An advertisement has various elements. These elements, in the case of a print advertisement, are headline, text, body copy, subheadings, slogan, logo, image, seal and signature, etc. (Decrop 2007; Leonidou et al. 2006). This paper is to understand the differences in the advertisement elements depending on the degree of involvement. This paper is divided into two sections. The first section draws on past literature and how they have identified the different advertisements. In the second section, an advertisement is designed for a high involvement sports brand.
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An advertisement has various elements. Leonidou et al. (2006) has broadly divided the advertisement elements into three types – copy, layout, and art. Copy is further segregated into three parts – headlines, sub-headlines, and body copy (Leonidou et al. 2006). Art has three subsections – typography, illustrations, and identification marks. Headlines and sub-headlines are based on components like structure, format, and emotional pattern. Body copy or the text of the advertisement has components, which are based on tone, mode, information content, and wording. The literature review will deal with four key advertisement elements – image, text, and headline.
The aim of a visual image in the advertisement is aimed to “communicate by implicit selection of one view over another” (Scott 1994, p. 252). According to Decrop (2007), images or pictures in advertisements attract attention 78.77 percent times. Studies have also shown that pictures or images have greater capability of attracting attention than text (Pieters & Wedel 2004; Decrop 2007). Many have argued that as pictures capture more attention in case of print advertisements, the best option is to place a picture of largest possible size (Pieters & Wedel 2004). Thus, the argument asserts that the larger the size of the picture, the greater the attention that can be attracted. Apart from this, it is believed that pictures in print advertisements can aid in transferring the attention to the text or brand in advertisement (Pieters & Wedel 2004). A study conducted by Leonidou et al. (2006) on print advertisement has shown that photographs or pictures were most identified within print advertisements. The reason for greater identification with pictures is attributed to their “ability to capture details and bring realism” to the advertisement (Leonidou et al. 2006, p. 776). Further, it is believed by researchers that images/pictures increase credibility (Decrop 2007). In terms of images, the highest and the most accepted forms were photographs, then drawings, linear designs, call-outs, and others (Leonidou et al. 2006). Further, pictures with captions provide better forms and bear better clarity to the advertisement (Leonidou et al. 2006). According to McQuarrie & Phillips (2008), advertisers have also put more stress on pictures recently. Their study showed that: “the picture consumes more than 75% of the available space accounted for a little less than half of all ads throughout most of the period” (McQuarrie & Phillips 2008, p. 99). There has been a marked increase in the presence of the brand name in the picture in the late 20th and early 21th century: “The proportion of such ads then rises steadily, until by 2002 it reaches about two-thirds of all ads.” (McQuarrie & Phillips 2008, p. 99) There is a decline in the preference for a “picture window” in advertisements and an increase in usage of “stand-alone brand block” in the early 21st century (McQuarrie & Phillips 2008, p. 99). Therefore, picture has gradually become the complete advertisement and the brand block has stopped being standalone and has been integrated into the picture. Further, it is believed that as pictures do not put thoughts into the minds of the consumers, it is they who generate the persuasive argument after visualizing the picture. Thus, the use of only pictures in advertisements has gained prominence in recent times (McQuarrie & Phillips 2008).
A headline is defined as “the words that are used in the leading position of an ad” (Decrop 2007). The headline aims to attract attention of the reader. Research shows that in case of print advertisements, headlines are the first element of the ad that people look at (Decrop 2007). Turley and Kelley (1997) have studied the headlines used in magazine advertisements and showed that the most usual formats for advertisements headlines used were provocation, news, questions and command. Leonidou et al. (2006) studied advertisements in Cyprus and found that headlines usually were declarative in nature. They also demonstrated the product characteristics and news format. The other format used was the “challenging emotional pattern” (2006, p. 781) Research has shown that advertisement headlines in declarative patterns had greater retention quality than interrogative headlines (Myers & Haug 1967). Further, it is suggested by research that “66% of people notice the headline and illustration of an ad, while only 15% read the body copy”, indicating that it is essential to position the headlines properly, and make the text sizes larger than the body copy (Decrop 2007, p. 513). Beltramini & Blasko (1986) studied 100-award winning advertisement headlines and concluded that more than 50 percent of the advertisements had headlines, which were “familiar sayings and contrasts” (p. 50). This is aimed at increasing the familiarity of the consumer with the advertisement. Further, the use of brand names in the headlines has been reported to lessen in the 21st century, which had prevalence in 1980s (McQuarrie & Phillips 2008). Use of figures of speech in headlines has been prevalent in print advertisements (Toncar & Munch 2001). Different advertisements may have different effects on people due to their high or low involvement with the product (Petty, Cacioppo & Schumann 1983). Toncar & Munch (2001) showed that in case of low involvement situation, tropes, or figures of speeches have significant and the desired effect. Therefore, in case of low involvement, peripheral references and figures of speech have desired effect, however, in case of high involvement, relevant issues as arguments are more effective.
The format of the advertisement refers to how the various elements like the picture, headings, text, logo, etc. are arranged in an advertisement such that it optimizes their attractiveness and recall. There are different types of structure like “declarative,
interrogative, negative and selective, as well as quotation, split headline, displayed copy, picture and caption, identification, alliteration, and slogan” (Leonidou et al. 2006, p. 763).
Text provides the perceived informational value to the advertisement (Decrop 2007). Pieters & Wedel (2004) state “… text element comprises all textual information of the advertisement, excluding all incidences of the brand name” (Petty, Cacioppo & Schumann 1983, p. 37). The body copy or text is the logical extension of the heading or the sub-heading and is presented in smaller fonts (Leonidou et al. 2006). It is believed that a combination of picture and text advertisements is more effective for brand recall than text-only advertisements (Decrop 2007). Therefore, the picture that is used in the advertisements should help in illustrating the text in order to increase recall. Over the years, the use of texts in advertisements has reduced in print advertisements as “textual elements play a smaller role” (McQuarrie & Phillips 2008, p. 103). Pieters & Wedel (2004) argues that increasing the size of the text surface will increase positive attention to the whole advertisement. They argue a larger text size and surface size increases attention to the advertisement more than reducing attention from the brand or image in advertisement. The main aim of the text is to “develop the message, provide support, give explanations, and ultimately persuade the reader to buy the product” (Leonidou et al. 2006, p. 763). The tone of the text will demonstrate the general atmosphere that is being expressed through the advertisements. There are different forms of texts such as fantasy, humor, emotion, fear, sexuality, confidence, security, convenience, esteem etc. and different modes like conversation, testimonials, announcement, comparison, fact, explanation, scientific evidence, etc. (Leonidou et al. 2006). The content of the text demonstrates what the marketer wants to communicate to the consumer and enumerates many of marketing mix i.e. price, product, distribution, promotion, logistics, etc (Leonidou et al. 2006). Further, the texts used in advertisements usually use worlds that catch attention of the reader through rhetoric, puffery, clichés, alliterations, etc. (Leonidou et al. 2006).
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Research has shown that at high involvement, communication will affect first cognition then attitude and then behavior and vice versa for low involvement (Petty, Cacioppo & Schumann 1983). Therefore, in case of low involvement product, celebrity status, endorsement, or figurative headlines are effective means of communication. However, in case of high involvement, the information provided in the advertisement helped in product evaluation (Petty, Cacioppo & Schumann 1983).
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