Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Images in Advertising

By Mike Stadler

No matter where we look, whether it is online, the television, or in magazines we are consumed by the bright colors and slogans of the advertising images presented to us.  Each company has their own logo, but inside these logos they will have unique images for their products that they sell.  Why are images so important in advertising? We have been attracted to the pictures from a very young age and those habits will stick with us forever.
 The most important part of an advertisement is the image that it presents to the intended audience.  The image could present an average guy drinking a beer while talking to a good looking woman.  This image tells the male audience that if you drink this beer then you will be able to talk to women like that.  It could also present the image to women that drinking a beer in a certain manner is attractive.  The first example is known as indirect advertising (Phillips, 2005).
Indirect advertising allows the company to give off more messages then the spoken one.  For instance a beer company is advertising the quality of their beer, but there are multiple messages being conveyed through the images.  “Clearly, advertisers have come to believe that making indirect claims can confer some advantage over making direct claims” (Phillips, 2005).
The importance of the use of images in advertising has increased with the popularity of indirect advertising campaigns.  There are many reasons for the switch from direct messages to indirect messages, but the biggest is the amount of time consumers actually take to read or listen to the intended message.  Most consumers will look at just the pictures in advertisements and only if the picture captures their attention will they read the intended message.  Each of these specially designed ads try’s to create an identity for the company.  The identity created through advertisements will allow the consumer to relate to the company logo and take notice to these ads through brand awareness.
Brand awareness is defined as the extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers and is correctly associated with a particular product (Brand Awareness Definition, 2009).  One of the key components of brand awareness is the company logo.  This logo needs to be something unique to the company that their target audience can easily identify with.  It could be something such as the Nike swoosh, the Chanel C's, or even the Clydesdales of Anheuser Busch.  If the logos serve their purpose each time they are seen by the consumer it will trigger reaction from the consumer to the logo, from the logo to the product, and hopefully the product to the consumer.
Now that the advertisements have persuaded the consumer to buy the product they will be met with more techniques to try and persuaded them even further to buy products they had not planned on purchasing in the first place.  If they choose to buy online they will be met with brightly colored advertising banners and special discounts.  If internet shopping is not quite their style then going to the store could be even worse when it comes to persuasion.  At the store the everyday items are kept in the back.  This will force the consumer to go pass the multitude of isles and temptations that can pull on any consumer’s wallet.  Organizing the store in this way is just one of the tactics used.  Some of the others include no clocks on the walls creating the illusion that time is not a factor.  The next form of persuasion at the store uses brightly colored packaging at a child’s eye level to induce the "I want's."  These products that appeal to children will use characters that the children have seen on TV advertisements, once again coming from the indirect form of persuasion.
Images play a vital role in today’s advertising campaigns and will continue to be utilized as a tool to persuade and draw consumers to products.  As consumers we are constantly influenced by these images and choose what we will inevitably purchase.  What will be the next image that convinces you to buy that latest necessity?

Brand Awareness Definition. (2009). Retrieved September 27, 2009, from

Phiillips, B. J. (2005, June 22). Indirect persuasion in advertising: how consumers process metaphors presented in pictures and words. Retrieved September 27, 2009, from

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