Stylistic Analysis of an Advertisement
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The text I decided to analyze is an advertisement taken from British edition of Cosmopolitan magazine (11/2007). The advertisement introduces new cosmetology product for men.
Advertisement is a genre of newspaper style proper. Main purpose of advertisement is to sell the product and to make money. First they inform you they are introducing new product and they try to persuade you indirectly to buy it by using headline, emotionally colored words and syntax. In this case, Company Clarins promotes new product called Skin Difference, which makes shaving easier, slows down the growth of the beard and softens the skin. The name of the product ‘Skin Difference’ suggests that your skin will get smoother and softer when using this product.
Language is presenting [‘Clarins introduces Skin Difference, the best way to get kissed every day.’], convincing [‘Bison Grass, Purslane, Chinese Ginger and Avocado help protect and moisturize while promoting firmer, more youthful-looking skin.’], believable [‘What’s more, Skin Difference targets the entire face to smooth, soften and revive dull skin.’], and also instructive. [‘One pump of the double-vial bottle delivers a unique formula that’s exceptionally rich in powerful plant extracts.’] Language has a conotative function, because it is supposed to address and influence the reader to buy a product. It can directly address the reader. ‘Big difference you’ll both notice.’ Purpose of pointing is to emphasize and to make it more persuasive.
Cosmopolitan readers are girls and women aged 15 – 35. Although product is for men, advertisement is for women. Women are the target audience, because it is usually them who buy cosmetics for men. This affects the language too. Language addresses women, because it is them who want ‘to slow stubble growth’ of their boyfriends/ husbands and they want men to have ‘smooth and soft skin’ when ‘kissing them everyday’. So, common cosmopolitan reader is modern woman who is materialistic and willing to buy a new product. This woman realizes the importance of taking care of her skin and thinks men need to take car of their skin too. She is most likely to have a boyfriend or husband. All this suggests there is a big chance of selling the product.
The text has two headlines which are crucial to the success of advertisement. One is the first sentence [‘Clarins introduces Skin Difference, the best way to get kissed every day.’] It is forgrounded – it is in bigger letters and in red color. So it immediately catches your eye.
It gives the reader the feeling of getting benefits. It also introduces new product and includes the name of product and trade mark. The purpose of the headline is to make you interested in the product. It must be attractive, because it determines whether the reader will read further or skip to another page. In this case the first line of the text does not finish the idea [‘Clarins introduces Skin Difference, the best way to get’] and leads reader’s eye automatically to second line [‘kissed every day.’]. Reader asks herself a question – To get what? And the answer sounds good – To get kissed every day.
So when reader finishes the headline, she will probably continue reading out of the curiosity to find out what is that best way to get kissed every day? Second headline is a first sentence of second part of the text ‘The first dual action night-time product for the shave zone and skin’. This headline is also forgrounded. It is written in capital letters, is also in red color, and it is an introduction to more specialized part of the text. The name of product ‘Skin Difference’, name of the firm ‘ClarinsMen’, slogan ‘Long live men’s skin’ and webpage are also forgrounded (different fonts, bold letters, and sizes of letters).
There is a big black and white picture, almost half page, of a very handsome man who is being kissed on a cheek by a beautiful woman. Reader can sense the smoothness of man’s skin from the picture. He has a confident look in his eyes while woman’s eyes are closed as she enjoys a touch of his skin. This picture is a parallel to company’s logo, which reader can find in the first part of the text and also on the picture of the product itself in bottom right corner of the page. Logo is very simple; there is one half of the man’s face with the lip print on his cheek. Readers associate this simple logo with a great big picture and it is this picture that will stay in their minds. Furthermore logo and the picture are parallels to product’s headline ‘the best way to get kissed every day.’ Logo and also picture of the product are in blue color to make readers to remember it.
Lexical expressive means and stylistic devices – This advertisement uses figurative language. There are many lexical collocations used ‘the best way to get kissed every day’, ‘Skin Difference’, ‘first product’, ‘stubble growth’, ‘dull skin’, ‘big differences’, ‘the first dual action night-time product’, ‘patented plant-based formula’, ‘double-vial bottle’, ‘unique formula’, ‘exceptionally rich in powerful plant extracts’, and ‘youthful-looking skin’. These are mostly technical epithets and metaphors, which make the text more intense, more enjoyable and more attractive for the readers.
The verb ‘to buy’ is not used in this advertisement, because Clarins does not want consumers to have a feeling of spending money and they choose words very carefully. They use such words that are frequently used in advertisements [verbs – get, introduce, help, and want, adjectives – new, best, easy, rich.] There are also compound words used ‘plant-based’, ‘youthful-looking. The suffix -er [easier, quicker, firmer] is used to stress the high quality of the product.
Grammatical patterns – Present tense is mostly used in this advertisement. I found example of genitive – ‘one pump of the double-vial bottle…’ and gerund, which indicates the procedure – ‘Always wanted shaving to be easier? …next morning shaving is quicker…’Syntactic expressive means – Modality is expressed through fronting, which highlights and emphasizes the meaning. ‘Applied at night, next morning shaving is quicker, easier and more effective. What’s more, Skin Difference targets the entire face to smooth, soften and revive dull skin.’ The use of modal verb predicts the satisfaction of customers and makes the text more personalized. ‘Big differences you’ll both notice.’ Here is also another example of fronting that breaks the classic word order, because object ‘big differences’ is placed at the beginning of the sentence to emphasize the results of using the product.
There is also ellipsis ‘Clarins introduces skin Difference, [which] is the best way to get kissed every day.’ or ‘ [Have you] always wanted shaving to be easier?’. Example of marked modality is use of question in the text. ‘Always wanted shaving to be easier?’ This interrogative sentence is quick and effective to arouse readers’ response, because it addresses the reader directly and triggers answers in her mind. But the reply is not really expected, because it is question-in-the-narrative that is followed by the answer. ‘Now it is.’ Use of -s inflection indicates fact mood – ‘One pump of the double-vial bottle delivers a unique formula that’s exceptionally rich in powerful plant extracts. Fibraurea Recisa softens hair texture and helps moderate growth.’ Repetitions of words ‘skin’, ‘difference’, ‘shaving’, ‘formula’, and ‘soften’ indicate stress and emphasis of these key words that describe the product. I can easily create a sentence using these repetitive words to express the main idea of the text – New formula of Skin Difference softens hair and makes shaving easier.
Text as a syntactic whole – Text is graphically and also semantically divided into two parts. First part is one paragraph aligned left. It is a short and clear introduction (7 sentences) of new product and of effects it has on the skin. The first sentence of the paragraph is a headline, and then there is the body of the text, which is the main part of advertising information. The text logically develops through question and answer – ‘Always wanted shaving to be easier/ Now it is.’ The text continues to present the effects the new product has on skin. Then there are some more additional positives named – ‘What’s more, Skin Difference targets the entire face to smooth , soften and revive dull skin.’ The last sentence concludes the benefits of the product ‘Big differences you’ll both notice.’ There are simple sentences and less complex sentences used, because they do not want reader to get bored on reading complex sentences.
The second part is more detailed written in more complex sentences. There is professional vocabulary connected with cosmetology branch. ‘A patented plan-based formula. One pump of the double-vial bottle delivers a unique formula that’s exceptionally rich in powerful plant extracts. Fibraurea Recisa softens hair texture and helps moderate growth. Bison Grass, Purslane, Chinese Ginger and Avocado help protect and moisturize while promoting firmer, more youthful-looking skin. Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic.’
Despite this, text is easy to understand, because it gives clear instructions of how to use the product, expertise of ingredients and effects of these ingredients. In very small letters there is required health information – ‘Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic. This part of the text is aligned right, next to the picture of the product. It looks like product magnetizes the text to its side. This part is also introduced by a headline and concluded by a firm name ClarinsMen followed by a brief slogan ‘Long live men’s skin.’ It is a stylistic device which is a code that needs to be deciphered. I associate it with ‘Long live the king’. It suggests the idea that users of products are kings. It is provocative to push reader to take action – to buy the product. There is also webpage ‘www.clarins.co.uk’ in bottom left corner of the page that customers can check for more information.
I have also found examples of asyndeton ‘Clarins introduced Skin Difference, the best way to get kissed every day.’ and polysyndeton ‘Bison Grass, Purslane, Chinese Ginger and Avocado help protect and moisturize while promoting firmer, more youthful-looking skin.’Grammatical Cohesion – ‘New from Clarins, skin Difference is the first product to slow down stubble growth and soften the beard. [Ellipsis]Applied at night, next morning shaving is quicker, easier and more effective. What’s more [conjunction], skin Difference targets the entire face to smooth, soften and revive dull skin.
Furthermore I found examples for three types of lexical cohesion. Repetition – ‘Clarins introduces Skin Difference, the best way to get kissed every day. What’s more, Skin Difference targets the entire face to smooth, soften and revive dull skin.’Synonym – ‘Clarins introduces Skin Difference, the best way to get kissed every day. New from Clarins, Skin Difference is the first product to slow down stubble growth and soften the beard. The first dual action night-time product for the shave zone and skin.’Collocation – ‘Always wanted shaving to be easier? Skin difference is the first product to slow down stubble growth and soften the beard.
Bison Grass, Purslane, Chinese Ginger and Avocado help protect and moisturize while promoting firmer, more youthful-looking skin.’As to the coherence, reader can connect the advertisement with her knowledge of the trademark Clarins and with some Clarins products she has already tried. Reader can compare their product to other companies’ products, their advertisements, and prices. I myself am missing knowledge of the Clarins company. I just know from advertisment it is some British cosmetology firm, but I haven’t had a chance to try their cosmetics, as their products are not available in Slovakia. So I differ from the British reader.
In conclusion, this advertisement is a consumer advertisement (cosmetic ad) which is composed of the most important elements of magazine advertisements (headline, body copy, slogan, illustrations and colors, trademark, and brand name). It promote product that is used and purchased by ordinary people. It was published in magazine and sponsored by Clarins company whose aim is to sell the product to the person who will buy it for someone else’s use. First it attracts consumers’ attention to the product and makes them interested. Then they realize this is just what they want and take action of purchasing. This is achieved by the use of special language. Advertising language is very different from common language. It has its own features in morphology, and syntax. The language used is simple, attractive, visual and emotional.
Source:Cosmopolitan magazine (11/2007)