Pain in advertising: an analysis of the content and design of the advertisements in press after 11-M terrorist attacks

Martínez Pastor, Esther; Montes Vozmediano, Manuel
January 2015
Communication & Society;01/01/2015, p115
Academic Journal
On the anniversary of the attacks of 11 March 2004 which occurred in Madrid, we conducted a study which focused on the advertising published the days following the attacks. This study examines the message content and layout of ads across a sample of 178 advertisements published in the Spanish press. We created a table with 15 variables and 112 subvariables to find out which were the predominant messages in each advertisement and if the advertiser wanted to convey a message of sorrow to the sufferer or implicitly wanted their brand to predominate over the message of shared pain. Among the findings that we obtained was that messages of condolence and sober designs, without pictures or color, in which the advertiser expresses emotions and empathy with the victims are the most numerous. Emotional pain is the dominant feeling in the adverts published after the attacks March 2004 with messages of sorrow and strongly expressed exclamations, followed by messages of condolence and thanks. In the design, the text of the adverts is of great significance compared to the iconic features and the composition looks similar to that of obituaries. In addition, we provide a proposal for joint design of the message as a reference for advertisers in similar circumstances.


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