Source Magazine – Advertising.

My next step was to look at a few examples of the advertising section from a couple of Source Magazines written by Judith Williamson, with a great range available from the library I selected 4 of the most recent editions.

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Silvikrin Hairspray Advert

What interested me most about Williamson’s comments was the discussion about the disproportional sizes within the photograph, such as the woman appearing larger than everybody else, “there is no sense of perspective in relation to the other women”. However in terms of advertising, this has clearly been done to draw more attention to her as she is the female with the ‘perfect hair’ after using the hairspray. It stood out to me how Williamson appreciated that “it is given today that any advertising image is largely created in post-production” and “they are as much Photoshop as photo” – an area I could potentially explore about how digital manipulation has become so dominant, even the norm in photographs of advertisements today and how this is selling us an untrue representation. One of the biggest themes here is how the hairspray’s celebration of 90 years has been drawn parallel with the “multiple war commemorations and celebrations of 2014.” This obviously proposes the question of how the hairspray has any relation to the war, and what advantage does this has in terms of advertising? Could the celebration of the 90 years been conducted differently? This is something I intend to explore further for the possible use within my paper as a case study.

Source (2014) ‘Advertising’. Source The Photographic Review (79).

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John Lewis Advert

Considered as a “relatively guilt free consumer experience”, John Lewis is known for it’s wide price range which appeal to a wide audience. The composition of the image makes the set up of the room look desirable, calm and allows the consumer to imagine themselves there. Williamson discusses how the image to the left allows you to imagine how you would customise it yourself further, “you are free to make your own version: this is the precise meaning of ‘The Edit'”. By creating such an enticing image within the advert which encourages you to decorate it how you wish, with the great range and quality of John Lewis furniture,  it makes the consumer feel targetted individually, almost invited by John Lewis to come along and have the freedom to do what they want. That is why I feel this advert works well.

Source (2014) ‘Advertising’. Source The Photographic Review (78).


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Panasonic Advert

To begin with, I found it quite hard to get my head around this advertisement. After reading further, I learnt that the brilliant feature of this new Panasonic W850 camcorder allows you to video your subject whilst also filming your own reaction – “you can produce a selfie simultaneously with the image of the loved one.” The selfie has become massive within 2014/2015 and the advertisement uses this to it’s advantage. This is reflected in the well-known caption used by the advertisement ‘you should have seen the look on your face’, suggesting that by purchasing this camcorder you will be able to capture that special moment. Williamson comments how “the camera tells a story through multiple views of its own” however I don’t find that this is portrayed particularly well within the advert. For me personally, I struggled to understand how the replacement of the baby’s head in the advert with a male’s head, obviously the father, actually sells this camcorder to the consumer. I feel that the power here is within the text of the advert rather than the photograph therefore I will not use this as a case study in my paper.

Source (2014) ‘Advertising’. Source The Photographic Review (80).


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To begin with, I also found it hard to understand this advert and the fact I didn’t know what Wedgwood actually is definitely played a factor but it’s interesting to consider how this advertisement would appeal to somebody who doesn’t know the brand. I went on to learn the company produces china homeware, and this advert upkeeps the “image of Wedgwood as classic, classy and…..’historic'”. Just from the set up of the long table and candle holder, I could immediately identify that the set up had a more formal, ‘posher’ feel. However an interesting play on this is created through the inclusion of different jellies on the table. Williamson comments that this adds “a fantasy quality” and “this table represents jellies gone wild.” Any person at any age can enjoy jelly and by including them on the advert it appeals to a wider audience, similar to the John Lewis advert, and suggests the company’s suitability for any age. However I also find this contradicting as I would associate China being used for formal dinner parties, not with children. Looking at this advert alone, I am unsure as to whether I would find it enticing or interesting therefore I will not be using this as a case study for my paper.

Source (2014) ‘Advertising’. Source The Photographic Review (77).

By taking a look through these couple of advertisements and considering what Judith Williamson comments about them, I actually found it extremely interested. Adverts which may have meant nothing to me before were made understandable by de-constructing the various elements and analysing why they are there and what they are doing. Particularly with the Silvikrin advert, it reflects that even if things do not necessarily relate, fit each other or are proportional to each other, they still work in terms of creating a point for the advert. This is supported by Williamson where she comments “this jumble of people and symbols has been constructed not to give any sense of a plausible photography but merely to assemble the elements required for the meaning of the ad.” It also made me think of a point by Williamson from Decoding Advertisements where she considers “…a selecting of certain elements, things or people from the ordinary world, and then rearranging and altering them in terms of a products myth to create a new world, the world of advertisement.” (Williamson, 1978: 23). A new world of advertisement is exactly what has been created in the Silvikrin advert as it pulls together war celebrations, the hairspray and people to form this ‘new world’ simply for the selling of the product. This is so interesting and with so much information being teased out through this breakdown of the advert, I may be able to use it as an case study in my paper. After reading Decoding Advertisements then considering these examples, it has definitely enhanced my understanding of how they work and I am beginning to feel more confident about my knowledge of advertisements.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on January 12, 2015.

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