Television is likely one of the most influential inventions of the last one hundred years. The TV has also gone through major innovations, changing the way we see the world and the way content is delivered to us. Just like many inventions before it, the television had to be put in the hands of the consumer before it could actually have a meaningful impact on society. The people in charge of convincing society that they should buy television were the advertising teams and the advertising agencies.
As the television developed and evolved over time so did the advertising for television sets, content and cameras. All companies wanted to prove they were on the cutting edge of television technology and that they wanted to provide the best possible experience to their customers. For this reason the advertisements for many televisions and television related products are centered around technology. However, the ads, like ads for many other products, also use specified diction in order to appeal to our logos and our pathos.
The earliest advertisement I examined was for a General Electric Black-Daylite TV. The most obvious aspect of the ad is that it is in black and white. This was likely done because the TV is not a color set, so the images on the screen are supposed to make the consumer believe the images in the ad are as clear as they will actually be on the set. Next, the ad attempts to make the reader believe that the set is magical and amazing. The slogan is “You won’t believe it’til you see it!” and the technology is called “Ultra-Vision.” The attempt was to make the consumer think the television set was amazing and other worldly in its picture quality. The ad assumes the customer wants the best image quality and a really good price as they put a price they think is low for all to see. They also mention how a person can trade in an old set and get a “liberal” trade in value for it. The price focus reiterates that at this time in American history the TV was still seen as a luxury item.
In order for a television set to be worth having, it needs to have content. Knowing this, advertisers also made advertisements focusing on what they were broadcasting. In a 1966 advertisement created by GE, the ad told consumers that next seasons Dallas Cowboys games would be broadcasted in color. The ad is a large two page spread with a huge color picture. The picture looks clear and crisp, like any consumer would want to see. They want you to think the picture will be so good it will almost be like you were actually there. It seems like they are going after men in the ad because more men than women watch football. Also, it is assumed men are the one making bigger purchases. The ad also has a second purpose. It wants to sell theses new cameras to other channels as well. In the blurb on the side of the ad it talks about the practicality and technology of the camera. It talks about what colors it can broadcast and how the camera only weighs 155 pounds.
The next ad that I examined was a 1961 ad for RCA’s new camera technology. These new image orthicons are highly sensitive tubes designed to pick greater light so sets need less light to capture color images. The ad is designed for the television producers and not the average consumer. It is not focused on being as flashy or eye catching but on being informative. The ad has far more words then the first two. The top part of the article, with the larger text, talks about how the new technology lessens production costs. These new orthicons require less lighting, which keeps the sets cooler so you don’t need as much as air conditioning. These extra costs could have stopped people from broadcasting in color thus stopping them from creating better content for their customers. The rest of the ad is large paragraphs that are about the technological advancements of the new device.
While all the ads have differences, they all have one thing in common; they emphasize technology. With any new invention, there is always much that can be improved on. The television sets themselves can become clearer, bigger and have more colors. As technology improves so does the quality of the programs on TV and the picture on the set themselves. Consumers want the most realistic picture possible and the television makers want to entice people to get these better sets.
The television ads themselves vary based on what the objective of the ad is and the audience. Television ads focused on the consumer had more pictures, less words and the words they did have were often buzz words like resolution and sharpness. Beyond that ads intended to sway consumers possibly had prices and brand names. Ads for production equipment, on the other hand, had far more words and therefore less pictures. They would go into greater detail about what made their equipment different and how that would result in better picture quality of content. They would explain how they delivered more clear content other than just saying it was sharper.
General Electric. [Display Ad 21]. Advertisement. Los Angeles Times. 10 Feb. 1953. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
RCA. [The Most Trusted Name in Television]. Advertisement. Broadcasting. 27 Nov. 1961. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
General Electric. [General GE Electric]. Advertisement. Broadcasting. 12 Sep. 1966. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.