advertising campaign, advertising agency, advertising industry
marketing, market research, selling, promotion
wholesaler, retailer, consumer
to produce a storyboard
hatch, match and dispatch column
personal or agony column
persuasion, indoctrination, manipulation
a valid form of propaganda
to write a script for an ad
hard sell, soft sell
to discriminate between smth, consumer discrimination
to conjure up certain feelings, associations and attitudes
to encourage people to believe
to plant a name into consumer’s head
to rely on ads
to make first-hand judgments of quality (products)
to introduce people to new products
to be an insult to the intelligence
to have a corrupting influence
to make false promises
to exploit smth / smb (children, our dreams etc) for smb’s financial gain
to hoodwink smb
to beset the average human being
to cause offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex or disability
to be subject to certain requirements
The World of TV Commercials
Some people love them – others hate them – but almost everybody watches dozens of TV commercials every day. They are, in fact, a vital part of 1990s media culture. Why? Because they don’t just sell us products – they also reflect our dreams, fears, stereotypes and fantasies. So how do they work? Our journey through the land of “jingles” and “slogans” begins with…
Television commercials have to obey different rules in different countries. Even so, a few basic conditions exist almost everywhere. For example, advertisers mustn’t attack someone else’s product or make false promises. What they say must be, in the words of Britain’s advertising rules, “legal, decent, honest and truthful”.
When a company wants to sell its product on TV it goes to an advertising agency. If it likes the agency’s ideas it pays them to make one or more commercials. This business relationship is called an “account”. These days, many top accounts are worth several million pounds.
So what kind of products are advertised on TV? Well – almost anything. For example… w banks w cars w chocolate w insurance w toothpaste w computers w toys w coffee w airlines w supermarkets.
The Market Research
OK – so an agency has a new account. What does it do first?
Market research. In other words, it talks to consumers about the product and analyses what they say. To do this, it divides consumers into groups according to their …w age w race w sex w income. Market research shows what people think about the product.
Next comes the concept. This is a general idea for the style of the commercial. For example, it may be a cartoon fantasy, a 50s rock and roll party or a romantic beach scene. Some of today’s most popular concepts include… w the mini-soap (a series of commercials which tell a story) w the environment (this shows how healthy and natural a product is) w “the new man” (images of gentle, sensitive men, often shown with babies or young children) w “the female executive” (images of successful women with glamorous, busy lives).
A team of advertising agency people create each commercial. One member of the team is the art director. Once there’s a concept, he or she produces a storyboard. This is a series of pictures, which shows what the commercial will look like and how it will develop scene by scene.
Another important member of the team is the copywriter. It’s his or her job to write a script for the ad. This usually includes a short, clever, easy-to-remember phrase or “slogan”. Three recent slogans in British commercials were… “Gas – the heat of the moment” (British Gas), “Sony – why compromise?” (Sony), “Everything you want from a store and a little bit more” (Safeway supermarkets).
Images and words are both vital factors in a TV commercial. Another is the music. Some ads have their own short song or “jingle” (which usually includes the slogan). Others use pop, jazz or classical tunes to create a mood, which fits the product.
Commercials are one-minute-movies. They cost a lot of money and some take weeks to film. Others, of course, only take two or three days. It all depends on the product, the concept and the budget.
“Slots” are the short breaks during and between programmes. TV companies sell them to advertisers, but not all for the same price. A slot at 4.30 p.m., for example, is much cheaper than one at 8 p.m. That’s because more people watch TV in the evening or peak viewing hours.