multiplicity fragmentation instability of meaning dissensus Essay

multiplicity, fragmentation, instability of meaning, dis-sensus, the breakdown of grand theories as either narratives of emancipation or speculation (Waugh 49).

Advertising, being an art of message delivery and systematic persuasion, uses wide rage captivating visual and verbal artifacts. In effect, as it longs to subtly influence behaviors/attitudes in favor of a given product, idea or service, it is ideally founded on techniques of creating strong mental imageries, positive images of the product in the mind of the consumer. The use of attractive and motivational images and “picture words”, is therefore cardinal in any advertising effort since the act of integrating visual content in any form of marketing campaigns permits the differentiation of a business or product from the rest in competition.

Such a fruitful approach also gives viewers and potential consumers a quick view of a brand’s main points, while drawing them into a complex and bigger conversation (Eave, Akabogu 49; Wang and Chou; Rossiter 102). Individual consumers are often surrounded and even overwhelmed by a myriad of ubiquitous information and there is need for a system which permits rapid and very efficient encoding and decoding of complex information.

Herein come visuals which stand a great chance to enable consumers to have such complex information at a glance. Eaves insightfully observes that visuals have the advantage of engaging viewers almost instantly and the impression they (visuals) leave in the mind of the consumers lasts longer than mere words. In line with this visuals are vital or most often indispensable to package design – the same as they are to other medium of advertising communication. Sometimes, they are even more important than text. Eaves aptly justifies this fact with the manner in which the human brain is wired. He notes that: “processing print isn’t something the human brain was built for. The printed word is a human artifact. It’s very convenient and it’s worked very well for us for 5,000 years, but it’s an invention of human beings. By contrast, Mother Nature has built into our brain our ability to see the visual world and interpret it”.

This therefore means that the innate ability by man to process visual information is what motivates him to preferably choose content with photos or videos over plain text articles. However, for visuals to have greater impact on the human mind, a wide range of approaches are to be adopted by designers. The implementation of visuals in advertising messages greatly depends on the nature of each media used for the purpose (to advertize). Each media has its distinctive characteristics which warrant situational and intelligent implementation and evaluations of visuals. With close reference to semiotics, Messaris corroborates this fact thus: “

It is impossible to analyze (semiotically), to evaluate (structurally), and to discuss (contextually) film and television images that, unlike paintings, photographs, slides, and so forth, are in motion, incorporate sound, and are generated by distinctly different visual communication media, furnished by and operated with unique to their own idiosyncratic nature, instruments, materials, and techniques. Perceptually, cognitively, and compositionally the images produced by the various visual communications media (such as film, video, holograms, and computer-generated images) differ substantially. They are perceived, recognized, and composed differently.

Generally, a number of careful approaches or techniques must be observed in visual implementation in advertising messages, irrespective of the medium employed. Some of these techniques include the use of (i) realistic (concrete) visuals, (ii) interactive visuals (particularly in audio-visual media), (iii) colour images, and (iv) high imagery visuals. It has been demonstrated that realistic and concrete visuals are relatively superior for learning as well as for attracting and holding the attention of consumers for many reasons. Two of these reasons are that “ first, people can “relate” to realistic depictions better than to abstract ones, which is in turn probably a function of their imagery value regardless of their specific content. Second, following dual-coding theory, people can more easily attach a verbal label to realistic visual material. Older children and adults automatically assign verbal labels to all but the most complex and novel pictorial stimuli and thus double-code these stimuli” (Wnag and Chou; Rossiter 104). Similarly, interactive visuals successfully relate products to usage context on one hand and to users on another hand. In line with this, they show users relating with the product or the product in action in the usage context. Such is principally achieved in audio-visual advertising. Another important approach is to preferably use colour visual rather than black and white as research has demonstrated that colour images have potential of triggering emotional motivation (Kaszubowski 61-62; Coles, Derek and Kirwan). However, black and white visual may still be sufficient for information provision. Kaszubowski (63) insightfully notes that:

Advertising professionals have always known that different colours can evoke different emotions and feelings when used on certain packages; they only needed some solid evidence to support these theories. … [package studies have shown] that large color changes to an existing package can increase the likelihood that new customers will consider the product for purchase. However, the package colour must be consistent with the brand’s original identity.

Particularly in print advertising, priority should be given to the size and position of the visual. Larger visuals tend to attract more attention than smaller ones. The visual should also be placed in the copy or on the package in a way as to be seen before the headline or before the textual elements of the copy are read. This again may be achieved by magnifying the size of the visuals. Prioritizing the visual is strategic as it encourages a picture-word, rather than a word-picture learning context, which is fruitful in learning and is very much in line with theories which stipulate that the more people view the visual content of a message, the higher the chances are of such viewers, buying the product on promotion or obtaining the advertised services.

The effective implementation of visuals in print advertising and package design also places emphasis on holding rather than just getting the attention of potential consumers. This will enable the recognition and recall of pictorial stimuli to be higher, that is from 2 to 2.6 seconds. Attention-holding is very important for evaluative response to advertising message. Attention-holding also implies the use of familiar and relevant stimuli, though research in psychology has equally demonstrated that novelty has great potential to catch the attention of viewers and potential consumers. This has represented a kind of dilemma in advertising message construction as designers are most often confronted with the need to combine to somewhat contradictory elements (the familiar and the novel) in the design of their advertising copies or product package.

One solid instrument responsible for effective differentiation of a mobile telephone product from other brands in competition is the visual content. Mobile telephone advertisement designers always find the necessity to give the viewer or potential buyer a visual image of the product, in guise of ‘’appetizer’’ and bait.

The main aim of advertizing is to boost sales and turnover (Akanbi & Adeyeyi). To achieve this, the advertisers brings a combination of colours, sounds and image manipulation, demonstrating to the society, according to Sybil and Thelma, why products in question is a “ must patronize “. Nothing is left undone in the bid to influence customers’ choice and behavior (Adekoya 4).

Colours, therefore, play a major role in visual manipulation of images. Colour is a key determinant of effective mobile telephone advertisement design. In effect, colour greatly influenced consumers’ perception of the product. Some studies have demonstrated that a good number of consumers often associate (bright) colour(s) with freshness, quality and taste (Wang and Chou; Rossiter). So, through a good choice of colour, a designer may “give life” to his package and entice consumers. However the designer is always faced with a multiplicity of challenges related to the varying and dynamic meaning of colours with respect to time and cultures as well as to the adverse effects an aberrant decoding these colours may have on the perception and commercialization of the product. Indeed, in advertising, different colors can evoke concurrent feelings and emotions in consumers or potential buyers’ mind. Kaszubowski reviews that in different countries and cultures, colors often have many different meanings, “Just one colouur blunder could turn an entire country away from a specific product. A culture’s distaste for a particular product due to its package can also lead to the consumer’s dissatisfaction with the company itself” (62),. Colour meanings are equally very dynamic as they change with time. In effect, years ago, the green color was relatively associated with unpleasant images such as vomit meanwhile, today, the meaning seems to have positively changed as green is now seen as the colour of nature, life, healthiness, fertility and abundance The black colour has similarly witnessed a fluctuation in its meaning over time. In effect, years ago, the black color used to be related to death, depression and sadness. Today, black is used by many designers to convey a sense of elegance, wealth, and refinement. Designers equally use the yellow colour to characterize its lemon flavor, and also incorporate black into the label to signify elegance. Colour use in advertisement design is therefore supposed to be done according to laid down patterns or established harmonies.

Relatively new trends in design have favoured a number of post-modernist approaches to the use of color, notably color blocking/blogging and a whole lot of other uncontrollable “artistic” innovations. Colour blogging is an approach consisting in using colours more expressively, in total disregard to traditional colour “rules” and harmonies. In line with such a post-modernist current, color implementation by a number of package designers is in a way as to “violate” or deconstruct traditional colour codes. In Esekong’s words, the phenomenon cuts across various aspects/domains of design: “artist and designers seem to be breaking color barriers more than ever by using several ‘loud’, bright and unrelated color” on packages (149). In the visual fields, colour blocking is believed by a number of observers to have potentials of creating desired effects. However, relatively little attention has been given to the effects such an art of colour usage may have in print and images of audio visual advertisements.

Music remains one of the most commonly deployed subliminal tools. Musical notes are manipulated in a manner where some words are stressed, rhythm, exaggerated and beats given intense flow. All these are combined to help the retaining

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