What is it that appeals to us in advertising? We like to think the answer is…nothing.
Not true. When we don’t feel pitched to, we respond with positive feelings towards advertising.
Righters of Roadside Wrongs
AAA has a new membership recruitment program that includes the following taglines:
- Righters of roadside wrongs
- Defenders of distressed drivers
- Sworn enemies of stalled engines
Accompanying the lines (which I first saw on a Metro bus) are images of beer-bellied superheroes. There are a few things that appeal here.
- The alliteration in the lines
- The overblown importance of the role depicted
- The images of superheroes as regular guys or vice versa
Alliteration, the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words, appeals to our auditory sense of balance and harmony. It makes things very easy to remember. Mnemonics often use alliteration. Our ears have fun with these sounds and the semblance of order they evoke.
A sworn enemy is a very serious thing. But of course, the subject of the ad campaign is not terribly serious. Yes, we love having someone get us out of a jam but most of the time, it’s jumping a battery or changing a tire. The inflated importance suggested in the ad makes us smile, perhaps even chuckle. Anytime an advertiser can make us smile or laugh, they disarm our natural suspicion about them and we’re more open to the pitch.
Occasionally, the men and women who show up for AAA are daily heroes. At least it feels that way when you’re on the receiving end of a rescue. In the image above, we see someone who could not be more ordinary. An ample waistline protrudes beneath his muscular arms. His stance implies, “Here and no further.” It’s a defenders stance. And finally, his international-orange highway vest streams out behind him like a cape.
It’s a very clever bit of composition altogether. The words and images capture in shorthand a message that we understand immediately and makes us smile. This is very, very difficult to do. Its simplicity belies the effort behind the campaign.
Undoubtedly the taglines preceded the images but the writers may have had concept images in mind (a virtual certainty). As a writer, I have a great appreciation for this effort.