Advertisements generally follow a few “requirements.” Women are generally pretty (thin with glowing skin and long flowing hair) men are usually either a “man’s man” (little bit of a beer belly, flannel, rugged, sports) or chiseled to perfection. Families are happy with a mom, dad, and 2 kids (one girl, one boy – both cute if under 10) and cars are either a luxury vehicle or perfect for vacation.
A DisneyRun ad originally found in Runner’s World Magazine is no exception. The ad (page 16) depicts a young woman in prime physical shape mid stride on the drawbridge of Cinderella’s castle. She is accompanied by the seven dwarfs, who have somehow done a pretty good job of keeping up despite the fact that their entire leg ends mid-calf on her. It is accompanied by a tag-line that reads “Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy. And that’s just the first three miles.” This ad is clearly targeted to women. Judging from the fact that she is maybe early 30s, I’d guess that the ad is targeted to women ages 16-50, to whom she would not be too young or too old, the majority of people who would be interested in running a half-marathon. The younger women might be looking for an excuse to re-visit Disney World, and the older women might have kids who want to go. The ad is portraying that the race is a good time. You’ll enjoy it. It is also portraying that it will be a good investment. If you can run the race you can be like her. Fit, powerful, in control, happy, independent, and a really good runner.
This ad is, I believe, very effective. They have taped into the desire to be fit and nostalgia of childhood; it evokes quite a few good emotions. I don’t see how this ad could be reworked to be made more effective. It was certainly very effective on me as I am currently training to run the Disney World Marathon in January with my mother. I look at the ad and I see myself. I have gotten this idea in my mind that if I do well in the race I’ll be like her. I’ll be fit, powerful, in control, happy, independent, and a really good runner. All attributes that I value. The DisneyRun ad has taken my connection to running as a pathway to happiness, physical fitness, independence, and strength and made it deeper. It has also strengthened the importance of running big races (marathons and half-marathons) in my mind.
Viking River Cruises, on the other hand, is advertising to a different sect of people. Their ad in front of Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey every Sunday touts the benefits of their cruises when traveling. The ad features shots of famous sites such as the Eiffel Tower and the Czar’s Summer Palace as well as shots of their “modern river cruise vessel.” The voice over explains that travelers will “spend less time getting there and more time being there.” The ad means to appeal to people who travel with the intention of seeing as many of the sights as they can possibly pack in. The term “modern” and the shots chosen of the ship suggest an air of sophistication without a huge price tag. The voice over also touts that they will take you to “another world, a world of dramatic landscapes, majestic castles, and interesting characters. This sounds quite a bit like the show it is airing in front of. It is the kind of world that all it’s viewers would like to be transported to. No one pictured vacationing on the river vessel is above 45 and there is an even balance of men and women, which proposes that they are catering to middle-age and older couples.
The ad appears effective in the simple form it is but it would be more appealing with some sprucing up. As it is, it appears to be made on a budget – which it probably was. I don’t think this is an issue but it might acquire more attention if it were spruced up a bit. Though most people who would be interested in the river cruses are settled, rather than college kids or people shortly out of college, the company could appeal to the wide audience of Downton Abbey better by providing a little more diversity in their ad.
These ads display the intense consideration that goes into planing as. Both have considered the demographics and attitudes of the people who will be exposed to them and crafted an ad that will strike at the sentiments needed. An article in The Washington Examiner talks about how ads simply enhance and strengthen sentiments that are already there. For example, I wouldn’t see myself as the Disney runner if I didn’t already believe it was possible, the gorgeous women featured in so many of our ads wouldn’t make us feel more self-conscious if we weren’t already doubting our image a bit, and Viking River Cruises wouldn’t be able to make someone feel the lure of travel if that person firmly intended to stay put their whole life. Ads affect us by enhancing or bringing to the surface ideas and feelings that are already there. The more those ideas and feelings are realized, the firmer they become intrenched in our self-image. The more an ad effects us, the more we incorporate those aspects into who we are.