*This is a blog post that I am writing for an assignment in my Advertising class. The assignment was to analyze an online ad and who it is targeted to.*

GM College Student Discount

I found this ad online and there are several ways that you can tell that it’s targeted to college students. First of all, it says “college discount” clearly in the ad copy. It’s a simple ad, without any fancy jargon or hard to understand language. (Not to insult college student’s intelligence, but the average college student doesn’t want to read thousands of “fancy words” to try to figure something out.) The ad also features simple charts to exemplify what the ad is about by showing the discount and how it effects the vehicle price. (Once again, simplicity is key when trying to reach students.) GM also includes a QR code at the bottom left corner, which is a tool that many people my age use because we’ve grown up in a generation of QR codes, so this shows the ad is “hip” and targeted to cool people like us. 🙂

The advertiser (General Motors) is doing an incredible job at getting in my head in this ad. First of all, they use the word “discount”. This word catches every single college student’s attention. No one wants to pay full price for an item if they can help it, especially not students who are working a simple job to pay their school bill and other life expenses, while trying to devote time to their studies, as well. We’re not rolling in dough and it’s always nice when companies understand that and show they want to work with our financial situation.

By showing specific examples of the discount, General Motors makes the implications of this ad incredibly easy to understand. They literally calculate the discount savings in two cars that would appeal to most college students (a simple, fuel efficient car and a heavy duty truck). They show how the discount is calculated so students can show their parents the ad when parents suggest “You must have read that wrong… they won’t give you that kind of discount.” It also helps when someone else does the math for us, because even though we’re getting smarter every day with our college education, sometimes numbers and interest rates and percentages can still be tricky because for most college students, that’s a whole new world of finances.

Finally, GM gets in my head by placing students in the ad image. Although I don’t have a bike, I’ve recently strongly considered buying one. I’m at the point where I don’t exactly need a car, but it’s still kind of a nuisance not having one. I hate bothering people and asking for rides all the time. However, I also don’t think a bike would be the best way to get around Milligan College, Elizabethton, or Johnson City. An ad like this appeals to me, because I don’t want to be that guy on the bike. I want to be that girl smiling in the car because I’m sitting in air conditioning, nice seats, and not worrying about an expensive car payment.

The only thing I might have done differently if I was an account planner would be to include some color in this ad. Maybe it was originally in color but the ad I found here was just in black and white, but I think some color would have really made the ad pop out more. I also would be interested to know where these ads were placed. Were they placed in magazines? On college campuses? Did students receive these in campus-wide emails? I think the placement of these ads would have been key at making them effective, because this ad contains elements that really set it up to be a successful ad to college students.


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