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Essay on Analyzing the Construction of Television Advertisements

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Analyzing the Construction of Television Advertisements


For my research project, I chose to research television commercials on the United Paramount Network, more commonly known as UPN, which is channel 13 in my area. I chose this station for two main reasons. Firstly, UPN is currently in trouble, both financially, and programming-wise. The reason is related to its wandering demographic focus during primetime, because of the wide ranging variety of shows it airs. UPN’s current lineup is geared on different nights toward market segments. On Monday’s, its lineup consists primarily of African-American sitcoms, Tuesdays, towards African-American women, science fiction fans with “Enterprise,” and related shows are on Wednesdays, young men with “WWE Smackdown,” on Thursdays, and a demographic that can change by the week with its Friday movie. Therefore, it lacks a cohesive, loyal audience base on any given night, and has difficulty luring advertisers. The second reason I chose UPN is because it is a station I hardly ever watch, in fact, I do not recall the last time there was anything of interest to me on the station. Prior to working on this project, I had no real picture of the types of television shows, or commercials aired on the network.

Unlike the major networks such as ABC, NBC or CBS, the UPN does not have any daytime soap operas such as “All My Children” or “Young And The Restless.” Instead, I felt it had something that would be a suitable substitute, the “Montel Williams” show, which airs weekdays from 11 am to noon. After watching for just a short time, it was clear that the “Montel Williams” show is geared toward stay at home mothers. The show deals with topics ranging from family problems, and dealing with...


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... why they were using either a male or female model, and why that model was of a particular race or ethnic background. These are metamessages, which, according to Bem, are transmitted from childhood on. People simply become accustomed to seeing certain things being performed by men, and other things by women. I would be included in this category. Prior to working on this project, I had never really paid attention to details in commercials. I simply viewed them as advertisements, but didn’t understand their construction. When advertisers are marketing a product or service to a particular group of people, they use models and images that the target group can most closely identify with and feel comfortable about, regardless of whether it resembles reality or not. Analyzing six hours of television really has made me see advertising and marketing in a whole new way.


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