Spotlight: 7 shoe advertising techniques Photo: iStock
04.06.2014 66722

Spotlight: 7 shoe advertising techniques

To advertise shoes is not as easy as it seems: being essentially a small detail, it can “get lost” on an advertising poster or become invisible against the background of a human figure. And if you photograph a shoe model without surroundings, the poster is unlikely to attract the attention of the viewer at all. To find out how shoe companies cope with this problem, advertising promotion expert and business coach Iya Imshinetskaya analyzed more than a hundred advertising images published in the Russian press over two years. Shoes Report magazine talks about what conclusions the expert made as a result of the study.

The creators of shoe advertising often face the following problem: how to make the focus of attention essentially a small part? In attempts to rivet the viewer's eyes precisely on shoes, they are forced to fight the worst enemy of the accessory in advertising - the image of the person who put on the shoes and, figuratively speaking, enslaved her. Nobody looks at the slave, everyone wants to deal with the owner, so the loss of independence is the main problem in advertising small accessories. Moreover, this pattern applies equally to all accessories, including bags, umbrellas, scarves, watches.

If we analyze the plots of various posters advertising footwear, one can follow one pattern: advertising calls are divided into those where the image of a person is eliminated in principle, so that the shoes do not have a semantic competitor, and those where it is present. In the second case, advertisers by any means try to prevent the attention of the viewer from moving from shoes to the image of people who, by definition, always wins in the struggle for attention with an inanimate object. Not always they do it well, but several working methods still exist. Let us consider in more detail the features of each of the two groups of advertising messages.

Presence of absence

One way to make a part the center of the composition in advertising without the participation of people's images is implausible increase her against the background of the environment, even violating all the laws of proportion. A shoe or shoe that is larger than its surroundings is no longer perceived by the detail, it becomes the basis, an important and necessary part of the composition. Another way to turn shoes in the frame into an important element is to use relevant attributes of its importance. For example, you can put a boot in a picture frame, point a camera at it, a beam of a searchlight, or even circle it with chalk, like a corpse at the scene of an incident. The concept “shoes-fashion model” is quite popular among advertisers, but it is often implemented together with a person in the frame. In this case, the viewer no longer looks at what the girl showing the shoes is wearing, he begins to evaluate the beauty herself. Thus, the model in the frame "steals" the attention of the viewer, for which the advertiser paid to show the product.


There is a principle by which attention is attracted to an object that protrudes uniform form. For example, having cast a glance at a plate of rice porridge, no one will look at the pictures, everyone will pay attention to the plate. Advertisers use this technique to demonstrate shoes: in particular, in one of the previous advertising campaigns of the CaféNoir brand, an elegant women's shoe appears before the viewer, filled with rosebuds to match the model of shoes. A fairly common trick is to show the detail against a talking background or in the vicinity of other semantic details. As they say, King makes retinue, therefore, in the creation of advertising are easily decrypted characters. A shoe next to a plaster bust is perceived as an element of classical culture, flowers symbolize beauty, femininity and tenderness, a wooden texture - proximity to nature, apples - a temptation. Animals also represent a field for semantic maneuver: a horse is associated with aristocracy, a crocodile, snakes and lizards - with exoticism, a rooster - with brightness and provocation, and predatory cats like a panther - with grace and grace.


Finally, another commonly used principle of shoe advertising is the demonstration of detail. without any semantic accents or even background. The viewer's attention is drawn to the shoes simply because there’s nothing more to watch. Boring, of course, and no zest. Apparently, the authors of such advertising argue as jewelry sellers: the product is so good in itself that its detailed examination can cause emotions in the viewer. The idea is controversial, but very common. Vniman12.jpg

There are people, but they must be fought

The viewer's eyes always first fall on the place where it is noticeable movement or small plot present - even if the “action” takes place on paper. In an advertisement for shoes where people are absent, a movement like a flying sneaker or a bent sneaker catches the attention of the beholder and allows him to understand the main advantage of the product. But what do advertisers do when they need to create a movement on a poster with a picture of a person? In this case, the movement may be a gesture like a leg thrown on the other leg, an action such as tying or untying shoelaces, or even “biting” the heel or other part of the shoe. On one of Fabi's advertising posters, the model rests her foot on the wall, which concentrates the viewer's eyes on the shoes that “support” this wall, and on the advertising of luxury segment shoes, men often appear passionately holding a woman’s foot or shoes in hand.


The most common trick in advertising for the “no people” group is elimination of a semantic competitorwhich can draw attention to itself. Since the semantic center in the image of a person is the eyes and face, advertisers leave “horns and legs” on posters with shoes. More precisely, one leg. Viewers finish imagining the hostess of the shoes shown, thinking up the situation in which she fell and the history that preceded this. To do this, of course, they have to carefully examine the shoes, for which the advertiser paid. In this technique, shoes are often accompanied by a talking background and other semantic details on the principle of “the king is made by the retinue”.


Formal or semantic contrast can be used both in advertising with and without people, but most of the examples are still found in the first version. Each time, a semantic war is declared to people in advertising with formal contrast: the figures are blurred, darkened or look pale against the background of a bright product. The semantic contrast is the opposition of two plots, for example, on an advertisement for Mary Atckins shoes with mannequins shod in boots, these plots become “living” and “dead” - goods intended for people are “worn” by non-living mannequins.


The described techniques are methods of “fighting” with the image of a person in shoe advertising. But what if the image of a person is present on the image, but they are not struggling with it? A “vampire image” is born, in which information about another product is encrypted, and not about the one that the advertisement offers. The effect of "vampirism" is manifested through beautifully dressed models, boldly looking at the camera or outside the frame, climbing the ropes, drinking a cocktail or showing erogenous zones. Recognizing an advertisement with a vampire image is very simple: just close the explanatory text and ask people what is offered on the advertisement. If the answers are far from the truth, then the diagnosis of the image is “vampire”. Such advertising will “steal” the advertiser’s time, which he paid for a potential buyer’s eye contact with the advertising image, and, therefore, it makes no sense to invest in it.

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Of course, there are exceptions to each rule, and in high-quality creative advertising the image of a person will “work” to demonstrate the advantages of the product. But if the advantages of the product are difficult to emphasize with the help of unbroken tricks, it is worth considering - is it necessary to have a beautiful girl model in order to draw the viewer's attention to shoes?

To advertise shoes is not as simple as it seems: being essentially a small detail, it can “get lost” on an advertising poster or become invisible against the background of a human figure. And if you take a picture ...
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