The best tips for analyzing advertisements are to consider where the ad is being displayed, determine the mood, and decide on the kind of audience the ad is meant for. An ad’s location can sometimes say a lot about the intended audience, especially their age and gender. The mood of an advertisement can help a person realize what he or she is supposed to feel when viewing it. In addition, many advertisements are offensive toward a race or gender to better appeal to the kind of person the advertiser wants buying the advertised product. It can be time consuming to analyze ads, particularly for people who are not professionals in the field.
Sometimes when analyzing advertisements, it helps to consider the advertisement’s location. The location of an advertisement can tell more about the ad’s intended audience. For example, a full-page cigarette advertisement might be found in a magazine targeted toward people ages 18 to 24. Now the advertiser’s target audience has been determined, but maybe the magazine is sold in a country where the legal smoking age is 18 years old. From this, a person could make an educated guess that the cigarette company is trying to get new customers as soon as they come of age.
One of the easiest parts of analyzing advertisements is determining the mood. Some advertisers are careful to make their ads happy and family orientated. Other advertising companies go the opposite route by shaming potential consumers, pointing out normal body flaws and sensitive weight issues. Determining the mood or ambiance of the advertisement can help the analyzer realize what the advertiser is trying to make viewers feel. For example, a toothpaste ad usually shows people happily brushing their teeth because it's best to associate “happy” and “fun” with toothpaste rather than negative emotions.
A person should look for stereotypes, sexism, and racism in ads, even if it is subtle. These aspects can help determine the advertiser’s goal and whom the ad is supposed to appeal to. For example, one sex is often portrayed as dumb or childish when marketing a product to the opposite sex. In addition, an advertisement that has a man of a minority racial group unable to manage his finances until saved by someone of a different ethnicity, who is widely regarded to be good with money, may be racist. If viewing the advertisement with children, adults can point out that the advertisement is offensive and not the norm.
Analyzing advertisements can be difficult, and it is time consuming to analyze an entire ad. Even the language and font used in a commercial are usually meant to influence potential consumers in some way. The people who create advertisements are most often professionals who are trained in all the different aspects of advertising.