How Associational Juxtaposition Works in Print Advertising

For an advertisement to be effective, it needs to be credible to the audience. Credibility or ethos is usually found in the product, or the company that sells the product. Another way to establish a product’s ethos is to do celebrity endorsement. When people see that a celebrity that they like and trust is using a product, it makes them believe in both the product and the company. In advertisement, when the ethos of a company or product and the ethos of a celebrity are combined, it is called associational juxtaposition. This just means juxtaposing an image of a product with something more desirable.

Associational juxtaposition is a technique of print advertising in which a product image is juxtaposed with an image of a person, object, or situation toward which the intended audience can be assumed to have positive feelings.

imagesIn the case of Diet Coke, Marc Jacobs’s image is juxtaposed to it because of his reputation as a good designer and a sexy man. The hotness of Jacobs makes Diet Coke looks sexy and infers that people who drink Diet Coke are sexy, or by drinking Diet Coke people become sexy. Diet Coke, a product mostly advertised to women needed a push so that the target audience will have even more faith in the product than before. By combining the strong ethos of Diet Coke as a product and Marc Jacobs’s ethos, it gives Diet Coke a positive image by making it look more sexy and accessible to people.

Therefore, associational juxtaposition is a form that functions and a function that forms. It functions to lead the audience to associate unrelated ideas as closely connected, and consequently, to transfer emotions and attitudes attendant on one to the other. Therefore, the way people feel about Diet Coke is transferred on Marc Jacobs and vice versa. Those who think that Marc Jacobs is sexy will now see Diet Coke as a sexy drink that leads to more sexiness. And those who see Diet Coke as a credible product will trust Marc Jacobs as a designer because they will feel like Coca Cola wouldn’t have hired him to endorse its product if he didn’t have a strong ethos.

Having formed the discourse, associational juxtaposition goes on to form the perceptions and interpretations the audience has of the world. These perceptions and interpretations can impact significantly ways the audience acts, reacts, and interacts with their world. This ad trains on each other’s ethos to enhance the perceptions that people had about both Diet Coke and Marc Jacobs. This new perception of Diet Coke will change the way people see it and will also change how they identify the designer and his products.  Associational juxtaposition, then, can function to form individual and collective perceptions of reality. It can build on existing ethos to make an ad more effective or transferring a strong ethos to a product that would not have otherwise to be credible.

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