a super fun road trip across the country happen for him or her too.

I think this ad is very well-done and effective.  If I was looking for a car, I would probably want to check this one out; I don’t know anything about cars, so seeing a commercial telling me about the features of a car is way less effective than one that makes me feel like I will have a great time if I buy the car, like this ad does.  In general, as Malefyt and Simons & Jones pointed out, today’s consumer wants to feel like he or she is not being advertised to and to feel like the product will give him or her an experience or make him or her feel a certain way.  This ad does a great job of doing both, by making the consumer think that it isn’t an ad at all, simply a collection of pictures from a great road trip, and by correlating the car to said great road trip (which may be a fallacy, but it’s a fallacy that works).

Adrienne Bogard

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Flo to Success with Originality


For my final message evaluation, I chose a commercial from the insurance company Progressive that I have always found amusing. The product for the commercial is obviously Progressive’s car insurance. With the popularity of the character Flo, it doesn’t even truly need to be stated that that is the intended purpose. Arguably, the audience for this particular commercial would be women (as the ad itself is titled “Chick Flick”), but truly the audience is most likely anyone in need of insurance that is currently not using Progressive.

Like most Progressive advertisements, this one features the company’s beloved and well-known character Flo, yet she does not appear right at the beginning as she usually does. In fact, the commercial opens up much as a movie would, fading in from black to a long-shot scene where a man stands in the middle of the rain, his car on the side of the road, phone to his ear. He looks desperate and miserable, fitting sad dramatic music playing as an undertone to the rain. “I need you,” he pleads firmly into the receiver. He looks around him, lost, the camera spanning enough to show that it is only him in the road. “I feel so alone,” he adds softer, looking down, the music getting a little louder as the camera circles around him. After a breath, the camera reveals Flo standing a few feet away, unseen by the other, a phone to her own ear, as drenched from the rain as the man is. “But you’re not alone,” she calls out softly in protest, and the man turns, the phone falling from his ear, forlorn expression lightening. “I knew you’d come,” he says as Flo approaches him, a smile forming on her face. “Like I could stay away?” she demands, and the man waves his hand towards the car. “You know I can’t do this without you.”

They’re inches from each other and she breathes out, “You’ll never have to”, the dramatic music picking up in romantic-movie flourish. He gives her a weak smile, “You’re always there for me”, and she hushes him with a finger to his lips, the music building up – and then suddenly she beams and blurts out “I’ll get you a rental car!” The music stops and the movie atmosphere disappears as the man nods, looking up at the sky with a dry shrug. “I could also use an umbrella.” Information about Progressive appears at the bottom of the screen as the two characters talk, and the scene fades away to a black screen reminiscent of a movie preview and rating title, the music returning as the announcer says “Fall in love with Progressive claims service”.

                This advertisement could be considered an “anti-ad”, or more precisely, a “pseudo non-ad”, which according to the text is an advertisement that attempts to conceal or down-play the fact that it is an advertisement. Now in class we presented these types of advertisements as an “on the scene, happening in real life” concept, much like an on-the-spot interview, which the text supports. Here some would argue that this commercial is not a pseudo non-ad, because pretty much everyone knows that Flo is a character in Progressive commercials. However, the text also mentions that Nikon’s camera commercials featuring Ashton Kutcher are also pseudo non-ad commercials.  Now, Ashton Kutcher is well-known (though not as well-known as Flo) for being the face of Nikon’s camera commercials, yet those commercials still count. Again, another argument could be made that the Nikon commercials count because the emulate Ashton going out into real life, but this Progressive commercial would not count because it doesn’t present real life so much as it does a movie. However, the definition of a pseudo non-ad simply says “an advertisement that attempts to downplay or conceal that it is an advertisement by mimicking the codes and conventions associated with non-advertising forms”. Real-life scenarios are just one approach to making a pseudo non-ad; there can be others. Though movies have ad-placement, they are not viewed as advertising forms by the average viewer, which makes this commercial, by presenting itself in a movie form, fit into the pseudo non-ad category.

Overall, I feel that this is an effective advertisement for Progressive. However, this is mostly because of the base Progressive has already built up within its advertising structure. Viewers familiar with Progressive and the character Flo would find the commercial amusing and original – an interesting and different take on their normal (also pseudo non-ad) advertisements. For those familiar viewers who do not already use Progressive, this new creative type of commercial could be what it takes to convince them that the Progressive company is something new, hip, fun, and confident – a worthy risk for their money and investment. However, if this commercial were to have been presented on its own, without the buildup of the advertisement line and to an audience who didn’t have a clue what Progressive even offered, it would still be interesting because of its difference, but essentially ineffective. Remember, the commercial did not proclaim that it was for car insurance – it was implied.

However, in the end this commercial is a commercial within a line of advertisements, aimed towards an audience who would already be at least familiar with the product and its characters. It blocks itself from being an obvious (and annoying and easily dismissed) advertisement by being a pseudo non-ad, which viewers would appreciate, and using a different style than the other commercials by presenting itself as a small movie, which viewers would admire. Therefore, in regards to these, this commercial serves as an effective advertisement for Progressive and its insurance.

-Britney Carter

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Google Nexus Line Official Advertisement

The advertisement I have chosen is an ad for the Google Nexus line of devices. These are the phone, Nexus 4 and the two tablets, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. These devices are manufactured by Google and sold through Google’s Play store. This is the advertisement that I have as a pre-roll a couple times while on YouTube, and I have seen it on television, although, I do not remember what I was watching at the time. These devices run the “Android” experience, i.e. they are running an unaltered version of the Android operating system. Many phones and tablets that are on the market as Android devices run a modified version of the operating system. These modified versions include carrier or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) software modifications. Power users (users who utilize advanced features/settings) of Android do not like the modified versions.

I think this ad is advertising to two groups of people at once, albeit more effectively to one than the other. The main group this ad is targeting is the group made up of casual tablet users who would probably leave the tablet in their living room and use it sparingly. I think this is the main group because the focus of the advertisement is how easy it is to just ask Google a question and get an answer. It also only shows people using it while sitting down in a living room. And the questions are random and not goal-oriented. In contrast, someone who was out and about and needed to know something would ask for directions to a restaurant or business, ask how long it will be to get home, or ask what the weather will be like when they will be traveling next (Google Now, which is the Siri of Android, is capable of answering these questions). The fact that the advertisement did not include these questions tells me that the group which would ask these questions already understands what Android is capable of. The second group I think this ad is targeting is the power user. The power user does not want Samsung’s Touchwiz, HTC Sense, or Motorola Blur user interface (and extra software) interfering with the functionality that is the focus of Android. This ad shows the latest vanilla (unmodified) Android interface and intractability on each device. A power user watching this commercial will pick up on that and be like, “that’s a better alternative to this other brand because it doesn’t have a bunch of bloatware on it.” (Bloatware is the extra software and interface manufacturers pre-installed on devices.)

In the article “The Privatisation of Consumption: Marketing Media Through Sensory Modalities,” new marketing and advertising techniques are discussed. Malefyt (2006) discusses the trend toward a more sensory advertising model and less of a model based on the assumption “that consumers made brand selections and product choices based on actual information and ‘commonsense’ reason.” (pg. 89). This is basically saying that today’s advertisers find it more effective to appeal to a consumer’s feelings than to their reason. The methods to appeal to consumers’ feelings are simply capitalizing on engagement: how many opportunities for engagement can we create? What are the steps in the delivery process we have that will enable us to market as much as possible? Google is using this strategy. This advertisement is just a piece of it, however, and a touchpoint graph of Google’s overall campaign is a bit more involved. The Nexus line of devices are a big role in that campaign because when there is no extra software, the only remaining software (that comes pre-installed) are Google services: most importantly Google Play, Google’s online store.

This advertisement is effective to the ends of showing off a clean and Google-centric device. It also entices consumers with the idea of being able to have all their questions answered in a few seconds. The ad does not advertise the many other things you could do with a tablet or phone, and this is because consumers know what you can do with a tablet and phone. If this ad were targeted towards people who do not or have never had a device like this, this would not be an effective ad. As it is, though, the ad works.

To make this campaign more compelling, I would perhaps do an ad showcasing the new Play store design, and what how beautiful it looks. Another thing I might do is have an advertisement showing off the new features available only in the latest version of Android. This would help sell the Nexus line of devices because they all are running the latest version. It is hard for other devices to run the latest versions of Android because their manufacturers have to redevelop all their software for each newer version of Android. My new ad in combination with the one discussed here would work together to make the Nexus brand more compelling to consumers.

Nicholas Westerhausen

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A Life Companion


Shown here is a commercial advertising the latest Samsung phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4. Portrayed in the advertisement is an artistic rendering of the phone, showing various photos that have been simulated on the screen, along with a song playing in the background titled “Summer III” by Antonio Vivaldi. During the advertisement some lines of text are displayed, such as “Slimmer Yet Stronger” and “Unimaginable Clarity”. The advertisement also contains a short clip of a mother taking a photo of her child.

One of Samsung’s primary competitors in the smart phone market is Apple. There have been several lawsuits between the companies and several advertisements targeted towards each other, thus Samsung has been forced to increase their advertising efforts in order to compete with apple. This particular advertisement is for the newest phone the galaxy S4, their original phone in the galaxy line was released only 4 years prior. Although it would seem that Samsung should be marketing their phones to android users, to choose their phone over other android phones, such as Motorola, their efforts have been more focused on getting iPhone users to switch. Lately Apple’s commercials have focused on their phones ability to capture images and moments. It is clear that in this advertisement Samsung has done the same. By creating a similar advertisement to that of apple’s, with short lines of text and a focus on the phone’s camera abilities, it is clear that Samsung’s primary audience for this commercial are iPhone users, although one could also argue that the aspect of the mother and child is intended for mothers, and the scenery depicted in the photographs may be intended for those who travel often.

In the lines of text displayed in this advertisement, Samsung uses several of the claims that Simon and Jones say are misdirections commonly used in advertising.  The first line in the advertisement, “Slimmer Yet Stronger”, is clearly a “We’re Better” Claim. According to Simon and Jones, this type of claim asserts that it is better without finishing the comparison. This way they can assert something that cannot be refuted, thus Samsung asserts that their phone is slimmer and stronger, without comparing it to any other phone. The next phrase used in the advertisement is “Unimaginable Clarity”, this line is almost nonsense. If something has clarity, it has clearness in appearance, thought, or style, while something that is unimaginable cannot be imagined. Certainly something that I cannot imagine is not clear to me, thus Samsung uses what Simon and Jones would call a “Poetic” claim. This is a claim which is colorful and uses feel-good words, which are literally meaningless, yet still make positive associations. Lastly, the tag line at the end is “Samsung Galaxy S4, Life Companion”. This line is both a “Poetic” claim, and a “Trivially True” claim, either way the line is meaningless, and at the same time, if one can assert that the Samsung Galaxy s4 is a life companion, than who is to say that other phones are not also life companions as the majority of the same services are provided.

Another common form of misdirection in advertising, according to Simon and Jones, involves the imagery used in the advertisement. They call this visual misdirection. In this particular advertisement, in fine print, you will find that phone used in the commercial is not an actual phone; it is an artistic rendering, generated on a computer to look fancy. It also notes the screens are simulated. This means that the actions performed on the phone are not real and may not run as smoothly, and the screen resolution may not look the same. Simon and Jones would call this Photographic Alteration, as the artist’s rendition of the phone is made to look like the phone, while making it look attractive to the viewer.

Samsung chose to use a violin concerto for the background music. According to Malefyt, advertisements make more appeals to emotion now than they used to. Samsung chose this music to appeal to the viewer’s emotion. I believe they chose this particular song, because usually violin music is considered to be very beautiful, and they would like the viewer to think of beauty when they think of their newest phone model. The song also happens to contain a lot of build up. As the phone was not yet released when this particular advertisement was, this song would be able to get the viewer excited for the release of the phone.

For marketing to their particular audience, I feel that this advertisement was effective, and according to the recent sales reports, it has been. For me particularly, as a computer science major, someone who is more interested in the technical specifics of a phone than the looks, this advertisement would not gain my attention, however for the majority of those buying smartphones, they have done their job of making their phone stand out among others, particularly when consumers are deciding between iphone or android. If I were to change this commercial at all, in order to improve it, I might make comparisons to the iPhone, similar to the Mac vs PC commercials.

 -Wesley King

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