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US Weekly-Public Communications

birth control

This article is one I had to write when in college for my Public Communications class. We were told to write an article on a certain magazine and following different guidelines. Basically, we were meant to study the VALS groups and the PRIZMS groups.



The Magazine

The magazine that was used for this paper is called US Weekly. The primary fields of interest of this magazine are fashion, media and entertainment. The date of the issue is October 3rd, 2005.

The front cover of this issue shows three different stories, each with its own picture and headline, plus a fourth headline on the top left corner. First, the picture covering most of the page is of Renée Zellweger and Kenny Chesney at their wedding, she in her wedding gown and he in his tuxedo. He is kissing her hand. The picture is cut in two. The headline “RENÉE & KENNY SHOCKER!” in dark pink is followed in larger characters by “WHY THEY SPLIT” in bright yellow, followed by “She claims ‘fraud.’ Their 4-month marriage ends. What went so horribly wrong” in white.

Second, a smaller picture of Tori Spelling and Charlie Shanian can be seen on the bottom right corner. The two are holding one another and smiling. The headline reads “TORI SPELLING SPLIT” in bright yellow, with “$1 Million Wedding Mistake” underneath in white. Third, a small picture of Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey, each holding a glass of champagne, is located on the top right corner of the page. The headline reads “Jen & Oprah’s Secret Getaway”. Finally, the last headline is positioned on the top left corner of the page, and reads in capital white letters: “EMMYS BEST DRESSED!”, against a catchy pink background.

The VALS group associated with this magazine cover is Experiencers; the PRIZMS groups are Urban Cores (U1) and Inner Suburbs (S4), and the Life-stages groups are Accumulated Wealth (F1) and Sustaining Families (F4).

Experiencers are young and enthusiastic, and like to look good. They spend most of their money on fashion, entertainment and socializing. The cover page of this magazine will be appealing to them for a few reasons. First, the photos are all of celebrities, such as Renee Zellweger and Oprah Winfrey. Since Experiencers are fans of entertainment, they will most likely recognize these famous actors, singers, etc. and therefore want to read about them. Also, their interest in entertainment and socializing will draw Experiencers to the headlines promising the latest gossip about the lives of these celebrities. Finally, their love for fashion will make them interested in the headline “EMMYS BEST DRESSED!

The Urban Cores and Inner Suburbs groups are composed of young and aging people who are interested in TV news, talk-shows and daytime programming. They will also be drawn to this magazine cover that has news about television stars like Tori Spelling and Jennifer Aniston. The headline about the Emmys, an award ceremony that recognizes the best TV shows, will grab their attention, just like the one about Oprah, one of the most popular talk-shows on television.

The people in the Accumulated Wealth group are “…mostly college-educated, white-collar Baby Boomers living in sprawling homes beyond the nation’s beltways”. They are interested in print media, and since this magazine constitutes print media, it will possibly appeal to them as they might want to read the stories advertised in the headlines. As for the Sustaining Families group, these adults will tune in to just about anything and everything that airs on television and the radio. They have therefore most likely seen the Emmys and will possibly want to check out who the best dressed stars were. Also, they might want to read about Oprah, the queen of talk shows, whom they probably watch all the time.

The first story is entitled “How Oprah’s Helping Jen”. Oprah Winfrey was very compassionate in regards to Jennifer Aniston’s recent divorce from Brad Pitt. “[Jen and Oprah] have become insanely close and talk all the time.” The weekend before Jennifer appeared on Oprah, she brought four of her close friends to Winfrey’s home. Aniston and her friends took a tour of Winfrey’s grounds by golf cart. She and Winfrey even prepared a game plan for the talk-show interview. Although it seems as if Jennifer Aniston is now falling for current costar of The Break Up, Vince Vaughn, the two have decided to take things slow.

This story captures the reader’s attention by its title, subtitles, pictures, quotes, inserts and layout. First, the title and subtitles give readers the desire to read through parts of the story, if not the whole story itself. “Girl Talk” and “Her New Life” are quite captivating to the reader’s eye. For instance, a man may want to know what women talk about when they’re having “Girl Talk”. Just like Aniston’s fans will most likely want to know what’s going on in “Her New Life” and therefore, also want to know “How Oprah’s Helping Jen”. Second, the largest picture shows two pop-culture icons, Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey, having a toast on the talk-show Oprah. This photo of the two women smiling and toasting has a relatively friendly outlook that will draw the reader’s attention.

Next, the quotes will capture the reader’s attention. These quotes provide the reader with just enough information to make them curious and want to read more. The inserts, about Winfrey’s estate and Aniston’s love life, are also a way to attract the reader by allowing them to quickly find out information without having to read the whole article. Finally, the layout of this article is another reason that would keep readers from turning the page. With its many colors and photos, it draws the eye to the page and makes readers want to know the story behind the photos. Also, the fact that this article is cut up in many different sections, and not stuck all together in essay form, is appealing to the reader.

The second story is called “BRITNEY BRINGS BABY HOME”. Britney Spears and Kevin Federline celebrated their one-year anniversary on September 18th. She gave birth to a 6-pound, 11-ounce baby boy, Sean Preston on September 14th, at Santa Monica, California’s UCLA Medical Center. Her husband and parents were all very supportive of her caesarean delivery. Federline’s father-in-law “never liked Kevin, but during this moment, he saw how he loved [Britney]. His whole perception changed.” The day following the birth of the baby, relatives came by the $5,600-a-day hospital suite, playing PlayStation and eating takeout from P.F. Chang’s Chine Bistro. September 16th marked their departure back home to their $7 million Malibu estate.

The pictures and inserts of this story capture the reader’s curiosity. In this item, there are many pictures of toys and baby clothing with price information and a headline which states “Look What Sean Got!” This insert, next to a quite large picture of Britney Spears, will catch the reader’s attention, because Britney is still very young and doesn’t look like a mother in this photo. People may be questioning what are all these baby clothes and toys doing next to a photo of the Pop Princess. Another insert entitled “Stars Give Their Mom Tips To Brit” is also catchy, with headshots of stars such as Heidi Klum and Jada Pinkett Smith with tips for new mom Britney. Not the mention the little baby bottle next to the title of the article “BRITNEY BRINGS BABY HOME”, which will certainly make readers want to read more.

The ad in question is about a birth control pill; therefore it is a pharmaceutical product. Its brand name is Yasmin and Berlex Inc is its manufacturer.

It is always best to know what the pill we’re taking is made of. This slice-of-life tells us that Yasmin contains a different kind of hormone, drsp, which may raise the amount of potassium. Taking this pill has certain benefits. Yasmin can possibly help give shorter and lighter periods, regulate the cycle, and reduce cramps. Yet it is only available by prescription. Also, women over thirty-five who take Yasmin should not smoke, or they will have an increased risk of severe cardiovascular side effects such as blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. Finally, it is important to remember that birth control pills such as Yasmin may prevent pregnancy but will not protect against AIDS and other STDs.

A good title for this ad would be: “The Joy of Yasmin”. There are two characters in this ad: a man and a woman. The photo is in black and white, except for the headline and a small picture of a flower. The man and woman seem to be sitting down, and behind them there is a curtain made of beads. Both individuals are laughing. They appear intimate and in high spirits, perhaps because they are in love. The man is wearing a light buttoned-up shirt and the woman a sleeveless shirt.
The VALS target group relating to this ad is Thinkers. The PRIZMS groups are Midtown Mix (U2) and Middleburbs (S3). As for the Life-stages group, they are Midlife Success (Y1), Mainstream Singles (Y2) and Striving Singles (Y3).

First of all, since responsibility is of great importance to Thinkers, and birth control pills are a responsible technique to use, Thinkers will quite possibly be interested in Yasmin. Moreover, Thinkers like to have as much information as possible before making decisions. This ad is then perfect for them, because it provides them with a whole page containing all the necessary information about Yasmin birth control pills. In addition, Thinkers are practical consumers, who appreciate durability, functionality, and value in the products they purchase. The women Thinkers will, in all likelihood, find Yasmin to be a good purchase.

Midtown Mix consist of childless singles and couples who engage in dynamic social lives. They go to bars, health clubs, and restaurants at high costs, and basically enjoy life the way it currently is. Perhaps these women, who enjoy going out, are not willing to have children just yet, if ever. They would then likely be interested in a birth control pill. As for Middleburbs, they are middle-class singles. They’re often more concerned with work and leisure time than with having children. Yasmin is good for them because it is a contraceptive that allows them to prevent pregnancy and not have to worry about children.

Finally, in regards to Midlife Success, Mainstream Singles, and Striving Singles, the reason this product is suited for them is because they don’t want to become pregnant and have children. Their main reason for making use of the Yasmin birth control pill is to avoid getting pregnant so they can maintain their current lifestyle without children. The two individuals in the ad are both young and smiling, quite possibly enjoying being single and not ready to have a child right now.

This advertisement is very effective in motivating action. First, it alerts the reader to important safety information regarding the product, to be sure that women using this product will be well-informed of its side effects. Second, the headline of this ad, “Do you know what your pill is made of?” captures one’s attention. It gives information about how effective this contraceptive is compared to others, in view of the fact that it is made of the unique hormone, drsp. It relieves the women by mentioning how Yasmin with drsp can help regulate the cycle of periods and reduce cramps. By also citing that it’s “the #1 brand of birth control pill in the U.S.” and advertising its website and phone number, it gives the reader many more options on how to get information about the product and on ways of obtaining it too. Third, it gives a brief summary of the information that can be found in the package on the back of the ad. It also gives instructions, for example how to take the pill and when to start the first pack of pills.
Published: 2006-05-14
Author: Lucille Dana

About the author or the publisher
Born in the city of Montreal, in the year 1987, in a loving home and surrounded by the most wonderful family, I was their little Lulu. Always the shy one in class, would always listen to teachers and do well on class assignments. I would almost never make any spelling or grammar mistakes which was why I decided to do something with this talent of mine. That was when I began writing my own poems, short stories, essays, articles, and many more.

More about me on my website.

www.writesight.com/writers/LuceDuce

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