Advertisers like to make people think that they are making their own decisions in purchasing products that advertisers are trying to sell. Advertisers also make their product seem like it solves one of the world’s biggest problems. The overall use for advertisements in today’s culture is more relevant than ever before. With numerous technological advancements came more ads in many different styles on many different platforms. With this change, advertisers were forced to change their tactics and become more aggressive in an effort for their products to stick out to their audience. Such is the case for a 2016 ad for New Nexium twenty-four-hour tablets for heartburn. The ad tries to point out the fact that this product is the number one selling heartburn brand on the market and that it’s now in tablets. Jean Kilbourne claims that “[t]he unintended effects of advertising are far more important … than those effects that are intended” (101). She means that consumers try to look dig beneath the surface of an ad trying to reveal more significant meanings relating to modern culture. It has been an effective strategy for advertisers to trick people into believing the ad and therefore, purchasing the product. This ad illustrates unique graphics, trying to emphasize the fact that Nexium is not only the best solution but also the only solution for heartburn. The ad appears simple and straightforward at first glance, but more explanation reveals deeper meanings that further appeal to treating an increasing problem.
The way that an ad looks can say a lot about the ads meaning. The way that Nexium advertisers tried to portray this ad is that it stands out above any other medication relating to treating heartburn. The background color of the ad is dark purple with a blend of light red to pink. Advertisers are trying to make the ad stand out as people are flipping through the magazine, so they use a color that is very contrasting to that of a white page. The ad also includes a giant spelling of the number one, using the tablets to make the shape, implying that Nexium is the best heartburn solution while also portraying the fact that this product now comes in tablets. Other graphics to note are that the Nexium tablets are shown both in a box and in a bottle, adding to the earlier claim that this is a new product that is even better. The entire layout of this ad conveys the fact that the ad would stand out in multiple different ways, catching the attention of readers who may need a quick and easy heartburn solution. A deeper look signifies more than just the ad trying to look good, it also shows other tactics to further broaden the ad’s appeal.
The way an ad reads also adds to the overall appeal. The ad claims that Nexium has “The #1 selling frequent heartburn brand now in tablets.” The advertisers worded it this way to further broaden the appeal that the number one selling frequent heartburn brand on the market has gotten even better. The statement appeals especially because heartburn is one of the most common forms of discomfort in the world. Nexium realizes that and exploits it by saying that Nexium was the best-selling frequent heartburn brand before having tablets. The ad also states, “New Nexium 24hr tablets, complete protection from frequent heartburn in easy-to-swallow tablets.” The second statement reiterates the importance of easy heartburn relief in an easy way. Another appeal to language is the use of “weasel words.” William Lutz states “advertisers use weasel words to appear to be claiming a product when in fact they are not claiming at all” (125). One of the strongest weasel words, according to Lutz is the word “new”. He believes that for a product to be new, it must be in a campaign for just six months. But advertisers use the word new for their products for at least a year or two. The tablets have probably been around for longer than people think, further appealing to consumers’ want for a new product. Nexium is trying to portray the idea that the descriptions and the language reveal more than many would realize.
Nexium’s new 24-hour tablets are intended to engage a very broad audience. Symptoms of heartburn are very common around the world and can occur to anyone, sometimes multiple times per day. Recent studies have shown that symptoms of frequent heartburn have doubled in the last thirty years. The advertisers of this ad are trying to exploit the fact that cases of frequent heartburn are on the rise by presenting a successful solution to an increasing problem. Mark Crispin Miller points out that “[authors] might have worked by instinct rather than design…” (119). That may be true in other ads but this is not the case regarding this ad. Miller’s first claim is not true considering where the ad came from. The ad came from Health, a magazine intent on creating good eating habits by providing recipes for healthier foods and by providing healthy and efficient ways to change your diet. Additionally, the magazine offers various ads trying to appeal to the benefits of good health. One major factor of frequent heartburn is poor eating habits. The Health magazine is helpful in the fact that it states ways for maintaining a healthy body, while also showing ads for medications that will keep the body healthy. Nexium chose Health as a strategy for reaching out to their specific target audience, further appealing to an increasing problem dealing with not eating healthy enough. This along with the details of the ad enhance the overall purpose of the ad.
Consumers tend to believe whatever is being stated to them, regardless of whether there’s actual proof to go along with the information. The way the Nexium advertisers try to accomplish this is through bias and by making false claims. An example of a false claim in the ad would be the ad stating that “The #1 selling frequent heartburn brand now in tablets.” This is a false claim because the Nexium ad never proves that statement to be true, just briefly stating what Nexium believes is true. Examples of bias and false claims are ever-present in an environment of increasing advertising. Saying that the product is the best is also an example of bias because the advertisers are trying to assert their belief that Nexium is the best heartburn solution and, as a result, tricking customers into buying the product. Many experts feel that ads such as these are irrelevant because of how simple and uninspired they seem. I, however, feel that this ad is important to understand because it is like so many other advertisements people see every day. Advertisers use current cultural issues and trends in their ads to engage a wide range of a target audience. For example, this ad appearing in Health follows current health trends, trying to limit poor eating habits. The Nexium tablets add to the trend by providing a quick and easy way to end frequent heartburn.
In recent years, we’ve seen advertisers change their ways of selling products due to an increase in the amount of advertising and as a result, a more competitive market. Advertisers follow current problems going on around the world today and utilize them by selling a product that seems to be solving those problems. They also try to make people look beneath the surface of the ad and discover deeper meanings to reach an audience more. The ad for Nexium’s new 24-hour tablets uses this along with other tricks, therefore making their product seem better than it is. The influence of this ad is more important than people may think. It is important because it is dealing with a problem that almost everybody deals with frequently and advertisers know that. The ad uses everything from, graphics, language, weasel words, and deception backing up claims made by experts such as Kilbourne, Lutz, and Miller. Nexium also speaks out to a variety of people, talking about a subject that affects billions daily. As simple and straightforward as this ad seems to be, it’s proven to be more effective than anyone could’ve imagined.
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