Captain America’s Shield is Norton

You could not have a better example of the first Mass Media Principle All Mass Media have business interests. – than this background trailer(featurette)  for the new Captain America movie. There is a sub-text that couldn’t be more in your face. Start with the full title : Norton Presents: Full Captain America “Behind the Shield” Featurette . Well the first word is Norton, as in Norton Antivirus and Internet Security. So the audience is to identify the Norton brand with Captain America and specifically his “Marvelous” indestructible  retro-future-tech shield. This is emphasized by the use of the word presents. It implies a direct involvement in creating it – the way Apple or Microsoft would present their latest product.

Now keep in mind that the shield protect the Captain, and the Captain protects America and the freedom loving world. This naturally leads into the basic Claims and Appeals of Advertising .

While there are no specific product claims made for the Norton brand of products, there are claims made for Captain America’s shield. The implied inferences by association is that Norton products share in these qualities and the related claims. The appropriate claims would be:

1) Product Superiority

2)Test Results

3) Product Benefits

4) Product Reliability

5) Product Endorsements
   – Celebrity testimonial/association
   – Expert testimonial 
 – Employee testimonial
All of these types of claims were part of the description of the shield. In that this is a fictional product that is part of a narrative which is a comic-book superhero fantasy. ( Comic-book superhero fantasy is its own genre. It blends science fiction, mythology, and other types of fantasy with the pulp hero tradition. See earlier posts on the pulp and superhero templates.) So technically the whole inference is a version of the last type of  advertising claim – weasel words.
Notice how the featurette blend realities when describing the shield. 1) The shield as an actual thing in the narrative almost a character in and of itself. 2) The shield as a necessary component to the comic-book narrative – an element  that extends the character’s range of abilities and propels the narrative,and as a dynamic visual that enhances the flow of comic’s sequential graphic narrative. 3) The shield as an important prop-element in the movie. All three emphasize creativity, design, and the effectiveness of the shield in each context. By inference Norton’s products would share these qualities.
Now consider the emotional appeals that become associated with Norton products.
1) Image & Self    ** Success    *** One of the Crowd ***A Person of Distinction       2)  Patriotism
The implication is that just as Captain America has his shield, you can have be a protector and be protected by choosing Norton products.  By protecting your computer/network you fight the bad guys and are protecting your home, country, and the freedom loving world. This all combines in the constructed reality of the movie that evokes a time when America  and her allies fought the last just war.
Again consider the full title and the use of the word featurette.  They harken back to those simpler times when you could go to a movie and see the feature film, a cartoon, a newsreel, and a second shorter film – such as a serial, like Flash Gordon or Captain America.
This constructed reality extends to the poster for the new movie. It emulates the style of those old movie posters.
Compare to these original posters from the 1930’s. Notice the intentional similarities in style of layout, colour, lettering, and language.
So an effective movie campaign is expanded to market computer security software. Look out Steve Rogers, you have awakened in the 21st century (oops, spoilers) and it has been conquered by Mass Media.

2 thoughts on “Captain America’s Shield is Norton

    • I tell my students that if you are aware of the claims and appeals they have less influence on you. The influence is seldom on a conscious level of awareness. Emotional and subtle connections of ideas have more influence on our choices. frequent exposure to the message will re-enforce the impact and influence of the emotional connections. So I don’t think the target audience honestly buys in because the advertisers intent is to trick them into buying the product.

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