Essay on Language of Advertising: Nhs Smoke-Free

789 Words Dec 1st, 2010 4 Pages
The NHS are persistently coming up with new ways of communicating the dangers of excessive use of health jeopardizing substances such as , drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Their uses of shock tactics to scare the viewer into giving up their dangerous habit provoke a topic of conversation but are these extreme methods still not enough to get the message across?
Over the years, it is apparent that adverts in general have adapted their advertising language by employing extensive methods of persuasion, instead of focusing on their actual product or purpose.
Some may remember when the NHS health campaigns were exactly that; health campaigns, not commercials. Their primary objective was to inform the audience of the dangers of smoking and drug
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The adverts are solely a verbal message used to provoke fears and guilt in parents. The clever use of an innocent, vulnerable child showing a genuine concern for the health of their parent is then used in a manipulative manner to make parents feel guilty by the use of emotive language and a recognizable child’s way of speaking, such as grammatically incorrect sentence structures and stuttering.
So, are visual effects or language more responsible for provoking the audience’s fears, guilt and anxieties?
Professor Sarah Johnson has conducted a study into how the language used in these adverts provokes feelings of fear, guilt and anxiety in their viewing audience. Her investigation required a group of participants to be asked to watch each of a number of the NHS smoke-free adverts twice; once with the visuals removed, listening to only the language used, and the second time with the images on screen and without sound. They were asked to record their initial feelings on each screening, describing the impact, if any, the language and the visual effects individually had n each participant. Early indications of the study revealed that, in most cases, the language used had a bigger impact, in terms of making the viewer consider the consequences of their actions, than the images alone. However, it was also

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