Reading an Advertisement

Hewlett Packard’s goal is to persuade the reader that HP products, specifically their toner cartridges, are essential to get ahead in the business world. Through the strategic placement of color in the ad, the use of a woman as the central figure, and manipulative writing, readers are attracted to this ad by the false premise that use of this Hewlett Packard product will insure them success and individuality in corporate America. However, when you look beyond the superficial situation that is shown in the ad, the truth behind this scenario remains to be seen. The ad represents that success in corporate America is the result of one’s individuality and the technology they use rather then conformity to a standard and lots of hard work.

Hewlett Packard attempts to convince working class Americans, at any point of their career in corporate America, that in order to get ahead in life they must use a HP toner cartridge. They reach out blue collar Americans by targeting white males and even more so white females, by drawing on bad memories or mistakes that every worker has made in the work place, "the black powder on your fingerprints." Then to comfort the reader they use the reassurance that this toner cartridge will eliminate the problems which have set them back in the past, and will take their work to the next level by giving them a new freedom as an individual in the workplace.

Hewlett Packard uses simple visual components of color to persuade the reader that it is possible to rise above the blurred black and white uniformity of corporate America and stand out clearly as an individual. Just as the colored cartridge in the ad grabs the reader’s attention, the ad gives hope that you can be the one who stands out in your workplace. The colored cartridge is also strategically placed so that it draws the reader’s eyes to the paragraph explaining the benefits of the cartridge. It is in this paragraph that Hewlett Packard can clearly convince the reader the benefits of their products. There is another subtle advertisement within these writings, "only HP cartridges are designed to be used with your HP printer." Now HP has moved from convincing you to buy the cartridge to informing readers that they must also purchase the printer to achieve the complete benefit of any HP product.

The only other color on the ad appears on a couple of words in gold text, which appeal to the individual’s desire to be successful in the business world. The appeal to self and personal success is HP’s attempt to move the average business employees from a position where they are under control of their supervisors, to the place where they can stand for themselves and free from "corporate bondage." The points of color are the four parts of the ad that the creator wants you to see most so that the product, Hewlett Packard toner cartridge, and the idea that you can be an individual, controlling your own success remain imprinted on the reader’s mind. However, the truth about the corporate world is that it is so big and overpowering that one individual, even one with the HP toner cartridge, will not have a significant impact on the structure of business in America today.

Along with the selective use of color and self-focusing text this Hewlett Packard ad uses a woman to present the ideal situation of the success as an individual in the corporate world. By using the feminist agenda for equal rights and drive for high position in the workplace, they develop a need for a good presentation. Crisp details are shown in the trees and grasses, but both the woman and the business buildings, corporate America, are nothing but a blur. The placement of the woman out in a grass field, separated by trees from the corporate world, would infer to the reader that this toner cartridge has freed her from her daily struggle in the workplace, but what if there’s a different angle by which the situation could be viewed. The businesswoman could be leading a life that is completely surrounded and built within her work, where every aspect of her life is hemmed together through her success and drive at work. Hewlett Packard is building on the principle that an individual is insignificant in the business world and builds on the assumption that in order to advance yourself in a company, you must show yourself to be better then the rest. "How you look, can depend on how you look on paper" is Hewlett Packard’s acknowledgment that the presentation of an employee as an individual is an intricate part of corporate America and that their product is the only way to set yourself apart.

Hewlett Packard appeals to the selfish ambition within every human being as they try to convince the reader that their product will advance one’s status in corporate America. The ad gives hope in the lie that one can be an individual and shine at work, but the harsh reality is that corporate America is the absence of individuals for the good of a company. Through careful appeals to the human mind, this lie is presented convincingly and many will seek hope in the HP toner cartridge as their transport to success. However, the corporate world, visible in the background, completely surrounds the individual worker, and no matter how hard she works, or how clear and impressive her work, she will struggle to break free of the corporate system and successfully creating her own identity, will probably never occur.