Images vs. Text in Advertising

Essay by sierralayla_University, Bachelor'sB+, January 2008

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In the industry of advertising, what really persuades you: text or images? The ability to analyze something is an intellectual skill we use in our oral language,written language, and thought. But advertising isn't meant to be analyzed. I feel as if allalluring arrangements of images and words in advertising are meant to engage the viewer,but never intellectually. The attached Garnier Fructis ad for a fortifying line of hair productsclearly displays an even portion of both text and images, yet notice how the observer's eyeis primarily drawn to the image of the model. Advertisers use certain techniques to enticeconsumers to buy their products. This paper examines the use of text as well as the use ofimages which play a prominent role in revealing the underlying message presented behindall text. Interestingly, even though consumers know the image is contrived and their hairwill likely not look like the model's, they still have a desire to buy the product.

William Lutz begins his article "With These Words I Can Sell You Anything" bydiscussing how "weasel words" work so well in advertising. Weasel words, according to Lutz,get their name from the way "[a] weasel will make a small hole in the egg, suck out theinsides, then place the egg back in the nest" (400). Thus, weasel words are actually hollow,appearing to make a claim when they really mean nothing. Referring to the attachedGarnier Fructis advertisement, there are several weasel words, but the most common twoare 'helps' and 'new'. When coming across these words in an ad, you must remember thatthe word 'help' does not mean the product will eliminate or heal your frizzy hair, but merelyaid to smooth it - if the product does even that. Since 'help' is such an overused word,you'll notice it is almost always attached to a powerful word like...