The World of Visual Advertising

             The world of advertising is the foundation for how a company communicates its product to the consumers. Here a complex struggle takes place continually to gain the attention, even for a second, of a potential buyer. The footwear industry is no exception, and when combined with the semiotics of today's culture advertising campaigns often are a chore to understand. With a close examination of two ads, we will be able to understand some of their underlying marketing themes more clearly.

             Nike Print Advertising:.

             Nike's advertising campaign has always been one of power, the type that jumps out at the reader and grabs his or her attention. Though their ads receive huge recognition, when combined with the semiotics of today's culture these campaigns often are a chore to understand exactly what the company is communicating to its audience. Fig. 1, One of Nike's print ads depicts the silhouette of a runner under a dark, nighttime background. Surrounded by a light haze and outlined by the white clouds in the sky, the runner demonstrates the ideal of dedication. This image is then overlaid with the words "test your faith daily.” Although a red swoosh is centered on the runner, this ad lacks the very thing it promotes. The name "Nike” nor its shoes are not displayed anywhere in the ad. This type of advertising relates many signals to the reader based on the assumption that the reader identifies with the ad. It works much like the images of prominent sports figures dressed in a company's product. The emotional appeal that this ad draws on asks the reader, "who is that person running?” Left in the imagination of the reader, the ad begins to associate itself to some ambiguous superstar. Then it connects the reader to the ad through the text, "your faith.” Finally the link is made by a further jump of logic by connecting the reader to the superstar. Marketing strategies like this one are subtle but very real.

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