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What is being advertised?

Sometimes this isn’t always obvious. On TV, product placement rules mean that, usually, the only brand name you see in the advertisement is the one being advertised. Advertisements on paper can sometimes be a little confusing, however. Often the copywriters (who write the advertisement) intentionally make an advertisement a little quirky to try to get the reader thinking. This is a double-edged sword though - if the reader spends the time to work it out, the advertisement works because it has got them thinking. However, it can also put someone off if they can’t ‘get’ it straightaway with a minimum of thought.

There’s a Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s girlfriend is showing him a full-page advertisement with her in it in a magazine. She points to a chair in the background with a pair of jeans slung over it - this is what the advertisement is for. They are so hard to see that Jerry has to squint. This is the case for some advertising - the first thing that you see won’t always be what is being advertised.