An advert is short for “advertisement” and is in a “public medium” to “promote a product, service, or event”. (Oxford, 2019)[1]. They are used to endorse an item, and to allow others to know about it. They vary in length, with most being under 30 seconds long. Some contain a voice over, whilst others focus on an internal plot to advertise. Good adverts brand the company consistently, across a range of advertisements.


An advertisement can either be in a surreal form or have a realist narrative. If an advertisement portrays a story, but “is obviously fictional”, then it falls under the anti-realist/surreal form (Stevens, 2011)[2]. However, if an advert portrays real life, as “something that could really happen”, then it has a realist narrative (Sophie, Kieran, 2011)[3].

Animation can be used within an advertisement. It can serve multiple purposes. To begin, animation can be used as the crux of the viewing experience; animation is “generally fun to watch, and creates higher viewer engagement” (Animate2Explain, 2017)[4]. This means that the entirety of the visuals are completed using only animation, and is often used in surreal forms of advertisements, where “even the most fantastic ideas can come to life” (AustinVisuals, 2019)[5], and anything is possible. Another way that animation can be used, is for graphical elements, or special effects. In the ZX Spectrum advert from 1984, it uses wireframe animation to show the product; this gives the product a modern feeling, and differentiates it from the competition (ZX Spectrum, 1984)[6].

If a company is connected to a more artistic branding style, then a documentary advertisement might suit them more appropriately. The “most powerful documentaries focus on a goal” (McDermott, 2016)[7], and genuine struggles within a documentary form can lead a brand to appear more ambitious and powerful.

An advertisement can be portrayed from different perspectives, whether that be humorous, parodical or dramatical. The “Genesis Does (What Nintendon’t)” advert from 1989 portrays a humorous take on an advert, with it insulting the competitor, and playing fun at other products. This gives the advert an edge.[8] A different way to portray an advert would be to parody a different product. It could parody the conventions of a different advert, or simply parody the product itself. This is seen with the Apple “Mac vs PC” adverts, where Windows computers are parodied.[9] Finally, another method could be dramatical, where it could “create an emotional response in the audience” (Pethrus, 2015)[10].


Messaging within advertising can either be overt, or subliminal. A subliminal message tries to “influence people without them being aware of it” (Cambridge, 2019)[11]. Within the NCIX “The Freedom to Choose” advert, they portray an overt message, that they build and sell their computers to the customers liking (advertising the business model of the time). However, the subliminal message within the advert is that the Core2Duo processor is the fastest on the market; this is due to the advert being in collaboration with Intel, the creators of that processor. This subliminal message gives more mindshare to Intel and NCIX.[13]

Certain adverts like to elicit an emotional response from the viewer. Sometimes, this will be a comedic response, such as the Sonic Mania Plus advert (Sega, 2018)[12]. This can make the advert stand out in a viewer’s mind, as it might have made them laugh, or they might’ve enjoyed it. Another emotional response would be in relation to a story, and to elicit an “empathetic response”, where “people empathize with and feel closer to your brand”. (USC, 2019)[14]

Certain adverts are known to use celebrity endorsements, to portray their product. The “Genesis Does” [8] advert uses Michael Jackson, along with different sports players (such as Joe Montana), to portray their product. Sometimes, this is in a direct way, where the product is tailored to their fans (such as Joe Montana Footaball). Other times, this is in an indirect way, to portray a view that these successful celebrities would use a product (and it aids them in their success).

A USP, or “Unique Selling Proposition”, allows an advert to “pin-point what makes [a] business unique” (, 2019)[15]. This allows a brand to create an identity and stand out from a crowd. Oftentimes, an advertising firm will use information resources from the company to create an advert and will focus in on their USP. These information packs show off products, and services, and shows a company ethos. More advertising campaigns are using audience participation to theme their advert. A “majority of [an] audience gets a sudden rush from seeing their input [on] the big screen” (Izaguirre, 2012)[16]. If an audience can dictate what they want to see, or be part of the advertisement, whether that be through panels, social media, or through interviews, it can engage a viewer easier.


Advertisements can now be targeted, using social media and online advertising. However, this leads to some ethical issues. With being able to “advertise to consumers at moments that matter” (YouTube Support, 2019)[17], this can lead to users feeling as if their habits are being watched, and that they are being manipulated into using a product. This is an ethical issue that advertisers need to keep in mind when targeting advertisements to certain demographics.

The Advertising Standards Authority, or the ASA, make sure advertisements, whether that be digital or on television or radio, follow “advertising codes”, and give “guidance to non-broadcast advertisers” (ASA, 2019)[18]. Additionally, Ofcom regulate “communication services that we use and rely on each day”, and make sure everything is up to their standards (Ofcom, 2019)[19].


In conclusion, advertising allows companies to promote their products and services to the masses. They can utilize a variety of different methods, but all must follow advertising codes, to make sure that they are not deceiving customers.


[1] Oxford Dictionary. 2019. Define Advertisment. [Online]. Available from:

[2] Stevens, M. 2011. Different Type of Adverts. [Online]. Available from:

[3] Kieran, Miley. 2011. Realist Narrative - Anti-realist. [Online]. Available from:

[4] Animate2Explain. 2017. Role of Animation in Advertising. [Online]. Available from:

[5] AustinVisuals. 2019. Animation in Advertising. [Online]. Available from:

[6] YouTube. 1984. ZX Spectrum Advert. [Online]. Available from:

[7] McDermott, C. 2016. Documentary Storytelling. [Online]. Available from:

[8] YouTube. 1989. Genesis Does. [Online]. Available from:

[9] YouTube. 2006. Mac vs PC: Viruses. [Online]. Available from:

[10] Pethrus, V. 2015. Three Advert Analysis. [Online]. Available from:

[11] Cambridge Dictionary. 2019. Define Subliminal. [Online]. Available from:

[12] Sega. 2018. Sonic Mania Plus – Retro Infomercial. [Online]. Available from:

[13] NCIX. 2007. NCIX The Freedom To Choose Commercial 3". [Online]. Available from:

[14] USC. 2019. Thinking vs Feeling: The Psychology of Advertising. [Online]. Available from:

[15] 2019. USP. [Online]. Available from:

[16] Izaguirre, X. 2012. How are brands using audience involvement to increase reach and engagement? [Online]. Available from:

[17] Google Support. 2019. Targeted Advertising. [Online]. Available from:

[18] ASA. 2019. About us. [Online]. Available from:

[19] Ofcom. 2019. About us. [Online]. Available from: