Zippo Advertisement Analysis. Copyright © 2016 by Spencer Coffman.
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Dedicated to those who appreciate quality products and great advertising.
Here is a great read about two advertisements by Zippo Lighter Company made in the USA.
The first one is an image, and man is it an image. Take a look at it. Inspect it. Think about it. Then read about it. As you are reading, see how your thoughts compare. Really get into what is going on not only in your own mind, but also in the mind of the author and the mind of the person in the image.
The second one is a video advertisement. You’ll have to look this one up on the Internet. A YouTube url is provided in the text. However, in case the video is someday taken down from YouTube., the title is also provided so you may look it up. Take the time to look it up and watch the ad. It is less than one minute long. While you are watching the video, focus on what is happening. Put yourself in the position of the people por-trayed. When the video is over, spend a few minutes to think about the roles each person played. Really dig in. Then read the analysis. Compare your thoughts to those of the author and take delight in how they are both the same and different.
Upon looking at this image, I see a lighter that has apparently been dropped by the motorcyclist who is being reflected in its shine. The blur of the colors in the street signify that the motorcyclist is traveling at a significant speed. If you look closely you can see that his head is turned, as if to signify that he knows that he dropped the lighter. Judging by how far he is turned, he was probably trying to use the lighter when he dropped it. Though using the lighter while driving at excessive speeds would be nearly impossible, the theory is good.
Maybe the ad signifies how wind proof the Zippo lighter really is, or how durable it can be if tested. Obviously he is watching to see where it lands, maybe in hopes to turn around and recover it. There is a lifetime guarantee pictured in the bottom left of the advertisement as if to emphasize the quality and durability of the Zippo lighter. The Zippo Lighter Company is ready to take on whatever you can give them
The grayish blue colors that represent the street are smeared vertically to create the illusion of fast movement. The blue sky and the green shrubbery that take up the majority of the background in the advertisement also have faded glow to them. The central focus point along the horizon line gives us the impression that the motorcyclist has been driving for many
miles and has successfully completed a rather sharp turn at high speed. On the other side of that, if you look in the reflection of the lighter, the road becomes more straight and narrow creating another illusion of great distance.
It would seem that the motorcyclist will pick up speed during this section of the road. That is, if he does not turn around to retrieve his lost lighter. Could it be that his reasoning for the increasing speed is frustration from losing his lighter? Who knows? Frustrated and stressed drivers do tend to accelerate more rapidly.
The text in this image is clearly not the main focus and is not heavily accented. Though it is important, it is only used to describe the policy that Zippo carries out if one of their lighters should ever encounter a defect. Notice that the word “Guarantee” appears in capital letters and is much bigger that the rest of the words. Even the word “Zippo” is not featured as large. It could be that the reasoning behind this, is not only to promote the sales of the lighter, but also to ease the tension and worry of a defect. It gives the viewer of the ad security and greatly improves trust in the Zippo name.
I first saw this image on the Internet when I was looking for an advertisement that would make a great review. Since the teenage thing is paraphernalia I knew that reviewing lighter would make a great ad to review. Since Zippo is personally my favorite lighter, not only because of the lifetime guarantee that is offered but also because of its class, I decided to find a Zippo advertisement.
It would appear that the advertisement is focused on the upper teenage and lower to mid twenty-year-old men. The motorcycle traveling at high speeds, the shine of the lighter, and the black clothing appeal to men more than women. Not only that, but the colors used in the ad create a strong and powerful look that seems to signify that Zippo is the best lighter to have.
Here is the link for the YouTube video. https://youtu.be/rvYEfJwptMs
Type it into your browser exactly as it is shown and watch the video. In case you are unable to pull it up. Here is the title and the uploader.
Zippo Advertisement Commercial
It appears that the over all message of this advertisement is to encourage people to buy Zippo lighters. The ad shows that they are durable, when the lighter falls out of the man’s pocket, and that they are wind proof, when the wind blows and the lighter stays lit. There are other messages in this video as well. Such as the skin color, the location, the clothing, etc.
The ad starts out with a white male who looks somewhat Italian getting drenched in some kind of fluid. It is later revealed that this liquid is gasoline based on the metal can with the red and yellow design. If you pause the video at the correct moment, you can make out the word “gasoline” on the side of the canister. The people who are soaking him are black and dressed like the mob. They are wearing white button-up shirts, perhaps with a suit, and dark black overcoats.
Usually this situation is reversed, as it was traditionally white Italians who were the mobsters. Now, they didn’t always burn black people. However, during the height of the mob racism was rampant. Therefore, it was very likely that white groups would have elected to pour gasoline on black men at that time.
Anyway, the two black men proceed to attempt to burn the white man alive. After discarding the gas can, one of them pulls out a book of matches and lights it up. We watch as the book of matches bursts into flames and, to the black men’s great dismay, the it is extinguished by the wind.
At the sight of this, the white man begins to laugh and dance around on the ground. He is clearly very happy and believes that his life has been saved. While he is rolling around in his elated state, a lighter falls out of his pocket. The two men notice this and one of them bends over and picks it up. He then flips it open and we are able to hear that wonderful and famous Zippo flick and shink sound. He then strikes the flint and the wick instantly lights. The flame stays lit throughout the wind and the once joyous white man now has a terrified and disappointed look on his face. The two black men simply smile as the Zippo logo flings across the screen to end the video.
The target audience seems to be of all ages. Younger people
might not understand the message of this ad, but they will still find it funny, as the ad is very humorous. The lightheartedness of this video suggests that it is directed towards all ages. However, it appears that the key audience is to young to middle age adults. It does not appear to be specifically directed towards smokers in any way. However, its goal seems to be to show how reliable the Zippo lighter really is.
I, myself, have owned over 100 different Zippo lighters. I am buying what the advertisement is selling. The great smell of the lighter fluid and the sound of that wheel striking the flint is unbeatable. Not to mention the signature opening shink that is practically a Zippo trademark. All of these contribute to the great love the world has for Zippo lighters.