Saturday, November 15, 2014

Advertising's Role As Truth in Modern Media

The journalism world is all abuzz about a widely viewed viral video purporting to show a Syrian boy rescuing a younger girl from gunfire. The video is dramatic. Indeed, at least one YouTube source is showing almost 4 million views as of today.

Unfortunately, a number of major world-wide news organizations have featured the video as though it were real. That they rushed to show this video without verification is a powerful statement on the current status of journalism.

This video is not real.

It is a fake video made and posted by, of all organizations, the Norwegian Film Institute. Here is a photo of the production crew. They produced the video on the island nation of Malta, on the set of the movie Gladiator. The photo shows the boy actor (blue shirt) alongside the young actress he was presumed to rescue.

This unfortunate scenario is revealing about the status of truth in the mass media.

Advertising is the only form of mass communication that must be truthful by law.

There is only one media source that must withstand the legal test of truthful claims. It is advertising.

  Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Tale of Two

Airline advertising is destination advertising. The goal of this service is delivery, to a new time and place, to promise and possibility. Hopefully, to pleasure and success.


Here we see British Airways calling our attention to two of the most wonderful destinations in the world. The commercial artfully presents the similarities and differences, welcoming the audience to step into each scene.

Political advertising is often a tale of two alternatives. Would that this genre of advertising could become as intelligent and respectful of the audience as this admirable airline commercial.

 Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Gift Of Advertising

The reward theory of communication is based on the idea that audience members are to be acknowledged for their time and effort.

Message reception takes time, a fleeting portion of seconds to minutes to sometimes even more. Comprehension, realization and retention also call for effortful attention. For their efforts, audience members are owed a return, an enjoyable and informational experience.


This John Lewis commercial is notable for its depth and complexity. The boy matures before our eyes. The commercial celebrates youth and imagination. Gifts are seen as more than items, they are gestures representing deeper thought.

John Lewis holiday advertising is known for its storytelling.  My students will also recognize the work as demonstrating the reward theory of communication, attitude toward the ad, and the cognitive theory of emotions.

Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spectacular Advertising

The first question in effective advertising is attention.  So, cease your rabble rousing and listen carefully.


When it comes to advertising, or really any form of communication, there is no need for the audience to devote precious time to everyday repetition of familiar information.

To secure attention, message designers must take intelligent risks, to present their information in unanticipated and enjoyable new ways. That approach is known as the reward theory of communication.

Here, in this in-flight video, we see Air New Zealand showing us what advertising can be. Epic.

   Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sophistication in Advertising

When it comes to apparel, everyone wants to be "appropriately sophisticated." Here, sophistication means a person can feel "right" in the moment in the places that matter most.

This is a particularly compelling motivation for Millennials, today's most sought after age cohort.


Here we see The Gap presenting its apparel as a reliable pathway to comfort in your own time and place. That's sophistication in the moment. The copy line "Dress Normal," held against the stories told in the latest Gap advertising, allows for quirky individuality with the reassurance you are not likely to go wrong at The Gap.

This commercial is one of four in the The Gap's new campaign.

It is also an outstanding example of the unifying role music can play in storytelling. The rocksteady rhythm integrates the movement of the actors with the action of the pinball machine in an intriguing time and place. The wearer of The Gap apparel owns the moment. Genius.

   Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Might of Memes

Before we all began talking about memes there was Grant Wood's painting American Gothic.  Along with the Mona Lisa by da Vinci, it is one of the most well known and parodied paintings of all time.

This recent print ad by Nescafe repurposes Grant Wood's painting to demonstrate a product benefit. Indeed, one might see this ad as an exemplification of Rosser Reeve's seminal concept known as the Unique Selling Proposition. The self-replicating power of Grant Wood's imagery is seen anew.

This painting has found many applications in advertising. Perhaps the best is this 1963 commercial for Country Corn Flakes.


There is a fine line in parody where homage can become ridicule. The secret of this commercial is the creators knew the difference between celebration and cynicism.

Memes have magical powers, if you know what you are doing.

   Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nudge Theory of Advertising

Manipulation involves encouraging someone to do what someone else wants them to do. Sometimes the "manipulated" person already knows what they should do, they just need a little nudge.


Call it the "nudge theory" of advertising.

 Copyright © 2014 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.