What Do You See?

Take a closer look

Advertising is everywhere. This isn’t breaking news. But what is (and has been) revolutionary is how we decipher these images (or moving images) and words. Various factors and methods go into play, but ultimately a combination (or conflict, depending on your brand tone) of images and words creates an interpretation…or a new meaning. Think of it as your brand equation.

As a social experiment, Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov edited together a short film in which a shot of an expressionless man was alternated with various other shots (a plate of soup, a girl in a coffin, and a woman on a couch). The film was shown to an audience who believed that the expression on the man’s face was different each time he appeared, depending on whether he was “looking at” the plate of soup, the girl in the coffin, or the woman on the divan. These expressions varied from hunger to grief to desire.

Kuleshov’s experiment, or the Kuleshov effect, showcases how advertising can be used to create emotional bonds with customers. Taking it a step further, ads can be altered by using specific camera angles, cropped photographs, carefully considered perspectives, and other technical aspects shape and influence meaning.

Another method of strengthening your brand is utilising the culture of symbolic representations. Ads draw heavily on cultural symbols, especially those whose meanings are widely shared within a society. For example, the swastika. Depending on its form and presentation, it can either incite negative connotations (Nazis) or it can carry feelings of equality and tranquillity (Hindu).

In New Zealand, the colours of red, white, and black in combination can evoke patriotism. As could sheep, ferns, and/or gumboots.

But to really hit home, you need to stir up emotion. Music, colour, and other features are sometimes used in an attempt to evoke attitudes and feelings in customers rather than to tell specific stories. As difficult to accomplish in advertising as it is in art, ads impart ideas about products and the emotional states they seek to invoke.

So what does your brand add up to? What’s your brand equation?

Wanna do some marketing math? Choice! Ring us and join the content revolution!

Online Marketing Agency Ltd.
Tel: +64 (0)9 413 7999
P.O Box 301 901, Albany, Auckland 0752


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