Companies spend considerable amounts of time and money on advertising their products; much of this time is dedicated to understanding their target audience and what will convince them to buy. Advertisements are thus geared toward specific concerns or fears of the readership. Advertisers can most efficiently do this when the advertisement is published in literature that attracts people similar in gender, age, education, and socioeconomic status. World War II, the magazine, circulates an array of articles focusing on battles and important events that lead up to and took place during World War II.
The magazine is clearly geared toward a more educated and mature audience, having a mean readership age of fifty-five years old (Russel Johns Associates 1). Although most who are fifty-five are not yet retired (Statistics Canada), they are now considered older than middle age and are certainly approaching retirement. Maintaining good health and financial security is a natural worry for those headed into retirement and for retirees. Jacuzzi’s “Walk-In Tub” advertisement, appeals directly to an older, male audience by using fear through a lens of vitality and luxury to create an atmosphere of necessity.
In this case, where Jacuzzi is selling a tub that implies that the buyer is no longer the picture of youth, the company must inflate the buyer to prevent the consumer from becoming offended. The picture at the top of the advertisement shows a white, male model in his mid sixties who presents no signs of being unable to step out of a regular tub. In fact, he is casually leaning on one foot against his new tub. The models mental clout is further reassured, feeding their intellectual ego, by the large stack of books siting in the background and the newspaper in his hand.
Despite the target audience being fifty-five, there is limited visual signs that the consumer is advancing in years (Russel Johns Associates 1). To ensure that all the target consumers of the “Walk-In Tub” advertisement are bolstered, even those who might have difficulties coolly leaning against the tub, Jacuzzi empowers male dominance. In the far right corner of the advertisement there is a significantly smaller image of a woman using the tub. This picture is very different from the top picture, most obviously in size.
By making the woman smaller, it tells the readers of the magazine, who is predominantly male, that they have more importance in the household. The woman is also much younger and is scantly clad in only a bath towel, telling the reader that they could have a younger, desirable woman using their tub because they are the image of vitality. By bosting the consumer’s confidence physically, mentally, socially, and sexually, Jacuzzi can appeal directly to their target customers. Throughout the advertisement, Jacuzzi is offering the consumer the idea of affordability and leisure.
Jacuzzi sets a standard for their product by associating it with alluring diction. By using words that invoke feelings of desire and “luxury”, Jacuzzi wants the consumer to believe that the Walk-In Tub is worth the price (“Walk-In Tub” Jacuzzi 86). Therefore, those who might not be able to justify a large price tag for something as mundane as a tub, are sated by the idea of extravagance. Along side the meticulous word choice, the reader is also subjected to the connation that the brand “name” invokes (Jacuzzi).
Companies work very hard from their infancy to promote brand recognition that will instill feelings in consumers. The brand of the Walk-In Tub conjures feelings of “personal haven” in those who see the label Jacuzzi (Jacuzzi). To make an appeal to the more logical minded consumers, which take up a large portion of World War II magazine’s readership, a “special promotion” is offered (“Walk-In Tub” Jacuzzi 86). On the surface the two-hundred-dollar incentive is a great deal, that might make some buyers consider Jacuzzi over another brand with no such offer.
Layered between vitality and luxury, Jacuzzi uses positive feelings of necessity to urge the consumer to buy. Congruent to the positive images of vitality and luxury, fear is subversively used to cause the consumer to question their physical safety. A fear appeal is often used when “threats of physical harm, injury, and death” are imminent (Williams 4). Yet, tubs are not a great public health concern, unless you examine the those coming to the age of retirement or older.
Still, in the fifty-five and older age group, a picture of a tub alone would not cause panic and alarm. Thus, Jacuzzi subtly adds hints of danger to the advertisement. The reader is told that they “deserve a better, safer bathing experience”, which implies that their regular bathing routine is a threat (“Walk-In” Jacuzzi). It is also explicitly said that the consumer would be “…risking a fall…” in a traditional tub (“Walk-In” Jacuzzi). By creating fear, Jacuzzi can now offer a solution to the consumer’s woes, in the form of their product.
This is an example of the Drive Reduction Model (Williams 6). Jacuzzi successfully establishes an atmosphere of necessity by using a fear appeal. It is evident that Jacuzzi has subversively layered a fear appeal between elements of vitality and luxury to achieve the primary goal of the advertisement, to sell Walk-In Jacuzzi’s. Moreover, an atmosphere of necessity is efficiently and effectively created to compel the reader to buy. By augmenting the reader’s ego with vigor and dominance, the advertisement is essentially visual Viagra.
Diction adds luxury to the advertisement to help pad the consumer from the price. Together the positive appeals in the “Walk-In Tub” advertisement tell the consumer that by buying this product they are not admitting weakness, but they are, in fact, lengthening their longevity. Simultaneously, fear of failing health is used to make the reader anxious. The positive layered with negative advertising technique, targeted toward a specific reader, creates a compelling and subtle atmosphere of need for the product.