In order to be successful, an advert should not only be seen (or heard – depending on your target market etc), catch and hold your attention, and should not only inform, but it should persuade or influence people along a certain course of action, or to purchase the commodity being advertised. A variety of means and presentation, are used by advertisers as tools in order to achieve the above, some of which include the size and position of an advert; use of colour; novelty and contrast; humour; status; fear; parent and family life.
Much of this is done through the use of pictures and images, however words and language remove any ambiguity which these, left to themselves, might portray. Language has a powerful influence over people and their behaviour. This is especially true in the fields of marketing and advertising. The choice of language to convey specific messages with the intention of influencing people is vitally important.
Copywriting, which is regarded as ” salesmanship in print” (class notes: 04/11/03), is the art of persuasion and selling messages through literary devices. Generally speaking however, honesty, decency and truthfulness in advertising is the most fundamental concept in all applicable guidelines, standards, statutory law, rules and regulations (eg. the Code of Advertising Standards and the Code of Sales Promotion Practice – administered by the ASAI1; EU Directive 97/55/EC2; The Consumer Information Act, 1978).