Analysis of an Advertisement

by Felix Martinez about a year ago in industry

The 'Got Milk?' ad campaign is more involved than you think.

Many people strive to maintain the benefits of youth as they age. Some turn toward mystical, costly supplements or surgical techniques meant to stay youthful. Others believe, however, that sticking to a healthy lifestyle is the key towards longevity and will make sure your life is healthy and fun. In 2001, the creators of the “Got Milk?” advertisement sought to promote the consumption of milk to a wider and younger audience. The “Got Milk?” advertisement promotes its product by successfully utilizing logos, ethos, and pathos to link the concepts of health and longevity with the benefits of milk consumption.

Model Behavior Image

Vanity Fair published the first "Got Milk?" ad in their May 2001 issue (Adflip, 2001). Vanity Fair delivers current fashions, trends, and ideas to the general population of humanity. Do you have the latest news or fashion tips? Do you want to have a political idea of a candidate’s statement? Well if it’s popular enough then, Vanity Fair will probably cover it. The creators of the “Got Milk?” ad cleverly placed it in this media to focus on a younger and more mainstream population. The ad’s first attempt in capturing its audience is through pathos.

The ad is emotionally alluring: it begs you to stare and pay attention to a product that promises health. Someone beautiful, in this case, a woman, is standing in the foreground and looking at…you. Her form and face are ethereal. The most straightforward questions come to mind when looking at someone so captivating: Who wouldn’t want to meet her? Who wouldn’t want to be like her? The one thing standing out in this picture is a white line of some substance above her lip. As the observer takes in the rest of her form, they see a glass of milk? Could this be why she is beautiful and healthy looking? It indeed compels one to drink milk and find out. At this point in the observation, the written advertisement delivers the logos associated with drinking milk.

The ad’s written message starts with the words “Model Behavior” (Adflip, 2001). The word model has more than one meaning. Among other things, it means both someone of great beauty working in the fashion industry and a highly regarded standard people should follow. The ad uses both simultaneously as follows: A supermodel is engaging in model behavior that people, such as you or I, should follow. The advertisement merely puts forth the idea that if you want your bones strong, then drinking milk is the way to go. Surprisingly, the ad doesn’t display the supermodel drinking milk. It only appears that she drank milk and it in some way relates to her beauty. The ad creators seek to inform the audience that buying their product represents the path to the qualities described by the spokeswoman.

Ethos is not as evident as pathos and logos in this advertisement. However, it exists nonetheless as you observe how it delivers the message. First and foremost is the placement of the ad itself. By displaying this ad in Vanity Fair the concept of milk becomes part of mainstream life. People existing in the mainstream will want to be part of the crowd drinking milk since Vanity Fair advertises this product. Next, you have statements concerning continued bone strength through milk consumption. There are few people, if any, who have not heard of the benefits of drinking milk. Reading the ad text and remember old positive adages about milk will resurface lending credibility to the promotion.

The creators of this “Got Milk?” ad effectively captivate their audience by linking multiple concepts together. There is the imagery of the spokeswoman perceived to be drinking milk. Next, we have the factual information regarding bone strength and growth, as well as, how the consumption of milk helps the two over time. We then have the link between the spokeswoman’s profession and the use of milk. She not only exemplifies the current and popular trends she represents, but she also lends that power to the consumption of milk. Based on this advertisement, if we want health, looks, and long-life, then we will have to get milk.

How does it work?
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Felix Martinez

Veteran, technician, and now a new father.  I've spent my life traveling the U.S. first serving my country and am currently working in the private sector.  I hope you enjoy my essays and look forward to writing many more in the future.  

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