Magazine Ad Analysis

The following is a review of five selected magazine advertisements. Some of the advertisements have been chosen from award-winning ads located in the archives of Click on each ad link below or scroll down to review the analysis of each ad. If you desire to review the advertisement more closely, click on the ad image itself to see a larger version.

Advertisement 1: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, It Sells Itself

Advertisement 2: Goodwill, Belt

Advertisement 3: Mercedes, Good night, Boss

Advertisement 4: On the Job, Concrete

Advertisement 5: Vanish-Ink, Mr. Roarke


Advertisement 1: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, 2016

 “It Sells Itself

About the Advertisement:

The magazine ad for Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar is copy-heavy with a few illustrations. It might be considered a throw-back advertisement to another time when printing pictures or color advertisements were quite costly. The ad copy humorously explores why Bragg would need to advertise its best-selling product and in doing so explores the virtues of that product. This ad is one in a campaign.

The advertisement engages the curiosity of reader with the headline to capture attention, and then uses humor to deliver the message the quality of its product.


The purpose of the ad appears to be to educate consumers about the quality of the product, making sure to highlight its “organic” feature, and has an end goal of increasing sales and gaining market share. Since Bragg is a private company, it is unknown as to whether these advertisements are effective.

Target Market:

The target market is unclear, but it appears to be those consumers who already buy apple cider considering how it calls itself out as making “way better apple cider than the other guys….We can’t really think of an other guy.”

Call to Action:

The call to action is subtle, but it is to buy Bragg.

Value Proposition:

We’ve been organic and healthy for over 100 years. We withstood the test of time, and you will find no better apple cider on the market.

Advertisement 2: Goodwill, 2016


About the Advertisement:

Belt is part of a multi-media campaign from Goodwill and the Ad Council. The ad shows tiny construction workers “working” on a pants belt as if it were a road. A pair of blue jeans and the belt buckle are showing in the background to help the reader establish the scale of the construction workers. It carries the logo for Goodwill and the Ad Council, along with the tagline “Donate Stuff. Create Jobs along with the URL

The advertisement triggers the curiosity of the reader and then engages emotion and an altruism motivation.


The ad and campaign’s goal is to encourage readers to donate items. On an emotional level, the ad helps the reader connect with the idea that it’s not only corporations that create jobs and that the reader through the simple act of donating an unwanted, everyday item, can contribute to creating jobs for others. This is a powerful and motivating message because most everyone has something that could be donated to Goodwill.

The ad and campaign were launched in December 2016 and Goodwill have not yet publicly reported any statistics of donations for comparison to prior years. However, in 2015 the organization stated that it employed and provided community services for more than 89 million people and placed more than 318,000 individuals in employment (Goodwill Staff, 2015).

Target Market:

The target market for the ad is broad, as virtually anyone with an unused piece of clothing, household appliance, tool or other items can donate it to Goodwill. The target of the ad may be better defined by the publication in which it appears, but it is likely that the ad focus on those who have higher levels of disposable income.

Call to Action:

The call to action is to donate unused items to Goodwill.

Value Proposition:

You, too, can create jobs. Goodwill turns your donations into jobs and helps put people to work, which not only helps those less fortunate, but it also helps the economy.

Advertisement 3: Mercedes, 2010

 “Good night, Boss

About the Advertisement:

This ad for Mercedes-Benz is a tribute ad to George Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees. Mr. Steinbrenner, whose hands-on management style earned him the nickname “The Boss,” often wore the aviator-style sunglasses shown in the advertisement. Presumably, he was a fan of Mercedes-Benz automobiles. The ad shows those trademark sunglasses and carries the headline, “Good night, Boss,” along with Mr. Steinbrenner’s birth and death dates, and the Mercedes-Benz logo.

The advertisement evokes emotion for Steinbrenner’s life and legacy with the New York Yankees.


That ad’s key objective is to pay homage to Steinbrenner in his passing. Although, it is also an identity association and brand-building ad for the Mercedes. Whether Steinbrenner was the owner of a Mercedes or not, by his ownership of the New York Yankees it is assumed he was wealthy. Mercedes creates an association between its brand and Steinbrenner through that wealth.

Tribute ads like this one are risky for a brand, and the effectiveness is difficult to measure. Steinbrenner might have had a strong association with Mercedes making the advertisement fitting with his passing, yet some may see the ad as exploitive.

Target Market:

The ad’s target market is primarily upper-middle class and upper-class fans of the New York Yankees and George Steinbrenner. Its secondary market is likely to be upper-middle class and upper-class baseball fans.

Call to Action:

This ad does not have a call to action. It is purely brand building.

Value Proposition:

Here’s to George Steinbrenner. He was in a class all of his own. And so is Mercedes-Benz.

Advertisement 4: On The Job, 2009


About the Advertisement:

Concrete is an ad for On The Job hand lotion is one of three in a campaign showing the hands of tradesmen at work. The black and white ad features a pair of hands laying what appears to be a cinderblock foundation. The texture of the skin on the hands is rough and in many places cracked and broken.

The only color showing in the ad is a depiction of the On the Job hand lotion in the lower right corner, accompanying the tagline: “Repairs hands that work for a living.”


The ad’s goal it to increase sales of its product. The ads effectiveness is unknown. Additional information is not determinable as there is little information available about its manufacturer, Wharton Innovative Products, in online searches.

Target Market:

Because of its imagery, the primary target market for this ad appears to be male masons or similar tradesmen whose hands take a beating while working with rough materials such as concrete, brick, or stone. A secondary market would be all male tradesman or home handymen who have rough hands. A tertiary market could be the spouse or significant other of a tradesman.

Call to Action:

The call to action is suggestive rather than direct. It suggests purchasing the hand lotion.

Value Proposition:

Those men who work for a living deserve softer hands, too. And so do their wives, partners, significant others, children, and grandchildren.

Advertisement 5: Vanish-Ink, 2008

 “Mr. Roarke

About the Advertisement:

Mr. Roarke is an ad for Vanish-Ink, a Charlotte, NC Tattoo removal company. It features a photography of Ricardo Montalban in character as Mr. Roarke from the 1970’s television show, Fantasy Island. In the show, Mr. Roarke and his sidekick, Tattoo, great arriving guests at the beginning of the show and see them off at the end of the show. The photograph used in the ad depicts one of those moments, showing only Mr. Roark and not his sidekick. In place of his sidekick, Tattoo is the logo for Vanish-Ink.

This advertisement evokes humor from the reader.


The aim of this ad shows readers how easy it is to make a tattoo disappear. The goal is to increase sales.

Target Market:

The target market is tattooed children and young adults of the 1970’s who were fans of the television show, Fantasy Island, or those from the same era who have sufficient knowledge of pop culture to identify with the advertisement.

Call to Action:

The call to action is for the reader is to contact Vanish-Ink, presuming the reader has a tattoo that he or she wants to eliminate. Like the newsprint advertisement reviewed last week, the company virtually hides it website URL and does not provide a telephone number.

Value Proposition:

It’s not fantasy. We can make tattoos vanish.

Featured  Image Source: Getty Images, Thurston Hopkins



Goodwill Staff (2015, May). About Goodwill Industries®. Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from

Last Updated on October 5, 2017 by David Harkins


  1. Margaret McAlister


    I liked your choice of ads. I love the Goodwill ad Belt. Goodwill I have noticed has become very creative in their adds lately. They have a billboard ad that is also an attention grabber. They must have hired a good marketing company to project more up to date attention grabbing ads. It almost reminds me of Chick fil a ads. Another favorite was Concrete ad. I have a friend that works outside and is constantly trying to fight dry hands with different lotions so I immediately thought this was very effective.

    • Thanks, Margaret.

      Those who work with their hands would likely place a high value on finding the best lotion to fight dry skin. I agree that the imagery helps convey the message and potential value of the advertised hand lotion. And because of that, I find it quite compelling for the target market.

  2. David,
    I enjoyed your ad selections and analyses. As a person who loves to thrift for clothes my favorite was Goodwill. “The ad and campaign’s goal is to encourage readers to donate items. On an emotional level, the ad helps the reader connect with the idea that it’s not only corporations that create jobs and that the reader through the simple act of donating an unwanted, everyday item, can contribute to creating jobs for others.” After reading this statement I will forever look at consignment shops differently. I have been a thrift-er for many years and never thought about how job seekers benefit from other’s donations. Looking at the photo for the ad has an underlying message that by donating a belt, it could be a ticket to a job seeker getting a job. Even if it is manual labor. There are still a lot of societal norms that a lot of employers adhere to and for a man wearing a belt is one of them.

    • This ad does make us think differently about services like Goodwill or other consignment shops, doesn’t it? While Goodwill’s job creation mission is more direct, any consignment shop does the same. I’m glad you saw this and brought it to my attention. I’ll think about Goodwill’s mission a little differently now, too.

  3. Hi David,

    I really enjoyed your magazine advertisements. The “Belt” Goodwill ad really targeted me because, I love second hand stores. However, the ad really made me realize that anyone can help individuals to gain and keep employment through donating. This is so simple; likewise, I have decided to donate this weekend!

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. sn


    Thanks for another great post. I found the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar ad to be a nice twist of the norm as well. I enjoy this product and their focus on keeping it simple. They use real ingredients and a classic, honest, way of processing. So, I guess the advert matches their model. I also liked the Mr. Roarke ad – mainly because it nods to the past. Fantasy Island was one of those programs that was on the tube a lot when I was a kid. During the days of this TV program, old westerns, and black-n-white re-runs frequented the console television that sat beautifully in my grandparents living room. I remember spending a lot of time at my grandparents home in IL as a free-spirited kid. Being that my grandfather served in the Navy meant that I got to observe his dancing muscle tattoos with a front-row seat. He was nice enough to oblige when all of us (the grandchildren) insisted on asking about the story around each of his “Navy” tattoos. We got a real kick out of asking him over and over again. I think he actually enjoyed the nuisance; he was a quiet man who came alive around specific topics. The first, being my angel of a grandmother. The second, old stories of the Navy days. The third, the fact that WWE was actually real-life wrestling! He would get us howling with laughter when he served up his “proof-and-facts” as to why WWE is actually real. This of course was allows done in the presence of other family members who scoffed at his facts. We (the kids) would just laugh and play varying sides of the conversation, as it became (uhhhemmm) more playful as it went along. Well, I guess we can see where ads can take us can’t we? The missing “Tatoo” brought back a long-lost memory of tattoos and perfection. A shout-out to Charlotte’s Vanish-Ink… especially being that I happen to be visiting the Queen City as I write this post. Thanks for the nice walk down memory lane David (and Vanish Ink).


    • Bragg does an excellent job playing to the organic oriented customer. The ad does indeed align well with their brand.

      Those of us who like the Vanish-Ink ad are showing our age. 😉 It’s clearly effective for our generation. Enjoy your time in my town this weekend.

  5. Austin Parker


    Excellent ads and thoughts. Having looked through so many ads over the course of this class, I have really developed a new-found appreciation for the creativity and effort that goes into making an effective advertisement. As a matter of fact, it has actually switched the way that I view ads to a completely new way. In the past, I would typically see ads as annoyance. “Oh another ad *skip* *flip*”, I didn’t even bother looking at them most of the time. But now I find myself doing the exact opposite – I’m actually reading the ad in detail, and in more detail than most people who saw the ad probably did!

    I suppose that is a good thing, though. Looking at ads a little closer will help us gather ideas for our own, when the time comes.


    • Thanks, Austin. I’ve long looked at ads. Early in my career, I was an agency copywriter and then media director. I love advertising just for the sake of it. But great advertising connects, and I’m always excited to see that happen. I’m glad to hear you’re diving into ads a little more, too! Deciphering the advertising of others will make you a better marketer in the long run.

  6. For me the Belt ad is confusing. I would have turned the page.
    The Boss ad is very classy. It of course made a lot more sense in 2010. The grey scale and shading make it very attractive and will stop the reader from flipping the page. The main problem is one cannot continue this campaign so it is mostly a one off approach.
    I agree that the hand lotion ad might work for a tradesman and I am assuming it was in a magazine that they read. For someone that mostly uses the hands to type on a keyboard, it isn’t going to be very effective.

    Mr. Roarke. Absolutely love it. Of course you might have to be older to understand so the ad limits its market to older folks who want to rid themselves of tattoos AND who watched Fantasy Island (how many are we talking!). But since older people have the money that’s in their favor I guess. I love an ad that makes me laugh. I would remember this ad and recommend that someone who complains about an older tattoo check it out.

    • I like the Vanish-Ink ad, too. I agree it limits the market, but I guess there was probably some research that associated tattoo regret with that market. Regardless, if you’ve seen the show, the visual is quite funny.

      I agree with you on the hand lotion ad. One of the challenges with this assignment is, so few of the sources for the ads tell us the target publication. For magazines particularly, knowing the magazine provides so much more information about the intended audience for the ad.

  7. Hi David,

    Great choices! My favorite was the good will ad. It was very eye catching, and it made you want to look into the concept of this ad more. I love shopping at the Goodwill, and to know when I donate items, it helps many more than those purchasing those goods. I like the overall concept of the good will, not only do they have donation sites like what the ad mentioned, but they have this great website that helps you learn new skills. Love this company!

  8. Hi David,
    Good looking ads to review.

    Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar looks like a good organic ad that appealed to anyone who can read this ad. It is a classic ad and is still today a good and viable product I use almost every day.

    Belt is part of a multi-media campaign from Goodwill and the Ad Council is a good ad but I do not think it is a powerful ad. It is a bit busy and in my opinion will not keep the audiences opinion.

    Mercedes-Benz is a tribute ad to George Steinbrenner is an ad that I feel is very regional. I do not think that it is an ad for the entire country. In my opinion if they showed this ad outside of new York the readership would be so limited that it was not worth the money to do so.

    Concrete is an ad for On The Job hand lotion is one of three in a campaign showing the hands of tradesmen at work. I feel this ad is a bit of an overkill that looks painful to see and in stead of looking at it makes me want to turn away. In my opinion this ad was not a good choice.

    Mr. Roarke is an ad for Vanish-Ink, looks to be a good product but would not be my first choice in an ad to represent a product like this. Cute, somewhat effective but if it was my choice I would have kept searching for a new ad.


    • I agree that the Mercedes ad was probably regional. It’s so hard to tell when pulling from a web search of ads. Although I do think there are Steinbrenner fans across the globe, it probably would play better in the New York Area.

      Vanish-Ink’s ad has a narrow audience–those who remember Fantasy Island. It’s useful for that audience; I think if they have tattoo’s to be removed. Perhaps the market research suggests that individuals of a certain age have the greatest regrets about tattoos. In which case, this might be perfectly a targeted. Otherwise, I agree with you. Outside that target, it’s not very effective.

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Magazine Ad Analysis

by David Harkins time to read: 6 min
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