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  • Wednesday, August 10, 2005


    Ad Deconstruction 1

    This is an exercise for me, a bit of casual deconstruction of the text of a magazine advertisement. Humorously, the closest I can find to a current "mainstream" magazine around the house is Organic Style, a freeby I got through some frequent flyer miles. I wanted to use a large company as an example but I've dismissed the auto ads in the mag because they are very visually oriented. So I'm stuck with toothbrushes. That's the breaks...

    Healthy Gums Posted by Picasa
    The tag line, the registered phrase "Healthy Gums. Healthy Life." is a perfect example of using associative grouping to influence the reader. As if having healthy gums will also translate into health of the rest of your body. Perhaps it's just attempting to draw equivalence between the two. Healthy gums=healthy life.

    "Research now shows that heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis are potentially linked to severe gum disease." In stage magic, this is called misdirection. The conclusion you are obviously intended to draw is that gum disease might be the cause of these other conditions rather than a symptom of them.

    None of this is earthshattering. Many people can easily see these lies and take them for granted. Yet I find such intentional lies woven throughout our media and not necessarily confined to advertising. That's the point. You're not supposed to question blatant lies or patent nonsense when it's presented. Advertising is intended to weaken your grasp of truth. It is designed to insinuate its slogans and images into your hindbrain, bypassing the rational to create positive associations whose source you can't consciously put your finger on.

    Advertising lies. A lot.

    UPDATE: My housemate, Fierce Celt, informs me that gum disease may induce/cause some types of heart disease. Oops. Hey, I'm not a doctor. If I don't give a reliable source for my info, you're on your own. And, for the record, I'm not saying you shouldn't take care of your gums or teeth, OK? Dental hygiene is important. 'nuff said. (Stop sniggering! Disclaimers are essential to helping me sleep at night.)

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