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Psychoanalysis of Heinz Hot Ketchup Print Ad

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Psychoanalysis of Heinz Hot Ketchup Print Ad

  1. 1. Heinz – Hot Ketchup Figure 1: Heinz - Hot Ketchup While analysing advertisements, it is considered crucial to look for certain hidden media messages within their content. A psychoanalytic analysis of advertisements, according to Berger (2005), is an investigation of human mind, especially, the unconscious mind, building on psychological theories of Sigmund Freud. Further, Berger explains that people’s behaviour is influenced by their unconscious. Often, people do not know that they are driven by certain desires, fears, needs and conflicts of which they are unaware. Today Freud’s psychoanalytic conceptis applied to explicate how the media work and how they affect people. Researchers have been able to determine that media is one of the best platforms to influence viewers and consumers who are exposed to advertisements on a daily basis. Advertisements were then designed to carry certain hidden messages that
  2. 2. were, more often than not, sexual in nature. Although this pattern has been seen prominently in that of alcohol and especially beer advertisements, several other brands and products picked up on this technique and used it to their benefit. According to Delahoyde, Freud also conveyed that many media texts, like dreams, express the hidden unconscious desires and anxieties of the creators. In addition, advertisers have identified the use of Freud’s structural hypothesis for the mind as a powerful tool to exploit the viewer’s unconscious desires and anxieties. Heinz – a ketchup brand most known for their playful and creative advertisements, both in print and broadcast took a rather unique turn with their “Heinz – Hot Ketchup” advertisement. This single image advertisement is far from simple but very well placed. The advertisement uses strong sexual appeal rather evidently with a brilliant use of product placement with some chicken, asparagus and cabbage to go with it. The advertisement consists of a plate of unsuspicious looking food – but only on the first glance. Once looked at clearly, one can see a plate consisting of chicken wings, chicken balls, some asparagus and cabbage and of course – Heinz Ketchup. What stands out most in the advertisement is how wonderfully the ketchup has been used on the chicken. While the wings take the shapeof two legs hanging mid-air as well as the torso, the chicken balls serve as a face, two breasts and random décor. The asparagus on the right of the plate emotes that of a hand outstretched. The cabbage perhaps takes the place of a bed. The ketchup can be found strategically placed on top of the chicken balls a.k.a breasts as well as the lips. A viewer might on first glance be confused about the productbeing advertised. It might even come off as a McDonald or KFC or any popular fast food restaurant. But to the top right of the image, the Heinz ketchup logo stands mighty – with all
  3. 3. its red and white contours. Also, it can be noted that the placing of the food on the plate as well as the background of the image denoted a fancy restaurant and not a fast food joint or any regular place. The element of luxury, indulgence and elitism can be seen in the placing of the product. The table is also decorated with a pair of stainless steel knife and fork as well as salt and pepper to go with it. Even though the composition of the advertisement primarily uses soft colours, the perfectly fried orange of the chicken, the green of the cabbage and the asparagus, and the red and white of the Heinz never fails to miss the eye. Often, advertisers use their products to favour a consumer’s Id and create an element of desire in their minds. This they do byprojecting certain sexual images orcontent in the advertisements so that they could possiblydenote more than they are meant to. This advertisement serves as a brilliant example of how advertisers try to recreate an individuals suppressed desires and feelings by a mere clever placing of some chicken, asparagus and ketchup. Also, the name of the product being advertised is itself ‘Hot’ ketchup and the brand has managed to portray hot in every way possible. Hot – as in chicken hot or chicken wings hot and even hot, as in, hot lady on a bed of cabbage! This advertisement is, basically, HOT symbolism at its best. - Nikita Shroff (1537147) Chetna Sethia (1537138)