Have you ever come across a piece of advert with images so apt you didn’t need to rack your brain to figure out it’s message? I mean an advert in which the images/graphics used (alone) says it all? In case you haven’t, the Pepsodent advert below is a perfect example of one!

Images and words (copy) form the body of all advert content. They are the tools an advertiser adopt to project his message to the target audience. When both are expertly fused, they make for an effective advert. However, much more, an advert is superb when the creator skilfully captures his message in images without belabouring it with too many words and this is what the creator of the Pepsodent advert did.

Images tend to have a more profound effect on the mind of the audience than words or verbal elements do. What is more, they further aid the power of recall than their verbal counterparts. The creator of this advert – who, for the sake of this article, I’ll call Taylor – understands this fact and cleverly utilises it.
Let’s deconstruct Taylor’s creation to see how he came about so apt an advert:


You see, Taylor didn’t just set out to develop this advert for Pepsodent without taking cognizance of the situational context in which the advert was put out. He was conscious of the prevailing atmosphere at the time he created it. The period in which this advert was published was during the Easter festivity hence a religious setting/atmosphere. Taylor was too smart to ignore the fact that people (especially in this part of the world) attach a great deal of significance to spirituality. Hence, rather than create an everyday/basic advert for Pepsodent, he decides to portray his message using the essence of Easter, the prevailing mood of the time.


Simple! He skilfully manipulates images to make them serve a dual yet uncanny purposes; fusing the symbols from two distinct areas – religion and dentistry – in order to reinforce his message. Bear in mind that the advert is for Pepsodent, a toothpaste manufacturing company.


In the advert in question, Taylor presents us with a foregrounded image of what appears to be the opening/entrance to an unsealed tomb at daybreak with the emerging twilight from the horizon shining on the entrance. This image is one that bears great significance to the Christian faith and amplifies the message of Easter: Christ was killed and interred in a sealed tomb. He however rose again on the third day hence, the unsealing of the tomb. The concept of ‘daybreak’ used in the advert suggests a new dawn; the twilight heralds a new beginning. Put it together: Christ has risen and his resurrection births a ‘new life’ for those who believe him.


Take a second/close look at the foregrounded image of the tomb’s entrance. Don’t you think it looks so much like a bloated version of a human tooth? Exactly! That’s what Taylor intended it to be. Taylor is not necessarily into the Easter thing neither is he into ‘tomb graphics’.
His intention was simply to use a symbol of the prevailing season to paint a bigger picture in the mind of his audience. He is aware that most tomb entrances are spherical in shape; that of Jesus probably so too.

Since he is trying to design an advert for a company that specializes in the human teeth, he simply adopts an image that can unanimously project the religious essence of the moment and the company’s interest – human teeth. Hence, he smartly carves the entrance to the tomb into the shape of a tooth and makes the twilight shine on it. Just so you know what product he is trying to promote, he inserts the Pepsodent thumbnail at the base.


By using the (religious) images of the tomb’s opening and the twilight beaming on it, Taylor is trying to pass a subtle message from Pepsodent across to the target audience. he is saying “Just as the resurrection of Christ ushers in a new dawn/beginning, so does the introduction of Pepsodent as your choice toothpaste usher in a new chance at a healthy, cavity-free teeth”.

Pepsodent is the saviour-of-a-toothpaste that can and will transform the poor condition of your teeth into a new/healthy one.
Taylor’s copy – ‘a new dawn, a new chance at healthy teeth’ – merely amplifies the message portrayed by the graphics. Without it, a discerning audience will catch the drift as the images in itself already say it all. This is the hallmark of a well-crafted visual content (images/designs) for adverts.

Don’t you think Taylor deserves a medal?

Image Credits:

Pepsodent Facebook ad: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2306765332913620&id=1458877144369114

“What makes an ad effective?”: Black Dog Designs

Pepsodent: http://www.hul.co.in/Images/pepsodent_tcm1255-408779.png