Cleaning Up Cleaning Products



Figure 1. An advertisement for Seventh Generation, a cleaner that aims at cleaning with natural ingredients rather than chemicals.

Seventh Generation Inc. is a company that manufactures cleaning products that are intended to be healthier for the environment than their competitors.  They do this through focusing their marketing on sustainability and natural resource conservation.  In addition, they use recycled and other post-consumer materials in their packaging while the products themselves are biodegradable and plant-based phosphate- and chlorine-free.

The ads for cleaning products like those of Seventh Generation are fairly relaxed, although they do use their colors to draw attention from the reader.  This reader, the audience of the advertisement, is likely to be adults of a household that need to clean their homes.  For natural products, the audience is probably a younger generation of people since younger people are typically more concerned about the condition of the environment.  The ads are generally oriented in a way that draws the audience’s attention to the product itself, or, like in Figure 2, an object that is tied back to later on in the ad.  In general, the ads have an image at the top of the page, followed by a block of text beneath.


Figure 2. An advertisement for Handy Andy, a South African brand of cleaning products.

Text in the ads is often a sans or a sans-serif typeface, which seems to give the ads a more informal style.  This may help the product being advertised seem friendlier to the reader so that they may have a good first impression of the product, and later call upon those feelings subconsciously while shopping.

The image above the text often uses white space around a single centered object to draw attention to the object.  Even in an ad like in Figure 3, the product is centered above the text so that the reader is naturally drawn to it before reading the text block.  Although the product in Figure 2 doesn’t follow this exact example, it  takes advantage of the fact that the reader will likely move down the page after looking at the puppet and interpret the rest of the page left-to-right.  Thus, the reader is still drawn to the image of the product before reading the block of text.  Similarly, brands being advertised can be seen in the lower right hand corner surrounded by white space, which will likely be seen last by the reader as they finish the ad.  In Figure 1, this is taken by a store where the product can be purchased, whereas Figure 3 shows the brand of the product.


Figure 3. An advertisement for Method, another company focusing on cleaning supplies consisting of natural, biodegradable ingredients.

Colors seen in the ads vary, although they often stick to one color palette like in Figure 2 and Figure 3, with Figure 2 having a brown color scheme and Figure 3 having a green color scheme.  However, Figure 1 uses a mix of cool and warm colors to draw contrast, which puts emphasis on the product being advertised.  This may be an issue for ads like Figures 2 and 3, as the lack of contrast won’t make the advertisement stand out to the reader; the contents of the ads may just visually blend together.  If the contents blend together, then a reader may receive less exposure to the product than the advertiser intended.

Considering societal and cultural shifts, products like those of Seventh Generation have created a niche market of environmentally friendly cleaning products as society has become more aware of what’s in the products on the market.  Advertising campaigns have been an integral aspect of this growth in the cleaning product market.

This entry was posted in Blog #2. Researching Print Advertisements. Bookmark the permalink.

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