Compare the Nike Free and Levis 501 anti-fit television/cinema adverts

TV advertising is a power which affects us all; the most powerful type of media. It is able to change our opinions and our feelings. There are two types of advertising: primary advertising and secondary advertising. Primary advertising, where services and items are directly advertised, has been so influential that adverts have had to be suspended as factories cannot cope with the consumer demand such as in the case of the 1984 Levis Laundrette advert, when sales went up by 800%. It is also shown that they are a good way of advertising from the cost.

30 seconds, the average length of a TV advert, during the last episode of Friends cost 1 million pounds and large successful companies don’t throw money away; their increase in income must be significant for them to spend 1 million pounds on advertising. Indirect advertising, where advertising isn’t the primary purpose, is also incredibly strong. An example of this is the recent Live 8 concert which dramatically affected CD sales for some of the bands involved. For example The Who’s CD sales went up 900%, Annie Lennox’s Eurythmics sales went up by 500%, and Pink Floyds sales by 300%.

This essay will compare two different television/cinema adverts, the Levis 501 anti-fit (2005) advert and the Nike Free (2005) commercial. The two adverts have different target audiences: the Levis advert being for young adults around 16-25 while the Nike advert has a much broader target audience as it is just aimed at healthy and active people of any age, people who like any kind of sport. The different adverts would also be shown at different times, before different films and on different channels.

The Nike advert is more likely to be shown during a sports program, during soaps and before most films, while the Levis advert is likely to be shown in the evenings, on channels such as MTV, Channel 4 and E4, and before films which appeal to the target audience. Both adverts have been produced by major global brands as both Nike and Levis are recognised all over the world. Their brand image is very important, due to the huge competition between worldwide brands. Although each brand’s individual products are similar, most people will buy from the brands that are “cool” due to peer pressure.

It is therefore important for people to recognize you as the best brand. Other global brands, such as Coke, and McDonalds, are also recognised all over the world and have become a symbol of modern culture and lifestyle in the western world. However global brands are also becoming known for the exploitation of young children and women in third world countries. The large companies build huge factories out in these countries and then let women and children make the best-selling products for minimal pay. Both adverts are aimed to keep existing customers, more than they are aimed at attracting new customers.

This is brand loyalty, keeping people coming back for more, rather than trying to get everyone to buy your products once. The Nike Free advert’s denotation is a series of individuals, some celebrities and others unknown, who are doing different sports activities barefoot. The commercial starts with a group of Kenyan athletes running through the African savannah, and then finishes with the same group running away into the distance, wearing the Nike Free sports shoes. The advert creates a message saying that your feet are an important part of your body which need taking care off.

Using the Nike footwear is a good way of doing this. Also, there is an implied message, which says that to be the best in the sports that you play, like the celebrities in the advert, you need to wear Nike Shoes. This shows that Nike are trying to sell their entire brand, as opposed to a single product. They try to create the image that all of their shoes are the best, so that they will give you more success than any other brand. To understand the message that is created by the advert it helps if you know at least some of the celebrities within the commercial.

Linking personal experiences with what is going on in front of you creates the meaning of the advert. This also creates the link with Nike e. g. a tennis player links tennis with Rodger Federer and Maria Sharapova and then links them to Nike. The celebrities within the Nike Free advert are well known all over Europe and the rest of the world. They are all well-known sports individuals and cover a range of different sports so they can attract a large range of potential customers who play a variety of different sports.

The celebrities include Rodger Federer, Serena Williams, and Maria Sharapova (tennis players); Hashim El Guerrouj, Paula Radcliff, and the Kenyan National Running Squad (runners); Ian Thorpe (swimmer); as well as Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, and Christiano Ronaldo (footballers). All of these celebrities help to draw attention towards the advert, and produce a connation between success and Nike inside the potential customers who are watching the commercial. As well as these celebrities there are also lots of unknown, or not immediately recognisable, actors.

These people are doing other sports, such as climbing, playing rugby, and gymnastics. Another element that is used to great effect is that of sound. There is lots of sound involved within the advert, helping you to read it holistically. The music, a remixed version of ‘Tiptoe Through The Tulips’, is very cheerful and catchy. It has a clear rhythm and the advert has been edited so that each different cut occurs in time with the music. It is also a very lively piece of music, which fits in with the image of an energetic lifestyle.

Additionally the voiceover helps to make the meaning of the advert clearer and helps in the construction of the overall message. It is quite a patronizing, voice, which I associate with a schoolteacher, which draws attention to the advert, as people are used to listening to the voice. It is creates the feeling of a nice person, who wants you to succeed and do well at things. This helps to strengthen Nike’s message, as it leads people to believe that Nike have only your best interests at heart.

Furthermore there is a lot of ambient noise within the advert, which helps to set the scene, as well as helping to create a sense of participation. An example of this is during the section where Hashim El Guerrouj is on the treadmill; you can hear the sounds of his footsteps on the treadmill, and the sound of him breathing. Another example is at the beginning when you can hear the sound of footsteps as the runners come into view in the distance. The mise-en-scene is quite simply to promote Nike. The clothes that are seen in the advert are all Nike and the only shoes, which are seen, are the Nike Free trainers.

The fact that there are lots of different surroundings gives the impression that no matter where you are, Nike equipment can ensure that you succeed. The fact that feet are the main focus keeps on reminding you that Nike produce trainers, and other sports shoes. Even when you see the whole of people your eye keeps on darting back to the bare feet, because you don’t expect to see them bare. Also the fact that there is lots of bright sunlight and everything is quite bright and happy gives the connotation that Nike creates happiness. The advert is arranged into a series of different sections, using montage editing.

There are a lot of jump shots within the advert, such as when the gymnast starts to jump, but doesn’t land until a few shots later, after a small amount of shots have been shown depicting other sports. There is also an image of continuity with everything linking up with other shots, sometimes using matched cuts and sometimes using jump cuts. Within the advertisement a wide range of different shots are used. The advert starts off with an extreme long shot and then uses cross cutting between the extreme long shot, and a close up of the feet.

Lots of close ups are used within the ad, especially on the feet making them feet stand out, and ensuring that the message is explicit. There is a range of different angles used and this ensures that the advert is not boring. Different kinds of views help to build up attention. There are some shots where the viewers are behind the subject such as when the woman is climbing the cliff face. This makes you feel as though you are there with her climbing the mountain. There are also quite a few high angle shots such as the one above the rugby scrum.

This shot helps to show the whole of what is happening below you. The Nike brand is reinforced by the fact that all of the clothes within the advert are Nike and also by the Nike logo. The logo is quite simple using a simple font and simple colours. The white and the light green both suggest that the Nike brand is simple, yet effective, and is natural. The Nike tick is a global sign for the Nike brand so people recognise it. The Levis advert is quite different from the Nike advert. The advert is based on Act III Scene I of Shakespeare’s comedy, “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”.

Its shows a gang hanging out on the streets of a west American city, such as Los Angeles. One of the members of the gang, representing Bottom, is drawn towards a girl, representing Titania. Both Bottom and Titania wear the same jeans, Levis 501 anti-fit. All of the characters within the advert speak using the same type of Shakespearean Language, taken from A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The whole advert is based on the style of Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. The line of appeal with this advert is the whole message of anti-fit.

The idea of anti-fit is used because the target audience, young adults who are 16-25, want to be disassociated with both young children and teenagers, and older adults. However the image of street culture shown within this advert is very different from the real thing. This means that the advert is aimed more at people who know a little about street culture but don’t know exactly what it is like; people who want to have a rebellious but cool image. It also has the idea of hidden sophistication within the jeans due to the mixture of anti-fit and Shakespeare.

The music is very classical, slow, dramatic orchestral music; the sort of music associated with Shakespeare and theatre. However it is also very anti-fit, because it creates the crossover of classic drama and street gangs. The music has quite good rhythm, but is not as noticeable as the Nike music. Nonetheless it is effective, especially the crescendo at the end of the advert. The dialogues within the commercial are quite complex, and can be hard to follow, unless you have prior knowledge of Shakespeare.

The dialogues are also cleverly chosen, so that although it seems as if the characters are talking to each other they actually talking to the jeans. An example of this is shown when Titania murmurs, “I love thee” while looking at the jeans. In the play this is said to Bottom, but this has been adapted to suit the purpose of the advert. The actors within the advert are good-looking but are unknown. This ensures that the viewer’s attention is on the jeans as opposed to the actors due to the fact that they aren’t celebrities.

As well as this, the fact that the actors are unknown gives the impression that the jeans are for everyone not just celebrities. The use of curtains opening in the first shot creates the message of anti-fit. You wouldn’t expect theatrical curtains and street life to go together. The dark streets, and yellow streetlamps give the impression that the advert takes place late evening/early night. Also the use of streetlights, blurred, around Bottom’s head symbolises the fairies from A Midsummer Nights Dream.

As well as this the Cadillac in the background suggests that the advert is set in the 50s, as this was when Cadillac’s were common. There is a large contrast between the darkness of the streets and the cleanliness of the cafi?? where Titania is. This can symbolise the difference between fairies and humans within a Midsummer Nights Dream. The darkness of the streets, and the dark colours of the clothing worn by the gang on the street create the feeling of something a bit exciting, and even dangerous. The lightness of Titania’s environment creates an image of pureness, and innocence.