This essay will analyse an advert as presented in the print media taking account of the use of the use of image devises and the specific audiences the advert is designed to appeal to. The specific advert chosen in the context of this paper is for Barclays Bank as presented in the July/August magazine Financial Management (Barclays Bank 10).
In the first instance the advertisement takes up a full A4 page and is presented in portrait format so as to fit in with the rest of the publication. The advert is divided between two key sections with the central image taking up around two thirds of the page while an accompanying text takes up the bottom third of the page.
The image is a striking “city” image with a picture of a blurred investment banker walking through a glass tunnel which links to contemporary office blocks which appear to be shown in a night setting. As such, the blurring of the central figure and reflective qualities in the glass tunnel help to create a message of speed and a slightly futuristic message to the reader. Adding to the image is a blue wash effect which also further gives a blurring and a slightly futuristic effect, this is also significant however as blue is the corporate colour for Barclays Bank, thus acting as a recognisable anchoring point for the reader (Yeshin 119-120). While the messages of futuristic expectations and efficiency associated with the blurring and other effects in the image may be seen as a positive aspect of the advert, the creators of the advertisement may have inadvertently created a problem. Another view is that the blurring of the central figure, the only human depicted in the advert has in effect “dehumanised” this figure. This may be seen as a significantly poor decision in a time when the banking industry is suffering from a lack of confidence (Trotman) in its sincerity and social connections with the wider public. As such, the opinion of the writer is that the advert should have in fact attempted to highlight the central figure giving a more “human” persona to the character and thus underlining positive messages about the way in which Barclays Bank operates from the perspective of its wider social policies.
In the right hand corner of the image are three simple phrases written in bold white lettering which state “No silos. No borders. Just ideas.” Here one may see that there is a key link between these phrases and the iconography in the image. The use of a tunnel style bridge and glass for instance would seem to have a good resonance with the messages of “No silos and No borders” while the display of contemporary style architecture in the image may further be seen as supporting the message of innovation linked to the phrase “Just ideas.”
As such it may be seen that the top half of the advert is a relatively well laid out piece of advertising with perhaps the exception of the possible dehumanising effect used on the investment banker character. The image is clearly designed to appeal to a professional audience of people who are either in the financial services sector or related sectors within the city. However, this is one problem with the image, at this stage without the supporting section presented on the bottom third of the page, the image does not give a hint as to the specific products and services being offered. The image also gives a limited hint to the brand being considered with the exception of the blue wash effect which is associated with Barclays Bank.
The bottom third of the page may be seen as a text section which having drawn the reader in with the image the section aims now to “sell” the products and services of Barclays Bank. In this section the page is separated from the image with a bright white background on which six lines of text are presented in black writing. Under the text in the bottom right hand corner there is the printing of the Barclays Bank logo and brand name which is printed in a contrasting blue shade.
At this stage, the text gives details of the exact products and services being sold by the bank in this advert, they relate to the banks investment banking and commercial banking services. As such, the language used in the text is notably technical and designed to appeal to an audience who has a technical understanding of investment banking and financial services sector, this may be seen as highly appropriate for the readership of the managing Financial Management in which the advert is published.
Having analysed the advert in detail the writer comes to a number of conclusions, overall the advertisers have presented an image which portrays Barclays Bank as a leader in innovation with a real future within the sector. However, as a standalone advert, the piece fails to immediately sell a single product or service or event the brand to the readership for the magazine. While the image generates initial interest, it is not until reading the accompanying caption and seeing the Barclays Bank logo that one really gains an understanding of which brand is being advertised and what products and services are being sold. This however may be seen as a key mistake for the company given that many business readers may see the image and continue to flip the page without reading the accompanying text.
Barclays Bank. “No silos, no borders, just ideas.” Financial Management. July/August. 2012: 10. Print.
Trotman, Andrew. “Barclays “in denial” over regulators lack of confidence in management.” Daily Telegraph. 17th July 2012. Web. 28th Sep 2012.
Yeshin, Tony. Advertising. Australia: South-Western. 2006, Print.