Is Pizza are All Right ? – American brands negotiating fractured culture

Tiki Brand got an unwelcome association with the white nationalist movement in August when neo-Nazis and their allies carried Tiki torches in a nigh-time march in Charlottesville . In response they posted a public statement disavowing any connection the extremist views of the far right .

TIKI Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and disappointed. We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.

 

A new problem has emerged in marketing in the polarizing political environment in the United States of America – various far right groups are seeking cultural normalization by associating themselves with a variety of American products & brands. Tiki Brand garnered unwelcome association with neo-Nazi activity, while Papa John’s pizza chain  when its chief executive’s Nov. 1 call with investors, in which he blamed disappointing pizza sales on football players’ protests against racism and police brutality (Source).

 As the marketplace becomes the latest battleground in the culture wars, brand strategists are advising companies accustomed to staying out of the political fray to proactively weigh in with bold statements about race — as Nike and Ben & Jerry’s have done — to thwart attempts by hate groups to adopt brands as their own.

 

More brands are also building up their crisis management teams in preparation for the next racial flare-up, said Tiffany R. Warren, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Omnicom Group, a global marketing and corporate communications holding company. (Washington Post Nov 16 – )

 

 

Keeping in mind the basic Mass Media Principles of Business Interests, Target Audiences, and embedded Values, Ideologies & Beliefs, it is easy to see that in the shifting demographics and polarizing cultural changes of American society, maintaining a viable brand becomes more and more difficult. Social action and public expression of a set of wide inclusive  values & beliefs will become a necessity to prevent a brand & company from being isolated from the larger population and their buying strength .

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Philip K. Dick’s World of Advertising: Branded Dreams

 

Philip K. Dick’s visions of an intrusive manipulated reality is portrayed in this short piece by Studio Smack . Dick explored the concept of consensual reality and the potential conflict between “two levels of reality” – one “objectively” determined, the other a world of appearances imposed upon characters by various means and processes.

 

“Reality is that which , when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”

“Don’t try to solve serious matters in the middle of the (long) night.”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep ?

“This is on a level, and it goes to show you

that you should never take your dreams too seriously.

Or else it shows that the unconscious

or the universe

or God

or whatever can put you on. ”

Studio Smack are Ton Meijdam, Thom Snels and Béla Zsigmond. All three of them studied at the AKV|St.Joost in Breda (Art Academy), The Netherlands. Their animated films gained awards at international film festivals. Studio Smack produces work that in the first analysis has an autonomous value, but often also responds to developments in society, the so-called Design for Debate.  Some of their happy clients are Dutch TV Networks VARA, VPRO and MTV NL, Greenpeace, MOTI, Next Nature, GOD, Graphic Design Festival Breda, Festival Mundial,..and many many more.

 

Here are the creators’ comments on this short media piece. 

“The real question is not: How many ads do we see? The real question is: What do we have to do to see no ads? And the answer is: go to sleep” (James B. Twitchell)

We see ads everyday and everywhere. They have become part of our life. While some people try to avoid seeing ads, advertisers keep finding new ways to reach us. However they are unable to reach us when we sleep. Our dreams are the last safe and add-free place so it seems.

But what happens when advertisers have the possibility to enter our dreams? Based on recent developments in brain science and technology this might be possible in the near future.

This animated short is an impression of a dream infected by a brand we all know…….

 

The question I pose is, … should we view this short a social commentary warning on Mass Media intruding into private consciousness, as Dick speculated on ? Or is it a deconstructed advertisement, masquerading as social commentary – a metaphor for subliminal imagery that is being planted in you dreamscape for later reference ?

 

 
 

 

Advertising Hunger: Values, Beliefs & Ideology

hungergamesposter

 

Jennifer Lawrence disappears in a constructed  reality of marketing  the latest Hunger Games movie. It has been reported in Variety that “ a handful of cities across the Jewish State have cut Lawrence herself out of the film’s posters ”.

 

Israel Mockingjay Posters

In the ultra-Orthodox suburb of Bnei Brak, as well as in the city Jerusalem – where several neighborhoods are heavily religious – only a censored version of the poster, featuring the image of the fiery crown is being displayed. Extreme adherents to Judaism  consider any display of the  female image to be immoral. Ultra-orthodox newspapers and catalogues commonly remove images of females from any images.

While this segment of the population is not the intended target audience for the movie, any advertisements in public space which is frequented by this group risks creating an offence to their cultural views.  Since more militant/aggressive members of the group are known to vandalize images that depict women,  it becomes necessary to be proactive in posting advertising.

Now, in some parts of the world,  the news reports of such public attacks of movie posters would be seen as valuable publicity, in Israel such news reports produce a negative image of the country. So by modifying the advertisements, public behaviour itself is modified.  This in turn constructs a reality that portrays Israel in a different light.  Unfortunately, in this instance the significance of the movie and its female lead makes the altered poster news-worthy and as a consequence, the event creates much the same negative impact as would reports of vandalized posters. Some would see this as worse, since the self-censoring could be interpretation of capitulating to an extreme element of the Israeli population, rather than defying them and treating the vandalization  as a criminal act.

 

Media Principles: Click Those Ads for Helpful Information

Media Principles - Click Ads 1Those  click bait ads for articles and services are ubiquitous.  Just remember to keep in mind the Mass Media Principles. They play to your values, beliefs and ideologies, but what if we change those icon images ? A different constructed reality emerges. How do those business interests and intended  target audiences look now ? Use the principles to view with a slightly ironic eye and underlying intention of the message becomes obvious.

Media Principles - Click Ads 2