The AIDA model - Wrong spelling in advertisements as an attention-seeking device

Seminar Paper, 2006

17 Pages, Grade: 1,0



1. Introduction

2. The AIDA model
2.1. Attracting attention and arousing interest
2.2. Stimulating desire and creating conviction
2.3. Persuading consumers to take action

3. Wrong spelling in ads as an attention-seeking device

4. Conclusion

1. Introduction

Advertisements play an essential role in all capitalist societies where more products can be produced as people need and the main goal of producers is to sell their products to consumers in order to make profit. With a creative design of an advertisement they try to persuade customers of the special qualities which the advertised commodity delivers to satisfy not just material but also social needs of individuals like needs for membership of a particular social group or self-identification for example through clothes.

In general, advertising is defined as “a paid form of communicating a message by the use of various media. It is persuasive, informative, and designed to influence purchasing behavior or thought patterns.”[1] But the most important type of advertisements is the so called “commercial consumer advertising” defined by Leech as “advertising directed towards a mass audience with the aim of promoting sales of a commercial product or service”[2]. It is also the form of advertising we are confronted with most of the time for instance on TV, in magazines and newspapers, on billboards or in the World Wide Web. Beside these commercial consumer advertisements there are also other forms like “trade advertising” through which a firm promotes its products to other firms especially in trade journals and “prestige advertising” which does not promote a product but an image “to bring about an alignment of public opinion with commercial interests.”[3] In this paper the focus will be on commercial consumer advertising in print media, its functions in the advertising situation defined by the AIDA model and the role which language plays in fulfilling these functions. Therefore, I will give an analysis of chosen adverts including an unusual use of language in form of wrong spelling in order to compare their effects with those of advertisements using standard language.

2. The AIDA model

In our today’s affluent society the market for commercial products and services is full of different firms producing and selling identical goods. There are for example various producers for cosmetics like L’oréal, Rimmel London or Nivea Beauty who all claim that their make-up and lipsticks make women look more beautiful. But when every company wants to claim its superiority to its competitors all producers are required to create persuading advertisements making their product appear more attractively in comparison to other brands. With the help of their advertising campaigns they have to follow three main goals of advertisements. These goals are to inform the consumer about the commodity, the qualities making this product superior to equivalent brands and the special need it fulfills, to persuade him to buy it and to remind him in order to settle the brand-name or the advertising slogan in the consumer’s mind.[4]

The AIDA model as a “traditional conceptual model for creating any advertising or marketing communications message”[5] describes in more detail how an ad has to be designed to reach these three goals successfully. Since the word ‘advertise’ derives from the Latin root ‘advertere’ meaning ‘to turn towards’ the etymology of the word already suggests that an ad has to direct one’s attention. Therefore, it is firstly important that an advertisement is perceived by the consumer for example, through eye-catching motives and colours or special vocabulary and interesting sentences. Thus, the first step described by the AIDA model is that the attention of the reader has to be attracted so that the advertisement is noticed at all. Secondly, the interest for the promoted commodity has to be aroused by convincing the reader that it will satisfy a particular need. Afterwards it is important to persuade him of the special qualities making the product unique and better as other ones in order to stimulate the creation of a desire in the reader. Finally, it has to lead him to go into action – in other words to make him buy the product. In the following paragraphs I will give a detailed description of linguistic means in advertisements used to fulfill the instructions of the AIDA model.

2.1. Attracting attention and arousing interest

Readers naturally do not intend to read a magazine because of its advertisements although half of an edition consists of ads all competing for the reader’s attention.[6] For instance, in women’s magazines like “Cosmopolitan” one can find an advertisement nearly one every second page promoting perfumes, hair shampoo, and styling accessories or cosmetics. In this situation a very great creativity of the advertiser is required because the most important function is that the ad is noticed at first and the reader’s attention is caught and also held. Otherwise it would not be necessary anymore to give a detailed description of the product because the reader has just missed the ad before he is able to get more information at all. Consequently, a strong headline is indispensable if the advertisement has to be as attention-seeking as possible. Moreover, using a convincing illustration in addition to the strong headline even increases the attention of the reader. But at first the most important element in an advertisement is the strong headline because it selects the audience the advertiser wants to appeal to and it stimulates the consumer to wonder about the significance of the advertisement and if the product had any use value to him. Furthermore, an interesting headline making the customer curious to get to know more about the product also “sets the tone for the offer”[7] so that the reader decides if this offer is of interest to him. That is the reason why attracting attention is combined with the emergence of interest in the reader.[8] Thus, an advertisement can also compel notice by showing the reader that the offer will satisfy a special need and will be interesting for him. Many advertisers use this way to create an attention-seeking advertisement. An illustration, which shows an imaginary, generalized situation, makes the reader find himself again in it, which creates the feeling that the product might really be of interest to him. For instance, an advertisement showing a man taking an admiring look at a woman when they meet each other by chance touches probably the most part of feminine readers. The product, for example a perfume for women, becomes interesting for them because they receive the advertising message explaining that all women can be admired by the men on the streets if they wear this special perfume. Consequently, images play a significant role in regard to attention and interest, too.

But what different linguistic means do advertisers have at their disposal to create an attention-seeking headline? According to the literature there are various techniques. “The simplest way of arousing attention and creating interest is simply to place product’s name alongside a picture of it.”[9] But this way is not so popular in most of the advertisements. The reader might only be attracted because he already knows this brand but the majority, which is not familiar with the commodities produced by the promoting brand, will possibly ignore the ad. Thus, the producer runs the risk of failing with its advertising. Vestergaard and Schroder, however, judge “the very simplicity of the technique as its strength” and claim that “if the advertiser is that confident in his product, it must be something very special.”[10] This claim can be supported by advertisements published by very prominent perfume designers like Lacoste, Calvin Klein or Escada. These brands are so famous that the names of their perfumes in connection with a picture of it are sufficient for assuring consumers of their qualities like unique-smelling and continuing scents.

Another technique to attract the reader’s attention, which is more common than the one mentioned before, is “to make some claim for the product in the headline”. Especially hyperbolic claims expressed by words like “new”, “improved”, “at last” or even “America’s best” are very attention-seeking because the reader becomes curious to get to know some more information about the advertised improvement.

Advertisements mostly seek to appeal to a particular need, either a social or a material need. What makes the reader especially attentive is an ad which claims that its product “will satisfy a need which already exists in the potential reader”[11]. If the reader realizes that the commodity actually might satisfy a need he has already felt before but could not satisfy up to now, his attention is attracted and he becomes interested in the product. For instance, young people are attracted by advertisements for clothes which directly appeal to the need for individuality by claiming that they will be in some kind different as all the others and catch all eyes in a club if they wear these special clothes. Diesel, for example, makes the most of this fact in many of its advertising campaigns.

But advertisements which aim at a certain audience use a special and very successful technique of attracting attention. In this sort of ads, advertisers use sentences directly addressed[12] to the type of consumer they want to attract. There are various linguistic means which can be used to select the special audience through direct address. The simplest way is to name them directly or to give a headline with the preposition “for” together with a noun group[13] identifying the chosen group of customers. A possible slogan for an anti-aging skin cream could be, for example: “For women whose skin deserves more!” If- clauses also attract the reader’s attention because he wonders if the claim done in the if-clause can be applied to him. For instance, Predictor which is a firm producing pregnancy tests uses in its ad the following if-clause: “If you think all pregnancy tests are the same…look again!” The customer looking at this ad reads further because he agrees to this statement and becomes interested in the innovation the firm promotes. Besides if-clauses, questions and ‘when’-clauses are also used to address a specific type of consumer directly in the headline.[14]

Attracting the reader’s attention advertisers often try to make their headlines more interesting and attention-seeking for customers by using stylistic means such as puns, metaphors, parallelism and rhymes.[15] Funny puns and rhymes, for instance, make “normal” headlines more interesting and amuse the reader which can also have the effect that the slogans of particular brands are settled in the customer’s mind. And this result can be a nice compliment for every advertising designer.


[1] (02-09-2006)

[2] Leech, Geoffrey. 1966. English in Advertising, London, p. 25.

[3] Ibidem.

[4] (02-09-2006)

[5] Ibidem.

[6] Vestergaard, T. and Schroder/K. 1995. The language of Advertising, Oxford, p. 49.

[7] (02-09-2006)

[8] Vestergaard, T. and Schroder/K. 1995. The language of Advertising, Oxford, p. 58.

[9] Ibidem.

[10] Ibidem.

[11] Vestergaard, T. and Schroder/K. 1995. The language of Advertising, Oxford, p. 60.

[12] Ibidem.

[13] Ibidem, p. 61.

[14] Leech, Geoffrey.1966. English in Advertising, London, p. 61.

[15] Vestergaard, T. and Schroder/K. 1995. The language of Advertising, Oxford, p. 62.

Excerpt out of 17 pages


The AIDA model - Wrong spelling in advertisements as an attention-seeking device
University of Rostock  (Institut für Anglistik/Amerikanistik)
PS Advertising and Media Texts
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
696 KB
AIDA, Wrong, Advertising, Media, Texts
Quote paper
Juliane Behm (Author), 2006, The AIDA model - Wrong spelling in advertisements as an attention-seeking device, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: The AIDA model - Wrong spelling in advertisements as an attention-seeking device

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free