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Advertising is a crucial element of any enterprise or organization to help make the public aware of their stance, products or services, and to generate revenue. Advertising is all about standing out from the crowd and making yourself known to the consumer, and all the tricks of the trade are used to help with this task. Sex, lifestyle, money, fame and many other things are all used with gusto to get the consumer interested. Remembrance is equally important, and companies are keenly aware that the more memorable their advertising is, the more custom they will achieve. This is why television advertising is full of snappy slogans, catchy rhythms and songs, and memorable situations.

Getting the customer’s attention is the first step, and there are many ways in which this can be done. Exploiting human empathy and emotion is one of the most effective methods, and there is nothing quite like pulling on the consumer’s heartstrings to get noticed. Other tools such as exaggeration, humor, shock tactics, repetition and other literary techniques, and social relevance are all effective ways to get noticed.

It is obvious that sex sells; we are genetically hardwired from maturity to notice sex in all its guises, and this is something that advertisement has been aware of from the start. From beauty models who promote cosmetics, to the finely shaped hands that promote all manner of products, beauty is the name of the game. Take the Nikon Color Pix, which was advertised by Kate Moss, who appears against a black background, looking seductively over her shoulder at the camera while holding the product. This is a modest and tasteful advertisement, though there are physically far more brute force methods to get our attention, by leaving little to the imagination for instance with certain advertisements.

Exaggeration is another key tool. While it is illegal for an organization to make false claims, it is acceptable to use hyperbole if it is in context and if it is known by the audience to be hyperbole, even though in knowing this we are still more likely to remember the product or service in question. As such, Exaggeration is mostly light hearted and intended to be taken at face value. A good example of this is the ‘Nicorette fruit chill gun’. It shows a piece of the gum in the middle of the scene, in front of an orange background, with lines of yellow emanating from it. The exaggeration lies in the statement that it will move millions, and challenge a million to quit smoking. This would obviously not happen, but it is acceptable because the advertisement does not explicitly state that it will make such a reduction.

The Ford Lincoln Mercury Advertisement uses a number of other well used techniques, such as humor and social relevance. The ad features a fishbowl with a goldfish inside of it. The fish is surrounded by lots of questions about the fish, which are humorous and full of personification, such as ‘does he like to travel?’, and ‘where are his ears?’. The association is revealed with the bottom line, saying that what if everything in life came with a 115-point inspection. It then claims this inspection is done with all new Fords and for Lincoln pre-owned vehicles. Further info on warranty, roadside assistance and APR is then given. The humor and social relevance of this ad will strike a chord with many consumers.


  1. Glamour- Nikon cool pix series pgs.5,6. New Nicorette Fruit Chill Gum pg. 104, Second Annual hero issue, June 2006
  2. Entertainment Weekly-Ford, Lincoln, Mercury pre-owned vehicle pgs.102, #878 May 28, 2006.
  3. Analysis of Advertisements.