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.

 

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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

Volkswagen Devil Logo – What Stays in the Dog Park

 

volkswagen devil logo

An ironic logo combines with a pet owner’s  bumper sticker ( I spotted this while on a family outing ) to make a social commentary about the Volkswagen Emission Standards Software Scandal.  As that little devil says, “what happens in the dog park, stays in the dog park”.  Unfortunately, the company’s dog-poo has come  back with a vengeance.

VW Sham

Meanwhile, “A new website called VWsham.com is selling magnetic bumper stickers bearing anti-VW slogans, such as “Another VW? No tanks,” “VW took me for a ride,” and “VW. German for FU.” Each magnet costs $7.50, with 5% of sales going to the International Council for Clean Transportation, according to the site.” ( Source Link )

Besides the impact this scandal will have on Volkswagen, the German economy and general attitudes towards vehicle technology, this revelation demonstrates how our culture, and the economy that sustains it, is all about information and controlling it. 

Volkswagen designed and used software to manipulate data. It sought to control information to enhance the marketability of their products. When this came to light it creates a wave of distrust that taints not only the information it provided to its target audience, but also information coming from other sources, companies and independent agencies. This is not dissimilar to the public’s distrust of government agencies and political messages; all become tarred with the same brush.

Notice it is  a company that aligns itself with the aggrieved consumer, giving them a way of communicating their frustrations and sense of betrayal, that attempts to capitalize on the scandal.  Recognizing that giving  the target audience a means to express themselves in such a way that the consumer’s personal message is directly connected to the product causing the frustration ( devaluing the consumer’s self-image) is very effective understanding of an information & messaging mass media dominant culture.

It will be interesting to see how Volkswagen, the car industry and other stakeholders try to  control the flow of information and how the public with respond to these attempts. In the meantime, those who understand the cultural need to interact and express ideas & feelings through various mass media platforms have an opportunity capitalize financially/socially.

 

Ontario Sex-ed: Mass Media Conveys Values, Beliefs & Ideologies

Though I have been retired from teaching for a few years now, I can clearly remember in my first couple of years of teaching when  one  young fellows ( Grd. 10-11)  was in the English Department Office . While there,  getting some information on an assignment, he casually asked one of the teachers some advice on dating/asking out a girl.  A short while later he was walking hand in with a young lady.

 

He was a thin pale gawky kid of bookish demeanor ,while the young lady in question was a lovely girl with dark tresses and eyes that spoke of her African heritage.  Even now I smile at the thought that no one batted an eye at this  inter-racial couple. It didn’t matter – I thought we were on our way to a better society.

By the time I was approaching retirement,  we had  a school support group for gay students . Students were feeling more comfortable self-identifying and non-gay students were supportive of them. There were still some issues, but again I thought we were on our way to a better society.

The Ontario Sex-ed curriculum has been updated (from 1998) to acknowledge changes in science, medicine, social norms and the impact of social media and media devices on society. 

 

The new curriculum mandates that students in Grade 4 be taught the risks associated with communications technology, including sharing sexual photos or personal information and cyber-bullying, and strategies to use the technologies safely.

Grade 5 students get a bit more in-depth on what’s appropriate in relationships. “Sharing private sexual photos or posting sexual comments online is unacceptable and also illegal,” the curriculum says.

There has been push-back from various groups in society, some of which has been generated by intentional misinformation by politically/ideologically motivated groups or individuals.

There was a trap set by easy news shorthand – most news gathering organizations went for the “colourful exotic” image of protestors, with the implied message that most protestors were of Arabic and Asian (India/Pakistan) background .

Saying No to Sex-Ed in OntarioIn reality the groups protesting are more diverse, but many hold common beliefs about  family role in education, sexual orientation and strong to moderate  importance placed on cultural and religious background. Not all are newcomers, non-European or belong to religions other than Christianity. 

The equal diversity in those supporting the new Sex-Ed mandate has only recently hit the news gathering institutions – Muslim, newcomer groups join coalition supporting sex-ed

 This  arises from an online petition defending the New Ontario Curriculum .  The video at the top of the post is also by this group.  As you can see there is an attempt to balance out, not just the negative atmosphere surrounding the revised educational resources, but also emphasis on a negative portrayal of newcomers to Canada and non-Christian groups.

There is much work to be done in this area.  I suspect that the underlying concern is with cultural attitudes towards gender roles and sexual orientation.  We as a society have only recently moved forward in acceptance of differences in sexual orientation. Not all are accepting of this change in attitude and behaviour.  The education system will be one of the places where the lines of discomfort will come to the attention of the public in a very emotional manner.  Mass Media will play a significant role in how smoothly society navigates this issue.