Deconstructing a video advertisement

Five adjectives that describe this ad would be colourful, musical, active, fun, and educational. The ad itself, once I watched the commercial a second time, also known as a “trailer”, I realized it uses the words, “wonder” “exploration” and “fun” specifically. This ad can be found on the computer and on T.V.. With social media many companies are putting their ads on social media sites like YouTube, so it was easy to find this through a simple web search.

The aesthetics of the ad starts out by creating a nostalgic feel of historical geographic explorer type adventure by mimicking a story real or early cinema. It then moves into the modern age of full cartoon colour with a fancy sideswipe. This colour change sets the tone as the rest of the ad is bright and crisp, thus transitioning from nostalgic and adventurous to modern and fun. Text is added in the ad to highlight the name, web address and sponsor, Animal Jam, animaljam.com and National Geographic. The narration also changes from setting the original tone in black and white with the cinematic news real voice, to a crisp clear and excited voice for the modern view of the game. The fun music and sound effects of the game give the audio a subtle background and sparks further interest. Even the kids laughter and the ending statement “I love Animal Jam” are not things you notice until you watch it four times and really listen. The words on the screen at the beginning show National Geographic and when it was incorporated, in 1888. This gives the game its authentic educational appeal to parents.

The ad depicts animals, non-gender specific, in varied type and size. customized with accessories thus promising a unique online presence in this virtual role playing world setting. The target audience can image themselves as any one of the character depicted in the commercial This is reinforced by highlighting various character that move about the game and demonstrate customization features and fun activities. Although I say the animals a non-gender specific, under close observation, depending on whether the child identifies as a boy or girl, the animal eyes, colors, and accessories can be adapted to be more “feminine” or “masculine” such as choosing eyes that appear to have mascara and long dark lashes and various clothing style options that create a distinctive male or female appearance. The assumptions made are that girls like make up and frilly accessories,, the color pink,  pretty jewelry etc. While boys like fierce scary looking eyes, etc. This assumption however doesn’t come from the game, it comes from the assumptions of the viewer. This is because any animal you can create can be customized with any option and self identified by the creator. So a boy can have long eyelashes and butterfly wings and a girl can have fierce eyes and a black top hat if they so choose. The long term aspect is a positive one as the accessories are not limited by gender.

Kids can just play games and not actively read, watch or learn about animals. This is the the unadvertised fact about the game. This is a misleading assumption for parents.” It is o.k. that my child plays this game because they are learning.” is an easy statement to make based on the commercial. The actual educational content however is passive and not required to partake of in the overall structure of the game if the child chooses not to use those aspects of the game.

In addition the ad does not mention, though the game is free, the free version is limited and you can not access a large portion of options and adventures with out a membership fee, monthly or yearly. This can get quite expensive.The membership fee however is not the only product being sold. Once into the game you discover you can buy figurines at Walmart that give you extra prizes in the game and other side marketing options I have not yet been asked for by my child, but I am sure I soon will. Since these “Trailers” look like movie intros and have figurines in stores, it successfully peaks a child ‘s interest to research…. what is animal jam? This is how my daughter became interested. Being a free game I thought, sure what harm can it do. 2 weeks later and I have bought 4 figurines, though have not yet invested in a membership. I hope her interest wanes before I do.

This is the one aspect about the ad that I feel needs to be improved upon. Game that lure individuals in with “play free” that do not clearly state fees apply to unlock options or progress in the game, are misleading when they are geared towards children. Parents are quick to say yes to a free game app. Add the fact that the intro is free and then it is a paid membership and parents may choose other entertainment options for their children.

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