Unit Two Concepts

Advertising methods are constantly changing, trying to find the most effective way to persuade consumers in the least amount of time (viewers often only focus on an ad for a matter of seconds).  Most video commercials have been shortened from half of a minute to just fifteen seconds, and traditional ads (such as billboards and posters) have more competition and less interest, forcing advertisers to convey their messages concisely and effectively.

One of the most unique approaches in adapting to a decreased attention span was a series of one-second advertisements run during the 2009 Superbowl.  These short clips, ads for Miller High Life beer, were meant to catch viewers’ attention and show them the Miller brand in as little time as possible.  The ads were, by necessity, extremely simple.  They featured a Miller employee in front of cases of beer (with the Miller logo prominently displayed) who shouted a quick phrase before the ad ended, such as “Beer’s here!” or “High Life.”  The campaign allowed the company to save on airtime while still effectively marketing its product.


Recently, shock advertising has also increased in popularity.  Hoping to grab attention and generate interest, shock ads often push boundaries and frequently cross the line.  Some of the most effective campaigns utilizing this tactic have been run by Amnesty International, a group seeking to protect human rights across the globe.  They use startling images, apparent contradictions, and irony to convey powerful messages about issues regarding violence and injustice.  Likely the most persuasive of these campaigns for viewers was a series emphasizing ignorance as the greatest obstacle to change.  They feature an act of cruelty in the midst of a large crowd, every member of which has literally turned his or her back on the victim.  It is a striking representation of the power that lies with those in the crowd, and a very convincing argument that viewers must act.


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  11. Margaret Muench

    I think both ads make great topics. But I must say, I like the second one better. I think it has a lot more in it to analyze and is extremely important for people to think about.

  12. I think just because of it’s nature, the second ad would provide a lot for you to say in an essay. The first uses humor and would be more light hearted, though, if you were looking to get away from more serious topics. Both good ideas!

  13. Both of these sound like great ideas. The Miller High life ads seem to be just as effective as a normal 15 or 30 second ad, yet they are much cheaper to make and air. This proves that ads do not have to be expensive or complex to get the viewers’ attention. The second ad campaign seems very compelling and you could do a great analysis of this.

  14. Interesting post. While both ideas are very effective for their purpose the second topic by Amnesty International seems to have many more rhetorical aspects to explore. It is a very compelling ad to me, and it would be interesting to hear all of the arguments presented in it.

  15. I definitely like the second idea more. I believe that you could build a strong paper around these shock advertisements. The one second commercials are very compelling but I think you may struggle to write an entire paper on them.

  16. The second ad by Amnesty International is incredibly powerful. It really reveals a lot about human nature as a whole, the idea that we ignore what is happening around us because we believe that someone else will take care of the problem. I think you could do a lot with the rhetoric in that campaign. The beer commercial could also work, but there are a lot fewer undertones to analyze in that ad as opposed to the second one.

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