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Textual and Visual Analysis of an Advertisement

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Textual and Visual Analysis of an Advertisement

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  • Feb. 26, 2008
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One of the most recognizable athletes in the world and more importantly, one of best soccer players in the game today, David Beckham is also a popular figure in the world of the media and advertising. He has made appearances in advertisements for such companies as Adidas, Pepsi, Gillette, and Vodafone. Recently, I noticed an advertisement in People for "David Beckham Instinct," a product line consisting of aftershave and fragrances. On the back of the magazine, he is shown in a head-only photo looking into the camera against a very plain, blue back drop. A picture of the product is placed in the lower right-hand corner, right above the words, "New Fragrances for Men." Directly above the picture of the product reads "Beckham Fragrances," with the icon of the product above that phrase. These underlying details of the advertisement lead to a product aimed at a middle-aged, middle-class male. The demographics of People and also Sports Illustrated, where the advertisement has recently appeared, reinforce this idea. People, although predominantly female at 87%of the readers, attracts a readership that has a median age of thirty-seven years-old and a median household income of approximately $73,000. Sports Illustrated has a readership that is 75% male with approximately 90% of the readers being aged between sixteen and forty-nine. The average household income of the readers is approximately $60,000. The two sets of demographics in the magazine in which Beckham's advertisement appears reaffirm that the advertisement is aimed at middle-aged, middle-class males.

It is quite clear in the advertisement that David Beckham is authoritatively gazing into the camera lens, and hence, directly at the reader. This pose asserts that a connection with the reader is established. It addresses the reader directly, rather than not looking into the camera, and almost demands a relationship with the reader. David Beckham in this advertisement can be seen as saying, "I...