Essay, Research Paper: Nike Ads


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While I was flipping through the pages of “Maxim” magazine looking at the
gorgeous women and laughing at the funny captions, I stumbled upon an
advertisement that made me laugh out loud. It is a series of four pages, two
facing each other, and then two more layed out in the same way. The first set of
two pages has a hot dog on the left page and the Nike Air Flight Posite on the
next. It’s not fancy, nor does it have beautiful women on it, it just says in
bold white print, “Made of many hard to define things”. I kind of chuckled
at this, not quite laughing out loud yet. What made me laugh out loud was what
was on the next two pages in the magazine. On the left hand page there is a blow
up doll still wrapped in the plastic it was purchased in, and on the right is
the Nike air tuned max. In bold white letters across both of them it says,
“Air is what makes it good”. I nearly fell of my chair I was laughing so
hard. Even though this ad is very simple, it is very complicated. It is located
in the very front of the magazine. This is important because it sets the mood
for the whole magazine. This ad is very funny, so when the reader sees it, he is
in a good mood for the rest of the pages. Maxim magazine is directed primarily
towards men, ages 17 to about 30. This ad is obviously directed towards that age
and sex group. The hot dog appeals to the younger generation because recently
the Food and Drug Administration has been doing many studies about food. With
the new way of thinking and as many health regimes as television stations on a
satellite dish, people want to know what’s in their food. Nobody knows
what’s in hot dogs. I’m sure the F.D.A. did a study on what’s in hot dogs,
but does anyone really want to know? By the same token, the Nike shoe pictured
on the right side of the page is made of many hard to define things, but if it
works well, or in the hot dog’s case, tastes good, then who cares? The shoe
pictured in the right of the first page is very futuristic looking as well. No
one over the age of 25 would buy a shoe that looks like this. On the top of the
shoe, there is a solid black fabric that stretches almost to the toe. It looks
like there is Velcro where the laces should be as well. Under the black fabric,
there is a gold plastic piece that flows in and out of the black fabric. Towards
the back of the bottom of the shoe, there is a clear plastic air bubble that
acts as a support for playing basketball, or other sports. So there is no way
that anyone under the age of 25 would buy this shoe. There is a space-age look
to the flight posite shoe. This is why it’s hard to define what’s in it like
a hot dog. The space shuttle is made of many hard to define things as well. We
are always hearing about new, “space-age material” I think that is the
second point the advertisers are trying to get across. The second set of two
pages is by far the funniest advertisement I’ve ever seen. It appeals to the
younger generation of men because these men all know what blow up doll is. If
you showed this ad to a man in his late 50’s he wouldn’t find it funny, and
probably think it was disgraceful that magazines have fell to the level of
pornography. The man in his 20’s however, would think it is hilarious. Once
again the shoe pictured next to the blow up doll is futuristic looking. Not to
the degree the previous shoe was, but the Nike Air Tuned Max is definitely not
an average shoe. Its colors are gold and blue, and the patterns on the shoe are
very streamlined, they flow to the back of the shoe. It looks like if you were
to run in these shoes you would be faster. At the bottom of the shoe there are
many air pockets that are in a yellow plastic. This is what the ad is referring
to by saying, “Air is what makes it good”. The main thing that makes these
advertisements work is humor. There is a little touch of sex appeal with the
blow up doll, but it is not the main concentration. The main theme is simplicity
and humor. The only things in the advertisement are a shoe, large white words,
and an object. The way in which they are set up is the important part, that’s
what makes the ad so funny. The other important thing is Maxim magazine’s
target audience. If this ad was in any woman’s magazine, or a “country home
and garden” kind of magazine, it would do horribly and a lawsuit about
women’s rights might ensue. All in all, this ad works because it’s funny,
simple, easy to understand, and is directed towards the right target audience.
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