Guitar Center: Selling the Greatest Feeling What can a customer expect when they walk into a Guitar Center? In most cases a Guitar Center is just like any other music store but this advertisement deems that it is the only place a musician can find themselves. First introduced in the journal Introduction to psychology, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological concept based on fundamental human necessities. The bottom of the list being the most important at psychological it progresses through safety, love/ belonging, esteem and ends with self-actualization (Kalat 259-260).
Guitar World is a magazine for guitarists ages 12-24 that mostly play electric guitar and like rock music (Guitar World). This Guitar Center advertisement is mostly trying to appeal to the esteem need. Using the atmosphere and wording, the ad claims confidence mostly by implication. It is entirely possible that this store could boost the esteem of these guitarists; however there is no guarantee. This advertisement seems harmless however it is using the basic need of esteem and the idea of confidence to charm the readers into going to Guitar Center.
At a first glance there is a very comfortably dressed man sitting in a room with a guitar; he is leaned back and appears to be playing for fun. All the amplifiers piled in the background along with dim lighting and soft shaded guitars make the atmosphere seem solace. There is not another person in sight, it is a place to play the guitar only for the players’ ears to hear. However this may not be the case when entering a Guitar Center, as there could be plenty of people there. Being peaceful and laid back is a sign of confidence.
The ad uses this to its advantage using the man sitting in the picture to indicate confidence. As a society it can be valued to spend time and effort working hard at something to perfect it. The ad shows that perfectly with the guitarist sitting and working away at practicing the guitar. This advertisement is somewhat directed at those trying to hone the craft, placing a picture that would let them know that they could get better at Guitar Center. They may not have a change of attitude by going to Guitar Center but the use of having a celebrity in the advertisement may further aide in bringing in business.
Looking to the left corner of this advertisement reads the words “James Hetfield”. James Hetfield is a very recognizable name to those who play guitar and listen to the rock genre of music. He is the main vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the popular rock band “Metallica”. Seeing this advertisement a guitarist may be aspiring to play like him or be like him. This may entice the reader to go to Guitar Center as that is where this advertisement claims James Hetfield goes. Celebrity power is looked upon highly in society.
The public wants to look and act like celebrities; this ad features a celebrity that guitarists would look up to and want to be like. Looking closely at the head of the guitar being played, it is a James Hetfield signature guitar. This may show the viewer of the high quality of guitars the store has in stock. The advertisement wants to portray that is has high end products that can heighten anyone’s esteem. Shopping at Guitar Center will not make a guitar player play as well as James Hetfield, nor will it get them a high end guitar.
The ad portrays an image of what it could look like for a consumer if they went to Guitar Center; they could be like Hetfield and play expensive equipment. In relation to using a celebrity to appeal to esteem, the advertisement from Guitar Center also uses wording to affirm esteem needs. The advertisement states “all we sell is the greatest feeling on earth”. However appealing that may sound it is really an empty claim as it is only implied as to what gives that feeling. These words are used to encapsulate the feeling of greatness that will be provided by buying a product from guitar center.
It is also noticeable that the letters for the line “all we sell is the” are smaller than the letters for the line “greatest feeling on Earth”. The advertisement is trying to pull attention towards that line because the idea of feeling good is a hook. Guitar Center does not sell feelings, they sell guitars and accessories. This line also is an example of material possessions being valued so highly in society. The ad slightly mentions that the greatest feeling that could be had is from a material possession.
Thinking of getting a great feeling from a store is a good claim however it is an empty claim as all they really sell are products. Words are used to portray a man with low esteem becoming more confident. Mainly the feeling of confidence is dawned by the words at the side of the page above the signature. The line “I was pretty much afraid of everything” implies that James Hetfield, has very little faith in himself. The next line notes “Afraid of the world, afraid of speaking”, this statement is ironic because of the status of James Hetfield.
He is a world class singer and plays for many fans across the world. That quote indicates the advertisement is trying to emphasize how much of a gap there was to overcome this fear. The advertisement also states “Music was the voice | didn’t have”, this insinuates that using music was how he found himself and also how he got to be a leading vocalist in a successful band. Guitar Center is not specifically named in these three lines; however being in accompaniment with the advertisement it is implied that Guitar Center was a bond for Hetfield to find music.
The lines along with the wording in this advertisement imply a man that found himself. Specifically the advertisement is subtly hinting that he found himself either from buying something at Guitar Center or from being there. In conclusion, this advertisement is geared to lure the reader by appealing to their esteem needs as defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. The atmosphere used in the advertisement for Guitar Center is a big factor in showing what it could be like there; hinting that the store is the place where laid back and peaceful people go.
Using James Hetfield is another tactic used in the ad. It resonates with guitarists that a big name in rock music is shopping at this store. In relation to that the need for esteem is shown in the wording by Hetfield. The advertisement shows the idea of not being afraid and finding a voice. It is insinuated that if that person went to guitar center they could gain confidence like Hetfield did. The James Hetfield Guitar Center ad is trying to be viewed as the place to find contemporary solace with oneself.
Lastly this advertisement shows what is valued in society as a whole. They use hard word, celebrity power and materiel possessions to lure consumers. The advertisement uses the tactics like atmosphere, celebrity endorsement and word play to persuade consumers to shop at Guitar Center. With all that is laid out on the page the ad makes a convincing argument; however many of these arguments have no substance and fall flat when thought is given to what is being said. (1243)