Marketing Communications

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Marketing communication is a complex and fundamental part of the marketing efforts in a company. Marketing communication entails al the media and messages used by a company or organization to communicate with the market. According to Stuart et al. (2007, p. 154), “integrated marketing communication is a strategic business process used to plan, develop, execute and evaluate coordinated, measurable, persuasive brand communication programs over time with consumers, customers, prospects, and other targeted, relevant external and internal audiences.” The focus of marketing communication is persuading the consumers to purchase products while ensuring other stakeholders have information on the company and get persuaded to pursue goals in line with those of the company. Marketing communication includes direct marketing, advertising, packaging, branding, online presence, printed materials, sales presentations, trade shows, sponsorships, public relations activities among others. The choice of a communication strategy to use depends on the audience and the goals of the communication. Commercials are one of the most used communications strategies by businesses globally and seek to persuade consumers to purchase a company’s products. This essay presents an analysis of L’Oreal advertisement for True Match Makeup published in Cosmopolitan Magazine. The essay focuses on the persuasive elements used in the advertisement to reach a conclusion on its effectiveness in persuading the target market to purchase the product.

Advertisement Description

The True Match Makeup advertisement published in the Cosmopolitan Magazine September 2013 issue forms the focus of this analysis. The advertisement is aimed at the main readers of the Cosmopolitan Magazine. The target audience for the advertisement is young black women aged between sixteen and forty years that read the Cosmopolitan Magazine and is interested in trying out new makeup. The advertisement responds to the continual need for products that fit the skin type and tone of the audience and resonates with the needs of this audience as they try out new skin products every day. The advertisement seeks to convince the audience that finding the correct makeup that fits their skin tone offers an answer to their skin problems and can help them transform their faces. The advertisement seeks to show that finding the right makeup that complements a woman’s shade will make them more beautiful and happier.

The advertisement is presented in two halves with a close up of Beyonce Knowles on the right half depicting how the makeup matches her skin tone and makes her look beautiful and confident. A description of her heritage as African American and how the makeup is a 100% match for her is given on the bottom (L’Oreal). The right half is dedicated to showing how she looks flawless with the True Match Makeup. The left half of the advertisement is a white background with three bottles of makeup and writings that inform the audience about the product and its benefits to the users (L’Oreal). The many shades of the makeup are also presented on the far left side of the advertisement serving to show the users to huge selection they can choose from and even download an app to make their match easier to make choices from the many shades of the product. The half also presents the effort and reach of the makeup with information on the years of research and ethnicities considered in coming up with the makeup (L’Oreal). The advertisement presents a lot of information to the users in a limited time. A little color is used in the advertisement with only Black, brown and white colors (L’Oreal). The communication is structured into visual and text with the text serving to convey information to back the assertions of visual display and augment the effectiveness of the presentation to the audience.

Concepts and theories of persuasion in marketing communication

Marketing communication plays a lot of roles and has to be designed in a manner that achieves the set goals. Advertising is a form of marketing communication that serves to inform and persuade. According to Tom and Eves (1999, p. 39), “recognizing that a major goal of advertising is not only to inform but also to persuade, it is not surprising that advertising is sprinkled with rhetorical devices.” The rhetorical devices for persuasion in advertising form the focus of this section. One of the persuasive devices used in advertisements is celebrity endorsements considered by Kettlewell (2017, p. 2) as “hold the most power in creating purchase intentions.” Celebrity endorsements have been used in different advertisements and commercials and provided high sales and product success with Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Adidas as some of the companies that have effectively used celebrity endorsement to persuade the audience. Celebrities including Cristiano Ronaldo, Shaquille O’Neal, Kate Moss, Lionel Messi, Beyonce Knowles, Stephen Curry and Karlie Kloss have been involved in product endorsements that have persuaded the audience to make product purchases. Celebrity endorsements of products and services are considered testimonials on the effectiveness and quality of these products by the consumers and serve to persuade the audience to use the product. The effectiveness of testimonials is mainly because of a “transfer of the admiration or respect for the celebrity to the product” (Kenechukwu et al., 2013, p. 958).

Copy theory provides a theoretical approach for investigating the pictorial element in advertising. According to copy theory, “pictures are conceived as natural, realistic reflections of reality” and are effective to persuade an audience (Tom and Eves, 1999, p. 39). The visuals used in advertisements serve to depict reality and persuade the audience of the authenticity of the products and their use in real circumstances by real individuals who have achieved much in life. The visuals in advertisement serve to play visual rhetoric based on the premise that “pictures are not merely analogues to visual perception, but symbolic artifacts constructed from the conventions of a particular culture” (Tom and Eves, 1999, p. 39). Another theory that seeks to explain advertising behavior is cognitive response theory, which “assumes that advertising has the ability to influence the relative importance that individuals attach to various attributes of the product, purchase decision being purely rational” (Nichifor, 2014, p. 185). The audience is considered to make purchase decisions based on the product attributes presented in the advertisement.

Appeals to logos, pathos, and ethos are the major persuasive techniques utilized by advertisers to convince the consumers to purchase their products (Hirschberg, 2006, p. 291). The appeal to ethos involves showing credibility. The advertiser has to show its credibility to succeed in persuading the audience to purchase the product. The customers will listen and respond positively to a credible advert hence gaining the respect of the audience is crucial for an advertisement to succeed (Frederick, 2011, 19). Appeal to logos entails appealing to reason or logic of the audience by providing the reasons or facts that back purchase or use of a given product (Treadwell and Treadwell, 2004, p. 18). The consumers will have a positive response to an advertisement that answers the questions that arise from offering facts and reasons. Pathos is the appeal to emotions and seeks to convince readers or audience to “support an argument by drawing on their emotions” (Morton, 2014, p. 81). Appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos are common and effective methods of persuading audiences to purchase products. The combination of appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos create powerful persuasive messages that motivate the audience to “accept, believe, change, and/or act” (Van Rys et al., 2016, p. 316).

Association is another persuasive technique used by advertisers that “tries to link a product, service, or idea with something already liked or desired by the target audience, such as fun, pleasure, beauty, security, intimacy, success, wealth, etc” (Media Literacy Toolbox, 2007, p. 2). The implied association creates interest in the consumers to try out the products advertised. Coca-Cola has created a large association with family while Nike has promoted an association to winning in its advertising. Both brands have been very effective in persuading consumers to purchase their products showing the role of association in marketing.

Effectiveness of the use of concepts and theories of persuasion in the L’Oreal advertisement

The main element utilized in the L’Oreal advertisement is visualization with an effective combination of images, colors, and layout. The close up face of Beyonce Knowles immediately captures the viewer’s attention and immediately communicates the focus of the advertisement that the makeup makes the user’s face beautiful and flawless. The face also looks happy making the audience believe they will be happy too when they use the makeup. Textual and visual appeals are also utilized in the L’Oreal advertisement to persuade the audience. The cohesion and coherence, ideology, and speech acts are effectively utilized to generate interest in the consumer and persuade them to purchase the product (Flergin, 2013, p. 62). The textual information presented serves to complement the visuals used and promote the product characteristics as required by the audience. The texts serve to answer the audience’s questions including the functionalities of the products and how the product meets their needs. The writing “Whatever your skin’s story we have your match,” is used effectively to convey the message to the reader and creates interest allowing the reader to internalize and make conscious decisions on using the product.

Pictorial representation techniques are also used in the L’Oreal True Match Makeup advertisement. The picture of Beyonce Knowles a celebrity with a flawless skin presented depicting the true match with her skin and the effect that using the makeup provides. The picture effectively conveys to the audience the benefit of using the product and persuades the readers that using the makeup will transform their skin. The target audience of the advertisement also relates to the singer and being of African-American heritage, the different ethnicities considered in preparing the makeup are represented and a larger audience convinced of the usefulness of the product. The choice of individual’s picture to present in the advertisement is also a form of persuasion as celebrity endorsement is considered a powerful means to promote purchase intentions among the target audience. The choice of an individual of African American heritage also serves to reinforce the target audience of the advertisements and ensure they relate with an individual who has a similar skin tone and has achieved happiness and beauty using the makeup. The choice is effective as the audience easily relates and has similar complexion hence getting the right match for their skin tone and shade will not be a problem hence effective in promoting purchase intentions (Kettlewell, 2017, p. 2).

L’Oreal advertisement effectively utilizes cognitive behavior theory to persuade the audience to make purchase decisions. The cognitive theory emphasizes providing product attributes to persuade the audience to make product purchases. L’Oreal seek to promote product purchases by emphasizing the effectiveness of the True Match Makeup to make the user’s face flawless when the correct tone and skin match is achieved. The product attributes of quality and compatibility to the user’s face tone and shade are considered important to promote sales to the target audience. L’Oreal True Match makeup advertisement also uses association to persuade the audience to purchase the product. Using Knowles’ picture in the advertisement serves to create an association of the product to beauty, which is effective in persuading the audience to purchase the product. The association for happiness is also evident as finding a true match for one’s skin needs creates happiness for the users.

The advertisement also uses an appeal to logos to persuade the audience. The “100% guaranteed” statement in the advertisement offers the customers a guarantee of finding the right match for their skin (L’Oreal). The consumers understand that they will get a perfect match and if not, they will be refunded their money hence it is a logical reason to try the product without fear of losing their cash. The advertisement also provides other facts that serve to show the audience reasons why choosing the makeup is the right choice. The statements, “7 years of research ”,“ 33 shades-light to dark warm, neutral or cool and “57 ethnic backgrounds” are facts that serve to enlighten the consumers about the products and provide credible reasons for them to make purchases. The consumers have more information and understand that in-depth research and comprehensive consideration of ethnic backgrounds were considered in developing the products hence more likely to make purchases. The wide range of shades also makes it possible for the reader to be confident of finding a perfect match. The advertisement also uses logos by presenting the benefits of using the product to the consumers. The advertisement effectively uses logos by offering crucial information that persuades the audience to use the product.

Appeal to ethos is also utilized in the L’Oreal advertisement effectively reminding the audience the household name the product is and excellence in product quality. That the product has worked in the past is evidence of L’Oreal’s appeal to the credibility of the audience. The slogan, “Because you’re worth it” creates credibility in the company and makes consumers know that they are treasured and products made are quality. That the company believes women are special creates confidence in the product is also evidenced by the “7 years of research” undertaken to produce the makeup (L’Oreal). The use of product development information and brand reputation are effective mechanisms to persuade the audience using credibility. The credibility of the products is also enhanced by the backing of a celebrity as consumers get to trust in the product and have faith in its usefulness. That the company has maintained credibility and trust from the consumers over the years through quality product development ensures the advertisement manages to appeal to the audience through ethos.

Pathos is another persuasive appeal used by the L’Oreal advertisement. The advertisement appeals to the user’s emotions by relating the use of the product to beauty and happiness. The achievement of beauty is emotional and the audience is persuaded to try out the makeup in an effort to be happier and more beautiful. The promise that they will find the correct tone of makeup for their skin also appeals to emotions as women relate to anger and disappointment when they cannot find the makeup that matches their skin. A solution that solves this need from the many shades solves their worries hence an appeal to emotions. The advertisement manages to connect with the needs and values of the users making the emotional appeal effective. The advertisement could be improved by using a picture of Knowles smiling to clearly relate happiness with using the product. This could have appealed to the audience’ emotions more effectively and improve its effectiveness.

The analysis shows that marketing communication plays a significant role in businesses relating to the stakeholders. The communication with the customers through advertising allows businesses to persuade consumers to make products purchases. The persuasion techniques used in advertising allow consumers to have confidence in product purchases and be convinced the decisions are value for their money. Pathos, ethos, celebrity endorsement, L’Oreal True Match Makeup is excellently designed with a combination of persuasive techniques that make it effective in promoting consumer interest and purchases. The advertisement embodies most of the persuasive theories and techniques that make for excellent adverts that generate a lot of consumer feedback and sales for the company.


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L’Oreal True Match Makeup Advertisement

May 02, 2023



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