Essay about Ad Analysis: Ahmed Merzouk

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Ahmed 1 Ahmed Merzouk Professor Elisabeth Gooding ENGL 1100 January 29th, 2013 Hidden Messages in Advertisements: the Vicks Ad The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is a non-profit organization that explores Canada from the point of view of its people, places, natural and cultural heritage, environmental, social, and economic challenges. It publishes periodically two magazines, Canadian Geographic, Canadian Geographic Travel. The goal of the latter publication is to help young working middle class readers to find attractive places for their holidays in Canada or overseas. To generate money, this publication relies on revenue from advertisers. Because the typical reader of this publication is young, well-off financially, and physically fit enough to afford adventurous holidays, it is interesting to analyse the ad and search for hidden messages that it may contain in order to understand the evolution of modern society. To take an example, the November 2012 issue of Canadian Geographic Travel displayed an advertisement from the giant pharmaceutical drug maker Procter & Gamble featuring the

Ahmed 2 ability of their two products DayQuil and NyQuil to quickly relieve cold and flu symptoms (Canadian Geographic Travel 29). The ad is a classic drug product commercial, but an attentive observer can easily depict an implicit message on how modern society is obsessed by the desire of staying young and healthy for as long as possible. The first implicit message in the ad is a suggestion that if someone wants to stay young and fit for as long as possible, he should follow the steps of that young man in the ad. The young man in question is the famous Canadian hockey player Jarome Iginla who was a player on the Calgary’s Flames hockey team for several years, and was the “Flames’ all-time leader in goals, points and games played.” In addition, Jarome Iginla was also a player on team Canada at several international competition games (Jarome Iginla, Wikipedia). The ad features two pictures of the athlete, one at day-time, and the other at night-time. The day-time picture represents the athlete playing for team Canada while exuding power and strength. In addition to visually conveying the message of strength, the day-light picture also reinforces the message of power by displaying a written message, “Power forward”, on the picture. Furthermore, the night-time picture of Jarome Iginla sleeping resembles to a

Ahmed 3 great extent the picture taken of him in the day-time while in full action at a hockey game. The intention of this contrast is to create or to reinforce within the reader the desire to gain that status of power in all conditions and circumstances. By doing so, the ad is responding positively to the desire of staying young and fit for as long as possible, which is one of modern society’ obsessions. The second and last implicit message in the ad is a suggestion on how to eliminate all illness pains, even for the most trivial, such as flu and cold symptoms. From perspective, the ad is very simple and is a classical marketing tool for a drug company, which wants to make profit from selling their drug products. It is based upon the desire of people to avoid any symptoms of sicknesses, even minor illnesses such as cold or seasonal flu. Under the two