Communication Research and Advertising

Content analysis of different creative concepts and their characteristics applied in eight selected advertisements found in two publications – weekly magazines – Drum and You of July 11, 2013.

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1.1Main issue criteria
Creative concepts applied in the advertisement will play a meaningful role whether the campaign succeeds or not. Pictures, text and captions are but some of the few items that are used to structure the advertisement. In other instances, advertisers use unique payoff lines which enable them to be a cut above the rest.

1.1.1Nature of research
The research approach is both qualitative and quantitative. The use of narrative data on the study prompted the adoption of qualitative approach. The quantitative approach came as a result of a data that was counted and numerically measured.

1.1.2Time dimension
The nature of the research is cross-sectional. The study is conducted through the use of July 11, 2013 editions of Drum and You. Both are weekly magazines. Therefore research findings are limited to the abovementioned period.

Exploratory and descriptive studies are used to determine characteristics of creative concepts used in selected advertisements for the research project.

The issue at hand is to look at creative concepts used by various advertisers from the selected advertisements published in the July 11, 2013 editions of Drum and You.

A content analysis of two publications – Drum and You – and promotional messages carried through the use eight selected advertisements.

Every study conducted has to meet research criteria. It had to be relevant, researchable, cost-effective and should not violate acceptable ethical standards.

Drum and You form part of the print media which remain vital component of mass communication. Advertisers also used these platforms to reach out to the target market. As a result of that, the research issue is relevant and meets the criteria for communication research.

Every newspaper and magazine carries various advertisements. Advertisers pay for the space booked in the publication. The study will therefore be easily conducted due to the growing number of businesses that used these platforms to promote their goods and services. Every advertisement has atleast a creative concept.

Drum and You have been readily available. There were other daily and weekly newspapers to choose from. The same goes about magazines; there were weekly and monthly magazines which were available at a reasonable cost. One has chosen these two publications as they were already in the collection. They form part of researcher’s regular weekly and monthly read.

Decision to choose the two publications was somehow influence by the content they offer. The other one carries women issues while the next one is for soccer enthusiasts.

2.4Ethical acceptability
Advertisements used will be acknowledged in the ‘sources consulted’ section. The same will apply about publications that carried them, Drum and You.

Two publications have been chosen to conduct the research; they are July 11, 2013 editions of Drum and You – both are weekly magazines. The study analyses creative concepts applied in the advertisements.

3.1Brief background of the publications
It is imperative to know about the publications used for the study. In this research we use popular weekly publications.

Drum is a family magazine mainly aimed at black readers and contains market news, entertainment and feature articles. It was established in 1951 as “African Drum” by former test cricketer and author Bob Crisp and Jim Bailey. In 2005 Drum was described as the first black lifestyle magazine in Africa. Drum’s heyday in the 1950s fell between the Defiance Campaign and the tragedy at Sharpeville. This was the decade of potential Black emergence, the decade when the Freedom Charter was written. The aim was to promote an equal society. The Nationalist government responded with apartheid crackdowns and treason trials. Drum was a “record of naivety, optimism, frustration, defiance, courage, dancing, drink, jazz, gangsters, exile and death”. The magazine described the world of the urban Black; the culture, the colour, dreams, ambitions, hopes and struggles. The backbone of the magazine was crime, investigative reporting, sex (especially if across the colour line) and sport. This was fleshed out by imaginative photography. The formula worked and made for compulsive reading. Each issue of Drum was read by up to nine people, passed from hand to hand on the streets, in the clubs or on the trains. It became a symbol of Black urban life. About 240000 copies were distributed each month across Africa. This was more than any other African magazine. 3.1.2You

You is a South African family magazine which is aimed at demographically diverse South African English-speaking readers of different ethnicities with coverage on current events and “interesting people”. It has two sister magazines: Huisgenoot (aimed at White and Coloured Afrikaans-speaking
readers) and Drum. The You magazine was launched in 1987 by Nasionale Pers, which later became Media24. You is published in Cape Town. The publication covers human interest articles, celebrity news, both local and international current affairs.

3.2Geographical boundary
The study will be conducted in Bloemfontein, Free State. The researcher is based in the Free State capital hence the reason for the study to be conducted in the area.

3.3Nature of the time dimension
This is a cross-sectional study which will be conducted through the use of Drum and You – July 11, 2013 editions. Drum has variety of advertisements targeting general society, from body lotions to luxury vehicles. You on the other hand had advertisements such as education, men’s health promotions and cellphones. The study will be conducted between July and September 2013.

3.3.1Motivation for choice of time
Both copies of Drum and You have been purchased a few weeks after one has registered for the course – Communication Research (COM3706). Advertisements which met basic requirements for the assignment were readily available. This is the main reason why the choice of time is relevant to pursue the study.

According to Van Rensburg (2010:150) a population can be defined as the entire group of persons or set of objects and events the researcher wants to study.

4.1Target population
According to Du Plooy, GM (2009:109) target population is the actual population to which the study is used to generalise results.

The population for the study has to be all the newspapers and magazines from which various advertisements were reviewed before a final decision was taken by the researcher. Eventually two publications – Drum and You – were
identified. Four advertisements have been selected from each publication. Both copies have carried many other advertisements but the assignment’s requirement is to select just four of them from a copy.

The researcher has gone through weekly and weekend newspapers. They included Sowetan, Daily Sun, The Citizen, The New Age, Mail & Guardian, City Press and Sunday Times. On the other hand magazines included KickOff, Move, Real, Soul, True Love, Drum and You.

4.2Accessible population
In this regard, the accessible population is the publications from which the sample will be drawn for the study. Drum and You are conveniently available for the researcher to identify advertisements that will be analysed for research purposes.

4.3Population characteristics
Advertisements comprise various creative concepts to make sense of the meaning and messages conveyed to the target market. Therefore various population parameters have been used to achieve advertisers’ goal with the published promotion. In the study, we have seen how pictures, punchy headlines, well-designed texts, among others, were used to draft different creative concepts. Below is the list of four population characteristics that one reported about in the research findings. ✓ Colour codes applied

✓ Headline
✓ Photographs
✓ Body copy
✓ Text visuals

4.4Units of analysis
The smallest units that were analysed for the study, among others, include well-designed texts to differentiate certain products from that of their competitors. Pictures of the advertised products were also attached.

In Drum, DSTV, Rajah, Playtex and Edgars advertisements have been identified
for the research. On the other hand, in You the researcher has identified advertisements of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Samsung, Dermalex and Regal Pet Health.

Various eye-catchers have been applied in the advertisements used for the study. Subheadings were punchy, but we cannot confirm if they were indeed factual. Headlines and pictures seemed to complement each other. So far, headings that promised customers benefit appeared to work the best.

One has analysed pictures and graphics used, slogans, text applied, including headlines used in the advertisement.

The abovementioned elements form a backbone in making sense of creative concepts.

Lingerie designers use young, beautiful ladies in their promotional campaigns to drive the message home that their underwears will make them look stunning and energetic.

Advertisers use slogans to catch the attention of consumers and thus ensuring that they easily recall their products. And more importantly, they were able to differentiate them from those of their competitors.

Amplification creative concept becomes a must when advertisers promote expensive goods such as cars.

Brand names are repeated more than once in the advertisements and this is done through the use of well-designed texts, logos and pictures.

5.1Sub issues
Do lingerie designers use young and gorgeous ladies to promote their wears?

Do advertisers use slogans to get the attention of consumers in order to ensure that they recall their products and not confuse them with those of
their competitors?

Is an amplification creative concept a must when advertisers promote expensive goods such as cars?

Do brand names get repeated more than once in the advertisements through the use of well-designed texts, logos and pictures?

The study seeks to investigate practical issues which are creative concepts used in advertisements.

6.1Nature of the goal
The nature of the research is applied goal. The researcher has investigated how creative concepts can be more effective in the advertisements. The study is more practical as one had to cut advertisements from both Drum and You magazines before they could be converted into soft version via the use of a scanner.

6.2Relationship of goal to the main issue
By its own nature applied communication research is descriptive and explorative. This is also the case with the study the researcher is persuading.

The explanatory objective is as a result of practical exercises to be conducted throughout the course of the study. The descriptive objective is as a result of determining how creative concepts will be applied in the selected advertisements from Drum and You.

Does the use of young models in lingerie effective to attractive customers and connect them with the benefits of the advertised underwears?

Can advertisement deliver the good message to the intended audience even if the slogan was not applied to the optimum use?

Why is it so vital to use amplification creative concept over others when promoting expensive goods such as vehicle?

What is the role played by headlines, pictures and copy text in conveying the advertisement message?

The theory that is applicable for the study will be explained through both connotative and denotative. Some of the creative concepts used are attached to literal meaning while others are figurative.

For instance, some beauty products claimed that they will enhance the skin of young ladies and they will appear more attractive than ever before after using their lotions. The use of young models offered the literal meaning as one could easily associate with what was seen on the photo accompanying the advertisement. Pond’s and Johnson’s African Nurture are case in point in this regard.

Figurative meaning, for example, can be seen in the Toyota Etios advertisement. The words such as, ‘Take your smile for a test drive’. It was a figurative expression that one will be happy to drive the car and the testimony of that can be found in the test drive.

8.1What each creative concept mean
Pink is the feminine colour. The Pond’s and Johnson’s African Nurture advertisements made use of the colour as they promote women’s beauty products.

The happy looking ladies, who have been used as the faces of these products, somehow, were a sign of the benefit that comes with their use.

The promise of benefit was one of the fundamental creative concepts. The ladies were used as a proof to the claim that was made by the advertisers that their products will do wonders for the users.

Another colour that was used by the advertisers was yellow. The denotative meaning of the colour was happiness. The Toyota Etios advertisement promised users some excitement as they will be smiling. The yellow colour was used extensively in the background of the advertisement.

The same colour yellow was used heavily in yet another Johnson’s African Nurture advertisement. We have seen a group of young gorgeous ladies, mostly dressed in yellow dresses, overjoyed after using the beauty-enhancing product.

A factual approach was applied that one can hammer on was in the SuperSport advertisement of HD-PVR Decoder. Action pictures of footballers such Orlando Pirates striker Benni McCarthy and Chelsea forward Fernando Torres have been used to back up the story.

Over and above watching high definition pictures on television, viewers will have the benefit of watching best football matches in Europe – the live coverage of Barclays Premier League, Spanish La Liga, German’s Bundesliga, South Africa’s Premier Soccer League and the UEFA Champions League matches.

Slogans on the other hand form a vital component. The advertisements of Peugeot, Toyota and Pond’s were among those that have used this creative concept to back up their brands.

A detailed explanation of the new Toyota Etios summed up the use of amplification creative concept in the advertisement. Users were informed in not so many words about the benefits of the car and which features have been installed.

Both the Johnson’s African Nurture advertisements were loaded with the appeal creative concept. They were specifically targeted at African women.

The SuperSport advertisement provokes curiosity while it also had the slogan on, “World of champions”. They urge readers and “welcome them to the next
level”. It was a metaphor used to urge readers to use HD PVR Decoder for better and quality television pictures.

The Scorpion Legal Protection advertisement urged the consumers to take action by enlisting their legal services from as little as R39. Clients were also provided with an sms number for further clarity.

A classic example of the use of brand name in the advertisement was visible in the Peugeot promotion. It was repeated with words and pictorially with the logo emblazoned.

The research design is both qualitative and quantitative.

9.1Qualitative design
The design is relevant as the study will identify and examine various creative concepts used on eight selected advertisements. Effectively this also serves to examine elements that distinguished various advertised products from those of their competitors. Creative concepts remain fundamental muscle of each advertisement.

The critical aspect in this regard is the fact that the design is all about analysing content from, among others, pictures, texts, messages used from selected advertisements for the purpose of the study.

The study will go further to analyse data by comparing findings from all identified advertisements. The researcher will look at the similarities and differences spotted on the selected advertisements.

The comparative analysis comes as a result of explanations of similarities and differences found in eight selected advertisements which prompt the study. This, after having realised how various advertisers use creative concepts in getting messages across.

9.2Quantitative design
The researcher will count the number of creative concepts applied in each an every single advertisement selected. The figures will be presented on the tally sheet.

The tally sheet will show in detail which advertisement that has used many creative concepts compared to others. However, we cannot make a claim directly that there was a common and obvious creative concept appearing most often or less often in any advertisement.

9.3Inductive reasoning
This was applicable as the researcher has interpreted the collected data for the study. For example, the use of certain colours such pink and purpose would best be aligned with femininity. This was the reason why Playtex has resorted to these colours for their advertisement.

9.4Deductive reasoning
The researcher looks on how general assumptions related to the advertisement messages are applied. For instance, creative concepts remain the lifeblood of each an every advertisement.

9.5Methods and techniques to collect qualitative data
The researcher will read and look intently on how advertisements are crafted. How the graphics, pictures, headline texts and words, among others, are put together in building creative concepts and eventually producing the advertisements.

We get to understand the meaning even though connotative and denotative messages are delivered to draw the attention of the readers. One had to understand the style and language used and its relevance to the advertisement.

The researcher looks on how certain colour codes are applied to ensure certain advertisements live to the theme of the promoters.

9.6Methods and techniques to collect quantitative data
Content analyses of various advertisements as well as inferential statistics of the number of creative concepts used were fundamental in this regard.

As outlined earlier, the outcomes to this fact had been presented in the tally sheet as appeared in the data analysis section.


Barker, R & Angelopulo, G. 2009. Integrated Organisational Communication. Cape Town: Juta. Du Plooy, T. 2001. Communication research. Only study guide for COM306D. Pretoria: University of South Africa. Du Plooy, GM. 2009. Communication research: Techniques, methods and applications. Cape Town: Juta. Fourie, PJ (ed). 2009. Media Studies Volume 3: Media content and media audiences. Cape Town: Juta. Johnson’s African Nurture advertisement. 2012a. Real, August: 2. Johnson’s African Nurture advertisement. 2012b. Real, August: 47. Koekemoer, L (ed). 2005. Marketing Communications. Cape Town: Juta. Peugeot advertisement. 2012. KickOff, August: 5.

Pond’s advertisement. 2012. Real, August: 51.
Reid, J & Van Heerden, M (eds). 2009. Media studies: media content and media audiences. Only study guide for COM303A. Pretoria: University of South Africa. Scorpion Legal Protection advertisement. 2012. KickOff, August: 22. SuperSport advertisement. 2012. KickOff, August: 83.

Toyota advertisement. 2012. Real, August: 111.
University of South Africa. 2012. Department of Communication Science. CMNALLE. Important guidelines and Information regarding your studies: University of South Africa. University of South Africa. 2012. Department of Communication Science. Communication Research. Tutorial Letter 101/2012:
Semesters 1 and 2: University of South Africa. University of South Africa. 2012. Department of Communication Science. Communication Research. Tutorial Letter 102/2012: Semesters 1 and 2: University of South Africa. University of South Africa. 2012. Department of Communication Science. Communication Research. Tutorial Letter 103/2012: Semesters 1 and 2: University of South Africa. Van Rensburg, GH. 2010. Research in the social sciences. Only study guide for RSC2601. Pretoria: University of South Africa. Vaseline advertisement. 2012. KickOff, August: 17.


The researcher has learnt about effective techniques of how to collect research data, analyse and interpret for both the research proposal and the final study. One has also been able to identify and solve research problems.

Important skills earned from the study were to understand how advertisements can use more than one creative concept to convey the message to the users. The concepts used completed each other and pointed out to different angles of the final output. It goes without saying that one has managed and was able to interpret print advertisements accurately.

To get to understand subproblems and underlying assumptions in the research study and how to formulate relevant research questions.

In addition to that, the researcher is now able to craft relevant research designs that are appropriate for investigating the main research problem.

A notable shortcoming of the study was that it could not address all the problems identified as the advertisements were already been printed. But could only make certain inputs. Due to the changes in the market, researchers were prompted to always come with the ways and ideas of overcoming these challenges and gauging the emotions of consumers.

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