Advertising Analysis

The following sample Marketing critical analysis is 1045 words long, in MLA format, and written at the undergraduate level. It has been downloaded 708 times and is available for you to use, free of charge.

In the Pringles Sour Cream and Onion advertisement, there are no people, simply a cartoonish picture of homemade sour cream and onion dip spilling out of a bowl nearby an open fridge—most likely to hint that the Pringles taste as if they were freshly made from a home kitchen.  The text “So creamy they belong in the fridge” is spelled out in the spilling dip with accents of onions. The audience for this ad seems to be twofold based on the messages it appears to be delivered. The first message is the visual wildness of a sloppy kitchen and of the dip coming to life to spell out a message. This would indicate a youth market is a focus. 

However, the homemade quality of the old-time refrigerator in the background with the fresh ingredients peppering the scene would indicate that the advertisement is being targeted to people interested in healthy options—namely moms.  The word “creamy” is used in the description of the chips, which feels like the wrong word. It doesn’t sound like a word that would appeal to children (children are more drawn to words like “tangy,” “crispy,” or “intense”) or to moms (moms are more conscious of how foods creaminess may affect one's health, and so would avoid these choices for their families). 

In the bottom part of the advertisement, the words “Bursting with Flavor” appear, which seem to be more in line with the hyperbolic language that is necessary for gearing ads to children. In the lower-left of the advertisement is a Facebook icon, which is another indication of youth marketing.  The choice to use the specific color of green in the background is an interesting one because it is an intense version of grass green. Green indicates naturalness and health, but the saturation is punched up here to take it from a gentle effect to a neon one (“Color of Advertisements”). It would make sense that this choice was made to appeal to the desire for natural products, while also remaining “cool” by upping the vibrancy and playing off of the inclusion of the product of green onion flavoring. There could also be said to be very nuanced sexual undertones in this advertisement. The drenching creamy dip spilling out all over the place in a sloppy jumble, as well as the words “creamy” and “bursting,” support this claim. This advertisement may subconsciously resonate with adolescent males because of these factors. 

The Logical Fallacies included in this advertisement are as follows: Appeal to Ignorance, Appeal to Tradition, Appeal to Authority, Hypothesis Contrary to Fact, Red Herring, and Inconsistency (“Common Fallacies in Reasoning”). From the analysis above, it is easy to see how ignorance can read the advertisement as traditional (homemade) and having authority (moms are an authority who also make homemade things). Processed foods are not fresh or healthy and rarely does the term “creamy” have anything to do with good health. Therefore, the advertisement’s hypothesis is contrary to fact, issuing forth inconsistencies and red herrings in an attempt to sway its audience. All of these would point to the intent of the advertiser to market to an ignorant demographic. It could be said that children and adolescents, who are more likely to be ignorant of a health claims veracity would be effectively marketed to with this advertisement.

In the Vasoline advertisement, there are no featured people. Just three varieties of the new product are shown. The only human element is the words “feels good, does good,” which appear to be scrawled as if by a finger on a steamy mirror. The fact that there are multiple types of the same lotion in pastel type colors that are not the obvious purple, pink, or red, indicates that this is an advertisement for a female head of household. She needs products that are not overly feminized so that they will appeal to the other members of her family. The steamy finger font of the text indicates an after-shower message of a busy woman who didn’t have time to stick around and model the product. 

There is a lot of fine print indicating which type is best for varying types of skin, and the fine print also indicates that the product is full of healthy and new ingredients that will promote physical wellbeing beyond smooth skin. Celebrity endorsements also influence consumers' willingness to buy the product. There is also a money-back guarantee. This large amount of text is marketed toward people who read labels and fine print—people who search out products and perform their own form of home-brewed analysis in coming to a purchasing decision. The “feels good, does good” phrase sums up all of the fine print into a nifty slug-line that the consumer can take with them as a summation of the small print. It appears that all of the analysis work has been done and included within the advertisement so that the busy consumer can rest assured that they no longer have to do it themselves. 

The color choices are excellent for this product. The white background features the product, the green bottle infers nature and lightness, the yellow product infers the classic quality of the original Vaseline product, and the brown bottle infers richness and saturation. 

The Logical Fallacies that the advertisement uses to sell its product are Appeal to Authority and Faulty Sign (“Common Fallacies in Reasoning”). Vasoline, having been in business for so long, uses phraseology that indicates the manufacturer has dubbed itself an authority and is now telling consumers authoritatively which the best products are to buy. The Faulty Sign comes with the assertion that “Stratys-3” and “pure naturals” are what make a lotion excellent. This is taken as an assumption within this advertisement with no proof to explain what these things are and whether or not the claim is true. It would appear that this is a successful advertisement despite these Logical Fallacies because of the fallacies themselves. These are seemingly natural-themed options offered from a trusted source to busy consumers on the go. These fallacies offer comfort and complacency which will inform how a consumer actually views the product even if it doesn’t meet their expectations.

Works Cited

“Color of Advertisements.” Projects for Students by Students, n.d., http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/02403/english/colors.html

“Common Fallacies in Reasoning.” Fullerton University, n.d., http://commfaculty.fullerton.edu/rgass/fallacy3211.htm