The Hidden Language of an Advertisement

Essay by chloe21082College, UndergraduateA+, September 2004

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I bet any woman would love to have "knockout nails." Well, according to a Revlon ad in the March 2001 issue of Seventeen Magazine, now you can. It gets even better though. "Knockout nails just got faster." Is that great or what? I suppose, if you knew what "knockout nails" were and what they "just got faster" than. I'm sure you never thought of it this way. Everyone probably had an image of beautifully painted nails in their mind. If you were thinking this, then the advertisers knew exactly what they were doing when putting this ad together. The hidden advertisement language in this Revlon ad is enticing, exciting, and ingenious.

The advertisement language in this Revlon ad can be considered enticing. Who wouldn't want "knockout nails" faster? I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good to me. Advertisers use certain words, often referred to as weasel words to make you think they are making a claim for a product when they really are not.

They often word the sentences so that consumers will fill in what they think the advertisement is saying. These weasel words mislead consumers into thinking that the ad is claiming one thing when they are really claiming the opposite or nothing at all. The most frequently used weasel word is "help." The only thing help means is to aid or assist. If you read an ad that says it "can help relieve cold symptoms," it doesn't mean it will cure your cold. A lot of ads are very enticing because of the weasel words they use. Every word that is in an ad is placed there for a reason. Just keep that in mind.

The advertisement language in the Revlon ad is exciting. The ad claims "New patented flat-speed brushing gives...