The media is everywhere. In your homes, in schools, in the workplace. It is very powerful in its influence. It can change peoples' lives and affect the way they think. The media is very versatile. It can be used for several purposes, from explaining things to persuading you to give money to charity or vote for a certain political party. In this essay I will compare two different media texts. They are both persuasive leaflets: the first trying to get you to chose to rent a McCarthy & Stone retirement apartment, the second is advertising hiking holidays in Ireland.
The former of these leaflets came through my letterbox, and is aimed at retired pensioners. The latter, I got from a travel agency. It is aimed at 18-30 year old trekkers. I don't think one would find these leaflets anywhere else because they are very specific in both their aim and their target audience.
A company called McCarthy & Stone, who rent out retirement apartments to the retired and elderly, made the first leaflet. Its purpose is a persuasive advert. It has a green, black and white colour scheme, with plain modern font and important information in bold. It is laid out on an A5 sheet that isn't folded or perforated. It has a picture, a map, and where there is a piece of important information, it is boxed out in red or green. It contains a quote from a customer, in which the lady (Mrs. Griffiths) talks about how cheap it is to heat the apartments:
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"It's very reassuring to know you can keep your home comfortable all the time without the worry of facing a sudden big bill."
There are also contact details, such as an address and a telephone number, and there is a website address on the header at the top. There is a logo underneath the header with the words "McCarthy & Stone" written in a semicircle above a silhouette of two people who look slightly aged. Directly underneath this, there is a slogan that reads:
"The natural choice for a happy retirement."
This could be quite effective because the target audience would be people generally over sixty-five, and stereotypically, older people like to be cosy, maybe more so than younger people. About two fifths of the way down the page, there is a very large sized banner that simply says "Warm and Cosy". This would appeal to the target audience for the same reasons as the slogan.
The picture at the bottom of this page is very clever in its composition: regardless of where your eye falls, it will instantly be lead around the entire photograph. On top of that, all the furniture in the picture is arranged to make the room look bigger than it is. To enhance this effect, the furniture in the centre of the room is very thin legged and spindly with darker colour, and the furniture around the outside is quite bulky, but brightly coloured. All the colours used in the photograph are quite soft, natural colours suck as browns, yellows and reds. The walls are painted a very neutral beige colour, which allows the viewer to picture how the room would look if they lived there far easier. This photograph could almost be used to sell any kind of accommodation or furniture, yet works particularly well here because it portrays a very tranquil setting.
The language is interesting in that it uses both formal and informal language, depending on what the company is trying to say. This could be very effective, but in this case it is poorly edited and sends out a very confused message. It uses quite a lot of persuasive vocabulary, and involves the audience very well, but still insufficiently. It concentrates a lot on a story about an old woman who has one of these homes. In honesty, no reader wants to read about the success this company achieved for another person - at least not to this extent. There are a couple of examples of superlative language, such as "highest" and "latest". One of my favourite pieces of language in this leaflet is an oxymoron that reads:
"It all adds up to costing you less"
This short sentence is very clever, because it is just ludicrous enough to get the reader to stop and think about what they are reading.
I think this would be quite successful in its aim, largely because its target audience is so limited, and it is easier to appeal to a fifteen-year age range that, for example, a forty-five year age range. The informal language would appeal, stereotypically, to the 'lower-class' type person, and the formal would appeal, again stereotypically, to the 'upper-class' range.
The second leaflet is advertising trekking holidays in Ireland, under the company name 'Shamrocker', carrying the slogan:
"World famous adventures for backpackers."
Its purpose is to advertise.
The layout is quite different from the first leaflet; it is much less structured (i.e. it doesn't look at first glance as if it has been aligned to a grid) whereas the first leaflet looks very square. However the colour scheme is similar, including lots of green and dark blue (like the black on the first leaflet). It is presented on double-sided A4 thick paper, which like the first leaflet is unfolded and imperforated. There are many images, including CGIs, maps and photographs. The font of the writing varies quite severely - there are seventeen different styles of writing in total. There are segments of writing enclosed in boxes to highlight information that the company wants you to see first. There are, like the first leaflet but more detailed, contact details, including email, telephone number, website and company address.
There are about three photographs on this leaflet, but they are all quite small. However, they are clear enough, and all have a similar theme - a group of people looking happy, either in front of a rock or an Irish road sign. On the front, the top quarter of the page is taken up by the words "The Shamrocker Ireland: Live the legend". Underneath this, there is a photograph of a man in front of what appears to be a large grave headstone. The back is mostly blocks of writing, laid out in blocks under headings such as "Our Mission", and then descriptions of different holidays the company offers. The lower eighth is the small print.
The language used is very informal, persuasive and superlative, but it is in my opinion slightly boring. It involves the audience well, but there isn't much to say for this leaflet when it comes to language.
This leaflet would be very successful towards its target audience (which is stated in the small print, and is "17 - 35 year olds") but wouldn't get much interest for younger or older people because as they are trekking holidays, people over this age group may be physically unable to participate, and people under this age range may not be interested in walking for six days, just for the sake of walking, with no 'prize' or incentive. The informal style would appeal to the target audience.
In this essay, I have compared two different leaflets, both advertising. They both would, in theory, be very effective at achieving their goals. I believe that the companies chose the leaflet as their selected form of media because it can reach many people; they are cheap to produce in mass and are effective at getting their message across.
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