Advertisement Analysis

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Spalding NEVER FLAT™ Advertisement Analyzed
“Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement” (Samuel). This quotation claims that a promise, as the soul, is an essential part of any advertisement – it means that a promise is always present in an ad. This has always been true even in a long time ago since it was written by the famous writer Johnson Samuel who lived in the 1700s (Lynch). Furthermore, even in those past years, it can be concluded that advertisements had already greatly influenced the lives of people, that this well-known writer even wrote an essay about it – the “Idler No. 040: The Art of Advertising Exemplified” where the quotation is from. Ads can be seen almost everywhere one turns his/her head on to, – TVs, radios, the internet, magazines, billboards, newspapers, posters, flyers, etc. – and it has greatly influenced people in the society by creating these imaginary ‘needs’ – things that people think they cannot live without because of the pressure advertising is tossing to the society – and setting up social standards for fashion, beauty, fitness, technology, lifestyle, and more. In the present time, the quote still holds true as observed in current advertisements – ads making large promises in order to induce its targets to buy the products they are advertising. One of these advertisements is the Ad for Spalding, a sports equipment brand, printed in the July-August 2008 issue of Hoop magazine, an official NBA (National Basketball Association) publication, which uses strong and large promises, a well-known NBA player, and repetition of words to effectively impress basketball enthusiasts and make them buy and use this product.

The ad pictures on the right a serious looking Paul Pierce wearing a green, number 34 jersey with his trademark headband on, which is also in green, while holding a basketball on waist level with the brand name “SPALDING” inscribed, and facing front so it shows, and the words “NEVER FLAT” just below the brand name. On the top left side there is a light gray steel plate that goes from side to side with embossed words that read, “NEVER FLAT™. STAYS INFLATED 10X LONGER GUARANTEED*”. Below it is another plate which is smaller and has a darker gray color, and on it is written, “NEVER FLAT™. No other balls guarantee ten times longer inflation. Spalding NEVER FLAT™ now available in basketball, football, volleyball, and soccer -- spalding.com.” with the image of the balls shown at the bottom. Finally, at the bottom right corner is the logo and the name of the brand with the subtitle “TRUE TO THE GAME™” all colored in white.

An associate professor, Stuart Hirschberg, believes that “the claim [an] ad makes is designed to establish the superiority of the product in the minds of the audience and to create a distinctive image for the product…” (290). “NEVER FLAT™. STAYS INFLATED 10X LONGER. GUARANTEED*,” – this is what the ad clams. This claim showcases the two factors a product in an ad should have according to Stuart: superiority and a distinctive image. Of course a ball gets flat in time, but the ad asserts that Spalding balls never get flat which makes it unique and distinct from other balls. It sounds impressive, but whether it is true or not, it gives its target consumers – mainly basketball enthusiasts who have subscription to the magazine – the ‘coolness’ that most people want. The ad has a note with a very small font (so readers will not notice) at the very bottom that reads, “*than traditional balls…” referring to which the ball stays inflated ten times longer than. Large numbers in advertisements represent superiority and entice the eyes of the audience. This ad, however, is somewhat misleading because it hardly states that detail at the bottom and leaves sophisticated target consumers a question as to which ball does it stay inflated longer. Nonetheless, most viewers will ignore this and just look at the product’s superiority – where the ad wants its target consumer’s...
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