A picture may be mute but it could convey a thousand things.. and this was proved right when I saw a couple of print advertisements on a website.
It is not the picture alone but also the text (headline, subhead, body copy) which appears alongside that make it relevant. One may argue about the importance of each and debate as to which precedes over the other – whether it is the picture or is the text? One needs to keep in mind that both are to some extent bound by the appeal which the advertisement seeks to generate!
But nevertheless, both these aspects contribute in their own way. A picture in an advertisement could convey several messages. In the absence of the text, this could lead to some amount of confusion. The presence of the text provides the framework within which the message is to be interpreted as is evident in the adjacent Times of India print advertisement. It also guides the viewer or the reader of the advertisement on how to make sense of the message which the conceiver of the message intends to convey.
The other aspect one needs to keep in mind is the social context. Advertisements combine semiotics and text, as a result, they are to be placed within a relevant social context. This could be related to the product and also the audience receiving the message. By social context I mean, language and at times the regional or local nature of the content. If the product is for a specific region, then an advertisement could use some regional appeal in the advertisement which again is an up-to-the advertising agency.
There are numerous examples where the picture in an advertisement has carried the message to the viewers. The print advertisement by Economic Times is a classic example where the picture in the advertisement does the talking. There are advertisements where a good headline steals the show and makes the impact. The Times of India’s advertisements – A day in the life of India, is one which augurs the above case.
The debate will go on as to whether it is the text or the pictorial representation of the idea that makes an advertisement. But the bottom line is that it should make an indelible impression in the mind which lingers around for a while!
Image Source: Marketing And Advertising – BigStockPhoto.com