The Sundance Film Festival has an online ad at the webpage for The Nation one of the oldest American political magazines. I judged this advertisement be the best. The qualities I liked were the simplicity of design, the practicality of the links and the eye-catching design.
Simplicity. The simplicity of the design for the Sundance Film Festival works very well. Although the design is simple the most important information a person needs is in the advertisement. Who? Sundance. What? 2013 Film Festival. Where? Park City, Utah When? January 17 -27, 2013. How? Click on “Get Tickets.”
Practicality. With one click anywhere on the advertisement a person is taken to the Sundance Film Festival web link <http://www.sundance.org/festival/tickets/?src=nation>. The web page has links to the other pages which are very useful for anyone interested in the festival. The links included are for the audience, the filmmakers (to submit their films), journalists (for press releases) and a link for watching trailers of the movies.
Eye-catching. The simplicity of the design for the Sundance Film Festival is also very attractive. The color that was chosen is red which usually I would consider a very bad color for an advertisement. The color red is most often associated with an angry feeling, but that is not the feeling that this ad gives where it is placed. On the contrary by using the overall red background color and the plain white text this advertisement stands out on the web page. A reader’s eye is drawn to the red square immediately. I felt like the rest of the page seemed a little chaotic compared to the advertisement. Also the red color is not a bright, vibrant red that hurts a person’s eyes. The red color is solid but a flat color so it is very plain. The design on the red background consists of only the white outline of two arrows and the text with the necessary information about the festival.
Example of a Bad Ad
Reference: Vanity Fair 2012 September Print Edition
Vanity Fair is always a very thick magazine. The September 2012 issue has 248 pages. This issue has a lot of fashion advertisements inside. I had to look carefully to understand whether I was looking at an advertisement or the photos that went with one of the stories. Vanity Fair has several ads for subscriptions to the magazine and Vanity Fair products scattered throughout the pages. There were some fashion advertisements that were not very good because they were unattractive or they showed almost naked people wearing ugly clothes. But the most offensive advertisement was for Vanity Fair e-books. The catchy phrase “Take One Tablet before Bedtime” is cute but not with the visuals on this particular advertisement.
Simplicity. The design of the ad is very ‘busy.’ In other words it is not simple at all. First there is the photo of a Kindle tablet with the toolbar on top. Then there is the photo of an e-book cover with a text overlay on top of the photo. Under the Kindle tablet is another type of tablet, Nook. This tablet shows the toolbar also. Then there are small icons of book covers on the Nook tablet. That means that there are many layers of information. There are five layers if you count the two tablets, the two monitors with the book covers and then the overlay of text on the top tablet.
Practicality. This is not a very practical ad for a print magazine. In order to access the Vanity Fair e-books a person needs a tablet and they must go to a certain web page to purchase and download the books.
Eye-catching. The eye-catching part of the advertisement is the most offensive part. When a reader slows down to look at the photo on the Kindle tablet there are two men dressed in suits and ties. On the lap of one of the men sits a naked blond woman wearing red, spiked high heels. Her hair is blowing to the side down her back. His arm is around here holding her closely with his big hand. Her legs are showing off their length and the red heels. Her left hand is on his chest. It looks like her other arm is around his back. Her head is turned so we only see the back of her left ear and her long blonde hair blowing to the right side. In fact after a closer look the woman is wearing a tiny costume but it is skin colored, so at first glance she looks like she is naked. Because we cannot see her face her body becomes an object of sex. The ad is using sex to sell Vanity Fair e-books which is offensive plus the ad is not well designed.
Correction. I would take the woman out of the photo all together. I would add another character from the Sopranos, another man in a suit. He could stand a little behind the line of the other two but his height should be in the middle so it balances the photo with three people but no naked woman. I would simplify the banner ad and make it narrower. I would put the same image on the Nook player in the background. That would emphasize the fact that people could download the Vanity Fair e books on two electronic reading devices. That seems to be the point of the advertisement.
The Nation. [online] Image of the ad was retrieved from <http://www.thenation.com/> [Accessed 22 September 2012] October 2012 online edition
Vanity Fair. 2012 September, p. 148, Print.