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advertising formats


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1. Widespread conventions of form and/or content that can be discerned in ads within a particular medium. Three key elements in ad formats are product, person, and setting. On television, the traditional format for selling domestic products to women is known within the industry as 2CK, or euphemistically as ‘two women in the kitchen’. Another way of categorizing formats identifies the primary focus of the ad: e.g. on product information, on symbolism, or on user gratifications (see also advertising appeals; demassification; lifestyle format; personalized format; product-information format; product-symbol format). In semiotics, the identification and analysis of such formats is part of the broader study of advertising codes and conventions.

2. In the buying of media space by advertisers, differentially priced options: e.g. in print publications, specific formats offered to advertisers by a magazine or newspaper—such as full-page, half-page and so on. See also media buying.

Subjects: Media studies


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