Write a critique on Jib Fowles article, Advertising's Fifteen Basic Appeals - Essay Example

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You have two to three seconds to tell your story and to tell it in such a way that it should make the target audience to shell out the money from their pocket and make a buy. Bill Bernbach…
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Write a critique on Jib Fowles article, Advertisings Fifteen Basic Appeals
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Sex The Power Of Advertisement The world of advertisement is truly magical. You have two to three seconds to tell your story and to tell it in such a way that it should make the target audience to shell out the money from their pocket and make a buy. Bill Bernbach has rightly said that “ Advertisement is not a science. It is a persuasion. And persuasion is an art” [1] . This art has been used by advertisers and the companies throughout the world to make people buy their product.
Jib Fowles, through his essay “Advertisings Fifteen Basic Appeals” has given the information about the emotional appeals that advertisers use to make the consumer buy the products, and hence making us consumers smart enough not to become a prey to their gimmicks. His effort is to make us aware about the visual gimmicks that are being used to make us believe in certain things that are not true. Fowles has done a great job by giving us examples of different advertisements and talking about the different emotional and subconscious drives they are trying to appeal to.
The essay is sort of good as far as information goes, however, I personally think that it has missed the essence by not mentioning the word ‘mental association’ and by downplaying the importance of sex in the advertisements. Let us understand one thing, right from the advertisements of the bikes, shaving blades, medicines, cosmetics and laptops, sex plays a huge part. Maybe not directly, but certainly indirectly. If a medicine commercial says that it keeps you young, it certainly gives you an idea of biological pleasures of remaining young and sex is one of the pleasures. The Pepsi commercial can make a person to buy a cold drink not because he likes the cold drink but by ‘arousing’ him and mentally associating him with Michael Jackson [2] . The Honda commercial, in flat one minute thirty seconds, pumps up the adrenaline and in the end makes you believe that owning a Honda is to experience the power of dreams [3] . Through the power of music, speed, victory and success, this commercial takes you to the peak of your feelings and arouses you to believe in the story.
No matter what product is being advertised, sex plays a major part. If I am a girl and I see a commercial of Pajamas, I will definitely be associated with the playfulness, power, sexuality and the pleasure that the girls are shown having and will end up buying the product. I might not wear pajamas but the commercial is powerful enough to make me believe that I can be like those girls if I wear Victoria’s Secret [4] . We hardly ever see a commercial where the models are fat, filthy, out of shape and lazy. And even if there are, then the commercial talks about how these can be transformed into beautiful people by using their product. Leave aside cosmetics, lingerie or apparel commercials, but even the commercials for baby products have shapely and beautiful mothers. This is because we like to see bodies that are in shape and bodies that can somehow ‘arouse’ us. So nudity might not be used by the advertisers but they definitely use sex indirectly to touch our most basic drive which is the sex drive. Feelings like prestige, power, fame, security, affiliation and love are nothing but the extension of our primal drive and that is the sex drive. When an advertiser, with the aid of music, visuals, colors and models ‘arouses’ me to associate with the story, I am definitely going to buy the product.
A consumer can stop being fooled by the advertisers only when he stops to associate the emotional and the mental feelings with the external material objects and starts to find it within him. Till that time, the consumer will be a victim of magical but not so genuine world of advertising and it will not be a fault of the company or the advertiser. It will be the fault of the consumer.
Reference :
Jib Fowles , Essay “ Advertisings Fifteen Basic Appeals”, < jfowles.html >
[1] Advertising Quotes, < >,
25th February 2009
[2] Pepsi Commercial, < >,
25th February 2009
[3] Honda Commercial ,
25th February 2009
[4] Victoria’s Secret Commercial
< >,
25th February 2009 Read More
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