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Advertising is a process by which information is passed on to a target audience primarily to persuade them to buy the idea of the advertiser which may be directed at promoting a product (good or service). There are various types of advertisements ranging from commercial to non-commercial. Commercial advertisements are product focused and aim at increasing consumer demand for a product through branding methods that create some unique message in the minds of the consumers so that they can then identify or associate with the product. On the other hand, non-commercial advertisements do not aim at profit making. They include activities of politicians, religious and other interest groups. This paper evaluates commercial advertising focusing on billboards.

Billboards are an example of visual design based advertising that is widely used in contemporary society by many business firms to communicate information to the target consumers in a specific desired way with intention to increase demand for the particular product. Every visual design has its fundamental principles and elements which when adhered to, makes the design to produce desired results. The common design elements which produce basic visual image units include; form, space, line, color, shape, texture, and value/tone. Billboards have the advantage of communicating message to a broad population and also due to the inherent high frequency levels. Although costly and relatively demographically non-sensitive, when billboards are located in strategic places with heavy traffic, they can communicate at high frequency levels reaching virtually all population segments.

In this paper, the product chosen is Nokia mobile phone. The billboard for Nokia mobile phone is shown above with the messages; "Nokia connecting people" and "Music almighty". Since every commercial advertisement is aimed at increasing demand, it requires creative design to sell it to the minds of the target audience. The intended message should quickly register in order to enhance product identification. The message need be brisk and provocative to the audience. The message should be brief and clear so that it can be read from a distance. The layout should have campaign elements packaged as a single unit. The design should utilize bold colors so as to be distinct from the surrounding thus attract attention. More so, the background need be kept simple such that it won't interfere with the intended message. The designer may add humor where necessary to capture attention.

In the Nokia billboard above, the design brings out the essential elements discussed in the foregoing section. For instance, the message has been designed in a brief but simple manner for the audience to register quickly and identify the product which is Nokia phone. With only two words "Music Almighty", and headphones connected to the handset, the audience is persuaded well enough to buy the phone because it has "great music features". This would work well especially with the young generation who have a sentimental attachment to music, but also, to the general public including the employed who listen to music to help them break monotony thus relax their minds.   

The words "Nokia connecting people" which also display the company slogan are in themselves designed to persuade the audience since almost everyone would like to stay connected with other people. Put differently, Nokia is for all groups of individuals and occupations including, business people, politicians, employees, relatives and friends among others who need be connected with each other in the course of their family or work relations. The Nokia billboard has also been carefully designed such that the background is simple, and the colors used are bold to help the audience clearly and quickly capture the intended message.

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