Monday, April 8, 2013

Reading Reflections: Chapters 1-4

Chapter 1
Chapter One serves primarily as an overview on the purpose and execution of advertising by detailing the different forms (PSA, cause, commercial, B2B, trade), media (print, television, online, etc.), and agencies behind ads (full service, independent, interactive). I found the “Girls” trade advertisement for Penguin Books (p. 5) interesting because I don’t know that it is especially successful. The most successful ads are able to achieve more than the sum of their parts, with regard to their visual and copy: the two do not have to relate in an obvious manner, but they should reinforce each other, or introduce humor, sentimentality, etc. The “Girls” ad features an interesting visual and a potentially interesting headline, but the relationship between the two is unclear and does not seem to relate to the client. On the other side of the spectrum, this trade advertisement for the Fair Trade features a relationship between visual and copy that is tediously obvious and uninteresting (just like the visual and copy, themselves). 
Chapter 2
Chapter Two focuses upon the six phases of an advertising “project”: overview, strategy, idea, design, production, and implementation. The “I Know This Stuff” campaign for Taneff Law (p. 20) clearly displays a problem (people are intimidated by lawyers), strategy (“put the reader at ease”), idea (“simple, straightforward, no-nonsense approach”), and design aesthetic (“simple, straightforward, no-nonsense” with black on white, basic copy, etc.). One of my favorite advertisements, this basic ad for Ikea, similarly approaches a problem (people are confused by Ikea instructions), strategy (introduce the reader to the Ikea assembly service), idea (self-deprecating humor), and design (a spoof on their instruction manuals).
Chapter 3
Chapter Three investigates ways in which to think creatively to help with the “idea” phase, as listed in the previous chapter. The creative thinking solutions listed include brainstorming, morphological methods, framing, Osborn’s Checklist, mapping, graphic organizers, attribute listing, problem finding/seeking, and storyboarding. The “Stolen Handbag I” and “Stolen Handbag II” ads listed for Best Behavior (p. 35) apparently illustrate the “reversal” method of framing in that they show handbags not as means to transport one’s items, but as “more desirable” than the contents themselves (by implying that thieves will throw away contents of the bag to keep just the bag). The “Mass Transit” ad for Volkswagen illustrates creative thinking---possibly through framing---to humorously demonstrate that the VW bus can seat nine people, without stating so in copy or another obvious way.
Chapter 4
Chapter Four speaks to the importance of branding, especially in parity product markets. The chapter notes markers for brand promotion and brand constructs/concepts for personality, such as “the gold standard” or “attitude.” The “Not Included” ad for Hans Brinker Budget Hotel (p. 60) presents the brand attitude as cheeky, nonconformist, and self-deprecatingly honest. Avis, too, was able to present itself as self-deprecating, honest, and humble, which led to the endearing “We Try Harder campaign. The campaign took Avis’ “number 2” position among car rental services and spun it to say that the company therefore valued its customers more than competitors, and genuinely “tried harder” to please them so they would come back.

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