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The Canal and Network for iPhones, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 955

Essay

In a world wherein advertising is typically presented in multimedia form, the traditional, print magazine advertisement faces extraordinary challenges. In basic terms, it is left behind; it does not sing, move, or put on a changing show. It does not tell a video story, and has no ambient effects to assist it.   Consequently, it must rely more than ever on a single, striking visual appeal. Text can greatly enhance this effect, through pithy and interesting plays on words. At its best, as demonstrated below, image and words meet to convey a uniform and captivating appeal. Ultimately, the magazine ad must reproduce the effect of visual multimedia as much as possible, as consumers expect nothing less, and higher levels of craftsmanship are therefore necessary.

To that end, there is the Canal+ ad, which more than effectively takes hold of consumer interest in a variety of compelling ways. Canal+ is a French-based media network which has, since its 1984 inception, grown to international proportions. The advertisement in question seeks to promote Canal+’s offerings, emphasizing sports programming, as perfectly compatible with iPhone technology. The ad consists of a single image, that of a soccer stadium.  In the background, the bleachers are packed with spectators, and the foreground is the playing field.  On this, several players are reacting to the somewhat surreal intrusion of a giant human finger descending from directly above and pinning down an unfortunate player below its fingertip. Highly dramatically, another team member seems to be frantically trying to extricate the trapped, if not crushed, player.

In terms of intended audience or demographic, it may seem that Canal+  is after only male consumers.   Even the brief slogan, “All sports now available on your iPhone”, supports the assumption; sports is, after all, still very much a male-oriented industry. Then, the game shown is soccer, indicating that Canal+ is after a more European audience, as a similar ad in the U.S. would more likely use the image of a football game.  Globalization itself, however, expands the Canal+ demographic. First of all, it is important to note that the ad refers to the consumer’s iPhone, taking as a given the device’s ownership. This then translates to a far more universal target audience, as iPhones cross all gender and cultural boundaries. Then, regarding the game itself, recent years have seen an extraordinary rise in American appreciation of soccer. Owing to broadened cultural appreciations and the enormous popularity of iPhones everywhere, then, the Canal+ ad is intended for virtually all consumers. As for the masculine agenda: women uninterested in sports are targeted as well, for they are being tempted by both a suitable gift idea for a male partner, and by the striking humor of the ad.

Reverting back to the ad’s copy, it serves something of a dual purpose. By itself, it is a clean and simple announcement of a new service.  Placed below the image, however, it takes on an ironic and humorous aspect, by virtue of the unreality of the picture. The words read almost as droll, in the face of what appears to be a freakish calamity. This component of the ad’s appeal is additionally reinforced by what is actually frozen in the image. That is to say, the players are reacting to the finger exactly as might be expected.  They are clearly stunned, if not terrified. As noted, a photographic advertisement cannot move as a video ad can.  Canal+  nonetheless comes as near to action in this image as any image may; there is an almost palpable sense of the players in motion, in this still photograph.  To the company’s credit, it presents a picture as strikingly true to life as a capture from a news story, even as the scenario itself is outrageous.

This latter, surreal element is the core of the ad, and speaks volumes in terms of effect and advertising artistry.   Modern technology has generated in consumers an acknowledged sense of being pawns in a vast, commercial enterprise, wherein they are merely shuffled from device to device. Even the multitude of options within iPhones known to consumers is intimidating, and it is easy to feel “lost”, or powerless, even while wielding the latest technology.  The Canal+  asserts, in no uncertain terms, that the consumer rules this particular universe. This image is purely empowering, and this effect is greatly enhanced by the comic impossibility of the scenario. It does not matter, that no real, human finger may poke itself into a soccer game and terrorize a team by taking a player out, for this is precisely what may figuratively occur if the consumer equips himself with the Canal+ network.   The ad brilliantly takes advantage of the recent thinking generated by modern technology, which maintains that all such media/device realities render reality itself a shifting proposition. It states that, no matter his or her limitations in the literal world, Canal+ options enable absolute user authority in the virtual realms we all frequently occupy.

The Canal+ network advertisement succeeds beautifully on, as noted, multiple levels. Its strongest asset, however, is its humor, or drollery of approach. It does not overtly say, in any manner, that popular culture is intimidated by the very technology it embraces, but it suggests this in a manner that is agreeable and, oddly, self-deprecatory.   It seems to say that we are all in this virtual “game” together, and that we may as well take advantage of our literal strength and being, even as we immerse ourselves in virtual entertainments. The finger itself is simply and perfectly a gesture. It is pressing a “button”, as it presses down on the unlucky soccer player, and Canal+ is conveying, in a truly remarkable advertisement, that so random and easy a motion is all that is needed to rule this world.

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