Non Verbal Communication in Advertising

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Every time we pick up a magazine or a newspaper we are bombarded with advertisements whether for lifestyle products, new television shows or any other consumer goods or services that we may or may not need. Now whether one actually takes notice of this non verbal communication between companies and consumers is besides the point and as we are only viewing these images for a few seconds at a time, it is understood that the consumer can follow what is going on and is able to read visual images and what the particular advertisement is trying to say without it actually being broken down and explained.

The advertisements in figure (a) denotes a bar of what seems to be dirty soap standing next to a bottle of Palmolive milk and honey body wash, the slogan reads ‘’The only place it’s been is in the bottle’’. The viewer is assumed to not take this literally and instead construct cultural meaning from the image (McQuarrie and Phillips 2005,34). We know that soap is an everyday item and what this advertisement is trying to tell us is that its product is a more hygienic way of personal cleaning. If the advertising companies could not rely on assumed ability that consumers could read visual text then the advertisement would basically have to literally print “Palmolive is more hygienic than bar soap”, thus making the campaign more plain losing the visual wit that the image has. Culture has evolved into a visual one with people tending to believe what they see (Bourgery and Guimaraes 1993, 4).

The same theory can be applied to the advertisement seen in figure (b). This advertisement is for the hair product company TRESemme’. The image denotes a brunette woman in portrait with a bottle of TRESemme’ finishing hairspray in the foreground with the slogan ’24 hours of fabulous hair’. The connotations associated with this ad is that if you use this product your hair will look like this woman’s, what is interesting about this image is that the viewer is meant to apply meaning...
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