Psychological Analysis of Lay’s Advertisements

Last Updated: 17 Aug 2022
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Happiness is contagious. According to Dr. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, happiness has a contagious effect on people. (Park, 2008) These Harvard social scientists announced that ”emotions can pass among a network of people up to three degrees of separation away. ” (Park, 2008) This proves the claim that happiness is contagious. Because of that, happiness becomes a common them in marketing. Incorporating happiness in selling and promoting products helps in securing the product's success. This is because people are more attracted to positive and happy things rather than the gloomy and lonely.

Positive mood induces happiness, that is according to the. According to George Ortega, “Happiness is commonly understood to be a fundamental goal in life.” (Ortega, 2009) To prove this he adds that respondents in England confess that happiness is the most essential element to achieve a quality life. (Ortega, 2009) The marketers make it a point to specifically discover the desires of the consumers. Happiness draws people's interests; that is why many advertisements today use happiness as their selling theme. Ortega explains saying that:

“A more extensive and authoritative body of happiness increase experiments would likely encourage businesses to take notice and offer happiness increase instruction as a product, in a manner similar to how health spas offer fitness as a product, and government to use published methodologies as blueprints by which to develop happiness increase courses for school curriculum.“ (Ortega, 2009) Lay's, America's iconic potato chips brand is one of the many products that incorporate happiness in their marketing endeavors.

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This paper aims to analyze two Lay's Classic potato chips advertisements using psychologic analysis technique. I will analyze a print advertisement and a TV commercial dubbed as 'Odd Man Out'; both advertisements are released under new Lay's Classic potato chips campaign “Happiness is Simple.”

First, I will refer to the models/endorsers of both print and TV commercial and also make an in depth analysis of the emotions conveyed by the models. The Lay's print advertisement that I will analyze features a young girl on the field munching a bag of Lay's potato chips.

The product endorser should represent the product's image and since Lay's new campaign focuses on simple happiness, they have chosen a healthy, happy, young girl to endorse the product. In 2007, Associated Press and MTV conducted a study on young people's happiness and the findings show that young people nowadays are generally very happy. (mtv. com) Children are also claimed to be happier than adults because their sphere of concern is narrow compared to adults. The product wants to project a happy image, thus, hiring a young person to endorse their company is fitting.

Happiness in the print ad is shown by the girl's happy countenance. Laughter is associated with happiness. The girl in the print ad is shown laughing with her eyes closed and her nose crinkled while she eats Lay's. The print ad suggest that anyone can be as happy as the child just by doing what she does in the picture-eating Lay's potato chips. The 'Odd Man Out' TV commercial, however, features an endorser that is quite opposite of the print. The TV Commercial features an office worker who feels lonely because he is isolated from his colleagues.

He feels aloof because all of his colleagues seem to have something in common-happiness. Then he discovers that his colleagues share the same source of happiness with a bag of Lay's Classic potato chips. The moment he ate Lay's, he transforms to a balloon just like his colleagues. (fritolay. com) Happiness is emphasized in the commercial by contrasting it with boredom, loneliness, and aloofness. It is easy to determine that the commercial targets the professionals and suggesting that they can find 'simple happiness' in the workplace by eating Lay's. The commercial uses an adult man to represent employees who are unhappy at work.

As mentioned before, many claims that children are happier than adults because they have less worries. Hence, to use adult man to endorse the product suggests that adults can relieve their worries by consuming potato chips that offer simple happiness. Both Lay's Classic potato chips advertisement features people of great health and size. Taking notice of the endorsers, one can see that the girl in the print ad is thin. This is because the product targets all possible consumers particularly health wise and diet-conscious people. What appeals to these health conscious people? Of course, natural food is certainly listed in their preferences.

Since Lay's claims that their potato chips is made up of only three natural ingredients: potato, all natural oil, and a dash of salt, the said consumer will see Lay's as a safe and healthy snack choice. (fritolay. com) The TV commercial also features a man of average weight. This strategy aims to convince the people that unlike other chips, Lay's Classic will not make you fat or overweight. Secondly, I will refer to the location of the advertisements. The print ad is shot in a playground near the field. In the picture we can see that the girl is seated on a swing and at the background is a green, grassy field.

The green grass field represents nature. Lay's Classic potato chips claim that the product is natural. Hence, the grass field indicates the being natural of Lay's. The TV commercial is set in an office. For some people, the office is one of the sources of their boredom. Boredom is seen as a counterpart of happiness. Hence, the commercial is set in the office to show the 'boredom vs. happiness' theme. Happiness is highlighted in the TV ad with the appearance of the product. We can see from the commercial that only one employee is caught in boredom because he did discover Lay's potato chips.

'Odd Man Out' commercial demonstrates that no even when you are caught up in an undesirable situation, happiness will come to you with just a bag of Lay's. Thirdly, I will analyze the props or the things present in the commercials. I will start with the props used in the print ad. Although the main indicator of 'happiness' in the print ad is the happy girl, the swing that the girl is seated to also represents the emotion. Swings are commonly found in playgrounds and children play in it. The playground is where children who laugh, smile, and have fun meet. Therefore, the swing indicates as another source of happiness aside from eating Lay's.

It also shows that playing in the playground will be more fun if spent gobbling on Lay's. The TV commercial, however, uses the props of blow-up, inflatable balloons to serve as a cast of other employees. (fritolay. com) The commercial could use other props to serve as supporting characters on the ad but the blow up inflatable balloons has an utter significance in getting the advertisement's message across. Balloons are often found in certain celebrations and events. Hence, the balloons symbolize felicity. One property of balloons that could be linked to happiness is that it is lightweight.

In the commercial, the balloon characters bounce and sway demonstrating how light and relaxed these employees are. The bored man, however, walks in sure steps and slow pace. Boredom is related to sluggishness and these may cause a person to move heavily. The idiom 'cloud nine' that refers to a person who is very happy for something great has happened. It is noticeable in this idiom that people connect happiness with the feeling of lightheartedness because of the 'clouds'. Hence, the balloon character in the commercial indicates that they are happier because they regularly consume Lay's Classic potato chips.

Thirdly, I will analyze the use of colors in both print and TV advertisement of Lay's potato chips. As mentioned earlier, the print advertisement features a smiling girl with a green field in the background. The use of the field is intended to convince the consumers that Lay's is made from all natural ingredients, specifically potatoes, salt, and a dash of salt. (fritolay. com) The color of the field helps in convincing the consumers about the product ‘naturalness’ by looking at the print advertisement. According to psychologists, color green symbolizes 'nature and the natural world.

(Cherry, 2010) Green also symbolizes health. Since green is a color that is associated with health, it is used by the advertisement so that the color will be associated with their product. To some people, being healthy is a source of happiness. Hence, the color green convinces consumers that Lay’s Classic potato chip is the best choice because of its aids people to be healthy and happy as well. Yellow is what the label is generally consisted of. The Lay's Classic Potato Chips label is consisted of three colors, white, red, and yellow. Yellow is the color that covers most part of the label. According to psychology.

about. com, warm colors such as red and yellow educe feelings of warmth and comfort. (Cherry, 2010) Hence, the colors of the Lay’s label attempts to hold true to their claim of bringing simple happiness with their use of cheery and warm colors. In addition, I will also analyze the use of music in the commercial. According to Andrea McCullough of Missouri Western State College, listening to music has great benefits on people. She states that music is useful in coping up with negative emotions and conditions like apathy, sadness, and stress. It is a tool that can help people unwind and relax.

(McCullough, 1997) With this, one can infer that music has the quality of inducing happiness. In the Lay’s TV commercial, the melody of the song is cheerful but at the same time relaxed. The commercial wants to show that a person can find a simple happiness in a bag of Lay’s. The music used in the commercial is simple, laidback, and happy. Hence, the music supports the ‘simple happiness’ message of the commercial. McCullough also adds that music is now often used in the commercial setting. She says that there is a positive connection between liking the music and liking the situation or place.

McCullough adds that the more a person likes the music, the more she/he wants to return to that place/situation. (McCullough 1997) Hence, if people like the music of the commercial, chances are they will like to watch it again. The more they are exposed to the commercial, the more retention the product will gain. The music in the commercial vibrates a positive sound and McCullough insists that the less complex the music sounds, the more people will like it. The lyrics of the song are also a determinant in the success of the commercial. McCullough states that the lyrics hold more relevance to people when it is sung rather than read.

(McCullough 1997) The lyric of the song sings a positive message as well, “When the sun comes out from the rain clouds, I know it's going to be better, Climb a ladder up to the top of the world, we’ll do it together… We’re the lucky ones.” The positive attributes of the music in the commercial is found in the melody and lyrics. But the tempo of the music also contributes to the positive vibe of the commercial. A study conducted by Mayfield and Moss (1989) states that the slower heartbeat music tends to calm the participants, while the music that has a faster tempo tends to act as a stressor.

(McCullough 1997) Aside from that, Therefore, the moderate pace of the Lay’s commercial has a calming effect on people, adding up in establishing the ‘happiness’ theme. In conclusion, I used psychological analysis technique to analyze two Lay’s Classic potato chips commercial which included the model of the commercials, the conveyed emotions of the models, the location or setting of the advertisement, the props or things used, the colors, and the music used in the TV commercial. The print advertisement uses a young girl to endorse the product while the TV commercial uses an adult man to refer to the target audience.

The emotions they conveyed also appeals to the ‘happiness’ image of the product. The location of both print and TV ad also contributes in highlighting the message of the commercial. Also, the colors used in the ads helps induce positive feelings from the target audience. Music, on the one hand, plays a big role in referring to the target audience’s mood. The slow paced yet cheery music makes the audience feel relaxed and cheerful at the same time. The lyrics of the music also speak of the positivity of the product.

All in all, the character, the conveyed emotion, setting, colors, and music increase positive impression of Lay’s Classic potato chips commercial.

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Psychological Analysis of Lay’s Advertisements. (2018, Jan 29). Retrieved from

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