Head and Shoulders shampoo, Herbal Essences shampoo, and Original Orange Source shampoo Marketing Analysis
Head and Shoulders shampoo, Herbal Essences shampoo, and Original Orange Source shampoo, Garnier hair dye and L’Oreal hair dye and finally Silvikrin styling products are popular and reoccurring advertisements I encountered in women’s family magazines. The producers of each advertisement have designed a number of particular images to attract mainly a female audience, apart from the Head and Shoulders advertisement, which seems to be aimed at men.
There are a number of different codes and conventions used to attract the audience and involve them in the image, for example, the main character in the Silvikrin advertisement is paying more attention to her breasts rather than her hair, this is using a typical attitude attributed to women, watching the mirror to see if ‘everything looks ok. ‘ When an advertiser produces an advertisement, it is aimed at as large an audience possible. Yet within these advertisers must attempt to make personal references to instances that will apply to their desired audience.
Most children’s magazine advertises toys, games and books. These advertisements would likely look strange in a man’s magazine about cars. The producers aim their advertisements at their desired audience. It has been stated that ‘a bonus for the advertiser may be that if the reader does recognise the references to the earlier texts, he or she may then feel “informed” or “special” in some way’i. This is due to the fact that they have understood the image correctly and have read all the messages together to understand the final outcome.
When we denote the Head and Shoulders advertisement shows the audience a black case holding mainly black items apart from a white bottle. The case sits on a metal background. However when we read deeper into the image we find much more information. When we explore the connotative meaning we find it is cleverly linked to familiar images from our culture. The black brief case could first of all represent the importance of its contents. The items in the case include dark shades, binoculars, comb, toothbrush, pen, watch, diary, two black shirts, a bottle of shampoo and shoes.
Anyone who is familiar with the Men in Black film would be able to make an instant connection between both figures. We understand the connection between the shampoo and the idea before we read the text. Head and Shoulders is an anti-dandruff shampoo, and the men in black wear black suits, therefore it is important they don’t have dandruff on their shoulders. There is not much text on the advert; it just states that the items in the briefcase are ‘Standard Issue’. Below the image it tells the reader that ‘head and shoulders “keeps men in black in black”‘.
The bottom left hand of the image shows the Men In Black II symbol along with the copyright. The bottle of shampoo is meant to stand out from the black items in the image. It is in the middle and takes up most of the room, indicating that it is meant to be the centrepiece of the image. It is the most important item in the suitcase, while everything else is black; this keeps white away from black, despite being white itself. The silver background indicates that it is futuristic again including a sci-fi element attempting to attract the desired audience.
The clean shiny metal is a familiar image of space and the unknown. This product seems to be aimed mainly at a male audience. Men in Black II could be a male orientated film therefore the advertisement is male orientated as well. It is likely that they have used the sci-fi image to attract a certain type of consumer. People who have seen the film and understand the meaning of the image are supposed to be attracted almost as if being allowed to share a private joke or being part of this ‘culture’.
It is also open for those who have not seen the film; the image in the bottom left hand corner is an advertisement in itself meant to appeal to an audience, the message could be along the lines that someone who uses Head and Shoulders is missing out on a great deal when they ignore the film. There seems to be an action and enigma code within the text, the items we are able to see indicate what the action should be, the enigma is the actual taking part in the action. It is therefore clear that the audience the product is aimed at will be like the ‘Men in Black’.
The Head and Shoulders advertisement is actually quite basic in contents, however there are more complicated images in those aimed at women. The Head and Shoulders advertisement was intent in getting a basic message across. The advertisements for the other products aimed at women are more concerned with setting up an image they must decode and make up to. The women in each advertisement are beautiful and elegant. She obviously knows what she wants and it is her role to encourage those who consume the product to have enough courage to go out and make themselves like her.
The Herbal Essences advertisement shows a woman with long hair and a bottle of shampoo. There are only a few small pieces of text. However the woman in the image looks happy, she is smiling, her eyes are closed and her mouth is open, showing pleasure and vulnerability. Her hair frames her face. The picture is a close up of her face and hair, with the bottle of shampoo in the centre of the image at the bottom. The text indicates that the shampoo is amazing, using language such as ‘every woman should be this satisfied at least once a day’. The shampoo has the power to satisfy women, and the woman in the image looks quite happy.
The text is placed in the top left-hand corner, above her brown hair it is white, allowing to noticeably stand out from its dark, rich background. There is also a piece of text in the lower right-hand corner, which basically ties in with the television advertisements, using the same dialogue, and again language such as ‘overwhelmed… incredible… yes! ‘ and so on. The shampoo itself is meant to complement the model; it is in the foreground of the image, presenting itself to the consumer having made the models life so much better and pleasurable.
The shampoo almost has the great ability to totally satisfy, and along with the television advertisements it indicates that it is better than sex. The phrase ‘a totally organic experience’ makes it seem so much more than a shampoo, it is also easy to identify the word ‘organic’ with ‘orgasmic’, again showing the power of the shampoo. The advertisement is obviously aimed at women, attempting to say that this is the best shampoo you could use to satisfy your own needs. The Original Orange Source advertisement is so different because there is much more text.
Two bottles stand to the right of a plain white background, with greenery and an orange in the frame. The text boxes the image of the shampoo in neatly. Within the image we see the main focus of the advertisement is on the Orange and Tea Tree range. There is an indexical code within the advertisement. The greenery in the image, along with the orange, as if proving to the consumer exactly what the ingredients are. The white background could indicate that the shampoo works far better when used with conditioner.
The image seems to be upfront, it has a ‘what you see is what you get’ attitude, and the last piece of text confirms this, ‘ No synthetic perfumes. No nonsense. ‘ There is a lot of text in the image. The main piece to the left has certain words highlighted in orange, to match both the make and colour of the shampoo. These highlighted words make sense without the rest of the sentences included, ‘pure vitamins fruit acids strength shine natural refreshing full of life. Promise. ‘ Again with the text it is easy to draw the conclusion that the advertisers are attempting to allow the readers and consumers to trust them.
The advertisement is basic and to the point, it has evidence and is organised along straight lines. There is a lot of text, which seems to rely on the ‘written word’ attitude. This attempts to engage the audience in a private personal service, if you see exactly what you are getting then it seems to be all the more trustworthy and ulterior product, which could also be highlighted by the fact that no models are used to advertise and promote this product, leaving the shampoo as the centre of attention. The Garnier hair dye advertisement is a two-page spread. It involves a woman and a child.
It also shows the ingredients as the Original Orange Source advertisement did. It also shows an image of a woman on what looks like a box for the product. The woman in the image is smiling; her eyes are lowered from the camera. There is a child below her reaching its hands up to touch her face and hair. Her hair is flying all over the image. The child reaching to touch the hair could indicate that the hair is so touchable, even to children; it is natural even after a dye has been added. The text at the top of the image reads ‘a nourishing colour means visibly richer colour.
This could be a hidden code as such, children are attracted to bright colours therefore her presence is justified. Therefore this dye will give hair rich colour. The text at the top of the image is white while over the dark areas but is black over light areas, her skin for example. It is the same hair colour from the woman in the main part of the image to the woman on the front of the product. They both look extremely happy with the product. Again evidence is given of ingredients, at the bottom left there is an image of fruit oil concentrate, along with text explaining the purpose of this particular ingredient.
The presence of the product packaging is also used to tell the audience exactly what the product is, a colour masque. It may therefore be aimed at the older woman, the presence of the child indicating that this is the kind of dye a mother could use and still be child friendly. It attempts to involve the family woman in the image, reinforcing the idea that a child will recognise the naturalness in its mothers hair dye. The L’Oreal advertisement is more an invitation to have experts advise on hair colour change. The image had three women on the right hand side of the image, and text over most of the rest of it.
The main background colour is orange, a warm inviting colour. The women in the images have blond, brunette and red hair. Each woman looks content with her hair. The first main piece of text consists of three main questions. By using this method and asking the questions the readers are already involved. The questions could give the reader a sense of individuality, they may have been privately thinking along the lines of these questions for a long time but never had a chance to make a move. The word tempted is repeated three times, as if daring the audience to come along and change.
The three questions could match the three images even though they are only aligned with the top one, as you read each question it is easy to look at that certain photograph in turn, for example, the second image may have the main character changing, hence the ‘tempted to change’ could be directed at her. The advertisement goes on to invite the audience to come along and make a change. It reads as if it is an adventure novel, ‘discover unlimited colour possibilities’, or ‘visit our colour studio tour to experience an expert colour consultation with unique personalised virtual colour imaging. The bottom part of the advertisement is a publication of basic information, locations and dates.
This is another image which seems to make the audience engagement much more subtle. The questions come as dares and the statements could swap for exciting adventures. The whole advertisement encourages change. The initial image in the Silvikrin advertisement is of a woman looking in a mirror with hair products above her. This advertisement is for hair styling products, with the main piece of text reading ‘oh well, at least I can have fuller looking hair for up to 24 hours’.
This is a similar idea to the one used in the Herbal Essence advertisement. In the image the woman is looking at her breasts, and because Silvikrin is so effective she doesn’t have to worry about having fuller hair, all she needs to worry about it having fuller breasts. The main text on the advertisement concentrates on style and volume, which is the main purpose of the product. Like the product packaging the image is mostly green. The use of the ‘fuller’ phrase is ironic. When women go out they supposedly worry about hair and body, it could be a direct reference to women who find it hard to be ‘full’ before they go out.
The text also includes the reader by making a direct statement ‘if you want fuller hair that lasts’ an assumption made generally about most people. This advertisement could be very stereotypical towards women however, by using the ‘paranoia’ that women have about themselves and their image could be a good way to attract a consumer. An underlying meaning could be ‘if your body’s not very attractive use your hair’. These advertisements use many different types of codes to try to get their message across to the consumers.
Most of these codes are open at a glance but you have to read the image carefully in order to explore what the meaning is. There are a lot of hidden gestures within the texts, for example the idea that the Men in Black even use a black toothbrush, as part of their standard issue equipment may be amusing to some consumers. This influences the audience by attraction their attention, if they know a lot about the code or intertextuality the text uses or feel they can connect with the message that is being put across they may be more eager to pay attention to that particular product.
These advertisements are not only aimed at women but they also seem to be trying to prove something to the audience. The two without models attempt to gain trust from familiar popular references, while the ones with models tell the audience ‘if you use this product you will be like our beautiful models’. They are all presented in the same way; they attempt to gain attention, trust and familiarity.