Informed Opinion 2
Why bother using any real objects in an ad if 90% of what is shown in the end, wasn’t even the original product? What passes us by in advertisements is only a small portion of what it really is. If an edge isn’t being smoothed out, colors are being brightened. If eyes aren’t being blown up, necks are getting resized. If an ad has to be photoshopped, the result is a gross exaggeration of the truth.
Scenario: You are on a road trip with your friends. You guys get hungry and pass a Burger King billboard. Look’s good right? A giant Whopper, perfectly salted fries, and those beads of condensation pouring down that medium Coke cup with all the ice cubes sticking out of the top – just looks delicious. You guys pull over, go inside, order your food and sit down. You can’t help but feel slightly disappointed since the lettuce on your Whopper is soggy and limp and the fries are overcooked. But hey at least you got to enjoy that sweaty soda experience right? Those big condensation beads sure did indicate a cold drink, and a cold drink is exactly what you got – cold and unfortunately for you, watery.
The reality is by the time you get to that amount of condensation, too much ice has melted! But they leave perfectly un-melted, bulging cubes in the ad because they want you to see how ‘refreshing’ it is. That is why photoshopping should not be allowed period. It’s not being truthful to consumers and it is unfair – especially to those who don’t know any better. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has a site regarding what photo manipulation entails. It states, “Photo manipulation is the act of altering a photo using computer software to improve the look, beauty and readability of the image. Frequently it’s difficult for a viewer to differentiate between a manipulated image and reality.” I would imagine that a company may try to justify photoshopping by saying, “people wouldn’t buy it if it doesn’t look good”. However I don’t think that’s necessarly true. For example if all advertisements stopped being altered, people probably wouldn’t prefer one thing over another if every single ad were all normal. People wouldn’t stop spending just because companies stopped editing ads. People still spend now even though a lot of them know what they are looking at isn’t real. For example, “Many of us like to think that we’re smart enough not to be reduced to shivering masses of insecurity simply because we see a David’s Bridal ad in which the model’s waist is magically smaller than her head. In 2008, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that women who saw images of very thin actresses and models experienced a negative effect on their body image.”
I was browsing the internet one night for something. One of those small ad’s on the sides of the screen popped up. It was for a weight loss ad. The advertisement was so poorly edited that a five year old could have recognized it was altered. There was a before and after picture of a woman’s stomach side by side. The “before” picture was ridiculously stretched out to the point where you could see pixilation. The “after” picture looked like a normal stomach which might have just been the original picture, which (if it was the original) that the girl in photo was probably never overweight to begin with. I felt like emailing them saying, “do you even photoshop, bro?” It looked like they used Microsoft Paint. Which leads to another issue. Women and body image is something that we struggle with on a regular basis. It’s not necessary to shove fake/’enhanced’ photos of celebrities on the red carpet. If ads were not allowed to alter photos, I think there would be a huge increase in female self-esteem, and I think we would see a reduction in eating disorders.
Beauty Redefined posted an article about photoshopped images and the affect it has on women, “What we see in media, and what we may be internalizing as normal or beautiful, is anything but normal or beautiful. It’s fake. It’s a profit-driven idea of normal and beautiful that women will spend their lives trying to achieve and men will spend their lives trying to find. Until we all learn to recognize and reject these harmful messages about what it means to look like a woman, we all lose”. I think they make a great point. To photoshop a normal woman into a ‘beautiful’ woman is cruel and unfair. Same thing goes for men, not every guy has chiseled abs. Society puts more emphasis on women than men. For example in shows like Family Guy, or 8 Simple Rules; It’s okay for a heavyset man to have a thin wife, but only the woman has to be thin. Which is ridiculous because men don’t run after obese women just as women don’t run after obese men – generally.
Regardless if it’s an ad about cars, beer, women’s fashion or baby supplies, it should be legitimate – it should be real. I think as consumers we are not asking too much. If marketers and advertisements are going to flood my brain anyways, I would appreciate it if they could at least give me the courtesy of honesty.
It is no surprise that the modern consumer gets bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of advertisements on a daily basis. From the early morning commute with giant advertisements slowly passing by as we make our way to work on crowded highways, to the numerous advertisements on Facebook that seem to be catered specifically to the consumer based on what his/her activities on the internet are, all the way to the commercials sandwiched between television shows which are targeted to the specific audience of that show, advertisements are heavily embroidered in the fabric of modern culture. This is something that consumers expect, but there is one type of advertising that borders on, if not crosses into, the realm of subliminal messaging. Product placement is a way in which companies can sneak brand names into films, television, and other media forms to reach their target audience. Product placement may be necessary in today’s world of DVR’s in which advertising can simply be skipped over, but the consumer, on ethical grounds, should be made aware of the advertising that is taking place throughout the entertainment medium.
While some product placement is barely noticeable, some companies have directly inserted their products in the television shows, a practice that should be entirely eradicated as it takes away from the audience experience of watching the show and the storyline of the show. A great example of blatant product placement in a show would be Snapple’s product in NBC’s 30 Rock. Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) voices her anger during a meeting about having to integrate a product into her show. A co-worker interrupts her by taking a drink of Snapple and saying “wow this is diet Snapple?” Without missing a beat Liz replies “I know, it tastes just like regular Snapple, doesn’t it?” Another co-worker quickly chimes in, “You should try Plumogranete, it’s amazing.” This scene mocks the transparency of some product placement and aides to the humor of the show; it can be painfully distracting in other shows. This distraction takes away from the storyline and takes the audience member out of the fiction they have immersed themselves in and my ruin the experience for some.
Product placement, at times, seems out of place in a world so heavily dominated by advertisements, especially in an age of social mediums on the internet. Facebook is a social media site that takes full advantage of what the consumer likes and dislikes, and can therefore customize advertisements for the consumer. In “The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth” Joseph Turow states that “The website’s facilities for sharing photos, activity updates, videos, and comments among friends—and, importantly, with companies they “like” on so-called fan pages, which companies establish as a marketing tool for specific products—allow marketers to link people’s names to what they say about their lives and the products they do and don’t like” (139). Even commercials are customized to the supposed audience of the shows that are being aired. One would most likely see a commercial for dish soap during daytime television than on the Spike network during peak primetime hours. With all of this advertising that has become so customized to the individual consumer, it seems that it would be unnecessary to use product placement.
As much as product placement would seem unnecessary in today’s ever-growing intelligence for the consumer, it is a necessary evil for those who supply the entertainment, especially in film. Independent or low budget films may rely on the money gained by companies to implement their products into the entertainment. Even though these films may be weighed down with placing products discretely within the mise en scene, at least these films have a chance to be made, and depending on the amount of money received by these deals, be watched by a larger group of consumers due to advertising. Some filmmakers may even favor product placement as it adds to the realism that he/she is trying to achieve.
Although it is necessary to have product placement in films, television, and other media forms, it is absolutely necessary that consumers be made aware of what is being sold to them. Some believe that this awareness should happen the moment the advertising happens. In the documentary film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, director Morgan Spurlock interviews Robert Weissman who is the president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. When asked what should be done with product placement, Weissman responds “The most important thing, especially for television, is to have simultaneous labeling that people are being hit with an advertisement at the moment they are. There should be some little pop-up that comes on and says “Advertisement.” It could be a scroll at the bottom, a little pop-up, whatever. At the moment that people are being advertised to they should know they’re being advertised to.” Though this may be a great way to reveal just how much product placement is implemented and to insure the audience is aware of the product placement, it will become just as distracting as Liz Lemon’s Snapple placement (and unfortunately less humorous). Also, this would ruin the entertainment itself, just as badly as blatant product placement does. A solution to this would be to have some sort of statement prior to the show or movie which states that brand placement deals have been made with the following companies. This way, the audience members are made aware that product placement is taking place, but in a non-distracting manner.
Modern entertainment has enabled us to fast-forward through commercials and get right to the good stuff. Sometimes we can choose when advertisements can be shown to us, but most times we cannot. Regardless, people should be made aware that product placement is taking place to try to sell you something. It is ethically wrong to use product placement and not inform the consumer, otherwise that product placement can turn into subliminal messages. Even though it seems unneeded in a world of customized advertising, it is vital for the survival of some media forms. Instead of having characters interrupt the storyline to name-drop a product or having a pop-up message stating when and where a product is placed within the frame, people should be forewarned that product placement has been implemented in the show or film he/she is about to watch.
The ad I chose this week is the Axe Black Chill deodorant for men. I retrieved it from Prnewswire.com. This ad is supposed to be demonstrating how women have become “hotter” over the years. They base this on surveys they took from 516 males ages 18 to 24, and 484 females also ranging from 18 to 24. It goes through various ‘facts’ to explain this hotness epidemic and claims that this deodorant will help men keep themselves in check around all this supposed hotness.
The very top of the ad shows a timeline of the years in which women’s hotness has evolved. The first thing I noticed is that every woman shown across each marked year is a thin, white woman with brunette hair in the appropriate era bathing suit. So my first conclusion is that, according to Axe, this is what a hot woman is supposed to look like. It wouldn’t be so bad; however these women are clearly not in a ‘natural’ habitat. They are clearly being used as objects in this timeline. These women are posing for you, the consumer. The biggest give away is the outfit. Unless you are in a photo shoot, most women do not parade around the beach or the pool in heels. But heels are sexy, and sex sells, “Advertising is the foundation and economic lifeblood of the mass media” – Kilbourne.
The ad slowly pipes down in a serious of facts that begin the reasoning why guys are ‘losing their cool’ (focusing on the points women’s appearances). The first point says, “Hemlines are getting shorter”. It is accompanied by a figure of a woman’s leg with a knee length skirt being raised. Women didn’t wake up one day and decide to ‘be hotter’. They woke up, picked up a magazine and saw the woman on page 2 was wearing a short skirt followed by the tagline that referenced why that short skirt is hot this season so she went out and bought it. So based off this advertisement’s reasoning, a woman who wears a shorter skirt is hot. Next topic states, “Heels are getting taller”. Okay so, a woman has to where high heels to be hot according to this. This next topic point is where I find it to get a little disturbing, “Attractive women are having more children” and apparently most of this children are female. Okay so how is that relevant to why woman are getting hotter? That just means these women are producing attractive children. And also that sends a pretty strange message in my opinion. Like, “sorry you and that attractive woman didn’t work out but it’s cool! She has daughters!” GROSS.
The next point regarding women states, “91% of guys agree girls are getting hotter in all social aspects including: video games, movies and TV, comic books and sports”. Well of course they are. It is mostly men who play Grant Theft Auto. How are they ever going to sell a copy if they don’t have a half-naked woman sprawled across the cover? Regardless of the race, the woman is always thin with huge breasts. The next few topics go into symptoms of guys exerting nervousness around hot girls. Towards the end it states that girls are taking notice of guys who show these signs. I think most people can tell when anyone is nervous, regardless of gender. It then ends the “problem” of this epidemic by stating 54% of women find this nervousness to be a turn off. So the ad recommends the solution is to use this deodorant, Black Chill to put out this ‘fire’ of hotness.
So this ad is trying to justify its reasoning using statistics from surveys they have taken. This method seems clever enough however it doesn’t actually say the specific demographic of the men and women they survey. For example, are the women who answered these surveys realistic looking women? Or are they the women who were shown in the timeline? Where the men Hispanic? White ? Educated? Also when you look at their information and break it down, women aren’t getting hotter, it is just become more acceptable for women to be broadcasted wearing very little – as long as your white and skinny according to Axe. I love how the last topic states, “Guys stated they would feel more attractive if they were more confident, smelled nice and had good grooming habits.” A man doesn’t need to lose weight to feel more attractive even if he is overweight? Double standard if you ask me. Kilbourne even states, “Advertising images do not cause these problems, but they contribute to them by creating a climate in which the marketing of women’s bodies–the sexual sell and dismemberment, distorted body image ideals and the use of children as sex objects–is seen as acceptable”. As a woman, I would feel more attractive if a man can find me attractive while I am fully clothed.
Ad Critique 4
September 28, 2013
The ad I chose is a Sketchers commercial aimed at teens and pre-teens. It is for their brand called Daddy’s money – oh excuse me, “Daddy’s $”. This commercial came on in the evening on the Cartoon Network. I already knew this was the ad I was going to choose when I first read the syllabus for this class. I don’t think I have ever been legitimately offended from a commercial, until the day I saw this. From start to finish this ad had my jaw to the ground. It features snapshots young girls who are having fun, in a seemingly photo-shoot kind of way. Obviously it shows these shoes- which look like sneakers that have ‘secret’ wedges inside that make you taller. It flips between the shoes and the girls having fun for about 30 seconds with some girls singing a song where they say, “I got swag baby, daddy’s girl”.
First let’s talk about the shoe itself. So these sneakers with ‘cool’ prints have this two inch wedge built inside. A wedge (also known as pumps) is a type of shoe that resembles a type of high heel. The only difference is that the bottom of these are all one flat surface, the heel isn’t separated with a gap like normal high heels. So they are trying to imply height as a desirable trait. There is a caption on the side of the shoe that reads “be two inches taller!” like that’s what you are supposed to be, taller. Obviously being preteens they will get taller, but this way they can feel older sooner just as the film Consuming Kids described. So that is the first strategy plays on teens urge to transition into adulthood.
The girls in this commercial seem like they are genuinely having normal teenage fun while wearing these shoes however when you combine that with the lyrics of the song while looking at all these bright images of dollar sign is very suggestive. According to Klass’s article, “Up to the age of 7 or 8, children are thought to be unable to understand the nature of advertising — developmentally, they can’t identify the underlying persuasive intent. Older children may have a better understanding of commercials, but they are vulnerable in other ways.” This is why I find it offensive. It is teaching these girls to use their feminine ways by being daddy’s girl to get daddy’s money for Daddy’s $. Not only that this just seems so obnoxious and this ad makes it seems like it’s okay. For example towards the end there is a girl holding up a bunch of cash, like she is flaunting it. Basically, it looks like a modernized version of a Veruca Salt commercial if she had ever made one.
There is morally wrong I feel and has several negative connotations. It is sending several messages and they are doing it in a way where the teen probably doesn’t notice. Using flashy pink and yellow colors with quick shots of images versus a flowing commercial that way you have to keep watching it so you don’t miss anything. They use improper language composition to grab the attention of the girls who fit that image (or at least the girl they want to fit that image) by using lyrics like, “I got swag” versus “I have swag”. The very fact that the name of this shoe is called Daddy’s money is offensive – for two reasons. One: daddy is a word that is sometimes used in a sexual manner by women. The first thing I thought of when I heard the name of the shoe was, “a prostitute who needs her pimps money”. Second: it is sexist. There is a reason there is a show called Teen Mom and not Teen Dad or Teen Parents. The brand name is assuming that there is even a father present to get money from in the first place. ABC even reported angry moms were in protesting this marketing campaign. Sketchers didn’t budge, only apologized if the name of the shoe offended anyone. The best way to sum up the way I feel about this entire issue was best stated by a top rated comment on the commercial featuring older teens (which is on the official Daddy’s Money Youtube channel), “How to be a teenage slut with daddy’s money. Great campaign, Sketchers” – FromCrownToKingdom (Youtuber).
ad featuring older teens http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPcZwZiM1Y
Ad Critique 3
September 21, 2013
The ad I chose for this week was on Bill de Blasio who is running for mayor of New York. The commercial begins with his 15 year old son, Dante speaking. He begins speaking about how Bill is the only candidate who will tax the wealthy and fund school programs. He also mentions that Bill has a plan to build affordable housing. His son continues to explain that Bill is the only candidate striving to end the ‘stop-and-frisk’ initiative which is primarily focused on minorities. He ends with how Bill will be a mayor for every New Yorker, regardless where they live or what their appearance is. Dante adds that he would have said that even if Bill wasn’t his dad.
Ok so first thing that pop’s into my mind when I first saw this ad was, “I assume he is targeting the minority group”. Most candidates speak for themselves. However in this ad, Bill has his son (which we find out later) speak on his behalf and who also happens to be, half African American. As Dante is speaking, the commercial pans to different scenes of Bill and showing text snippets from his website. The first scene shows Bill partially (mostly his arm/hand gesture) as he is speaking to a small room of diverse people. The people listening range from middle aged white women, to elderly Hispanic and African Americans, to white males in what looks like their mid-30’s. Which is pretty smart seeing as the people who are viewing the ad would more than likely see themselves just as the audience in the ad. So having a group of listeners that vary in age and race, doesn’t make it seem exclusive to one particular group of people. However, from what I could see, it appeared to be mostly minorities – thus still aiming for that minority group. As Bill is speaking to the audience you can see that the sleeves of his nice business shirt are rolled up, and he is not wearing a formal jacket. His appearance says to the average Joe, “hey, I’m not better than you, and I am not judging you”. His appearance is relaxed just as the expressions of the audience. If consumers are comfortable with the candidate, they will feel less intimidation.
As Dante speaks, the next scene that is panned is a side street view of children being walked to school in a lower income area of New York. During this scene Dante is talking about the affordable housing plan. This correlates to low income housing areas and is targeting people who live in similar situations (who are also probably minorities). Showing that street image gives the consumer a feeling of relevance. Sort of like saying he is on the side of the underdog.
Next it pans to Bill in a kitchen with who appears to be his wife who is obviously African American. This scene plays on the interracial couple angle which is much more common these days regardless which ethnic groups are involved. Last scene ends with Dante and Bill walking to what I assume is school since Dante has a backpack on. They are laughing and talking. This represents the classic family man; this is something most average people with children can relate to. The upper hand Bill has is that this works on two levels: family and mixed race households.
Overall I would say this ad has positive connotations/morals. Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks talks about Bill’s ad and he also believes that this ad directly reaches out to the Black and Latino communities for their votes but he favors the motion and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Cenk also explains that New York is liberal state, and Bill is one of the most progressive liberals in politics. That being said, I feel that Bill’s campaign reflects his means in a positive light. He does not use ‘dirty’ tactics to get his point across. If anything he is a more trustworthy candidate. For example my dad is half African American and half Korean, and my mom is half German and half Spanish. I am a product of a mixed race household and it was difficult back in the days when we had to fill out scan-tron sheets in school about our nationality that always said “choose ONE”. Seeing Bill with his wife and son tells me that he is a crusader of equality and diversity. Thus, Bill would have my vote since for me, I identify strongly with racial issues.
The Young Turks reference:
The Ad I chose for this critique was a Coke commercial featuring Taylor Swift. Oh excuse me, DIET Coke. It starts out with her writing in her notebook which also happens to be lyrics for one of her songs which she is saying out loud, but not singing. The commercial then shifts to different people who are singing the song. As they these scenes go back and forth, she is taking gradual sips of the soda while she is writing. As the song gets towards the chorus you can see and hear her fans singing and cheering for her at a concert as she runs out to finish the song.
Now I feel like soda companies are at a slight disadvantage when it comes to marketing via commercials because you can only make so many commercials that are 100% relevant to what you are selling before it becomes stale. That being said, they do things like this – feature a star using their product. Because celebrities have fans, and a lot of the fans are borderline crazy regardless of their age. Someone like Taylor Swift is probably seen as an idol by some. So when fans see her drink it, they think, “oh Taylor drinks it?! Well I should too!” That is not always the case obviously, but that is one example. Early in chapter five of our text mentions how Will Smith participated in product placement of Converse shoes in a movie. I am sure a lot of people- or fans- unconsciously (or consciously) tried a pair of converse the next time they needed shoes.
Another good point the text brings up is that, “generations are defined by their music” (page 112). I find this to be true for especially in the younger crowd. She is young, pretty and famous (and not for the same reasons Kim Kardashian is famous). Yet she sings about things that most girls in their younger years could probably relate to, young love and what not. I would imagine they purposely had Taylor Swift advertise diet coke versus regular coke because she is a female and you are more likely to see a female drinking a diet coke and I would imagine the majority of her fans are female. Although when they pan through the different people singing her song in the commercial, the first two people are male. I feel that they are trying to show that her music is catchy and not just for girls (but as I said, most of her fans are probably female seeing as I have never met a guy who is down for the next Taylor Swift concert). So really, in a way, I feel as though this is double marketing. She gets to promote herself and Coke gets their product advertised. I don’t think this is a negative thing so much, other than the fact that it could be seen as ‘hinting’ that you as a female should be drinking diet coke.
Well hello there!
My name is Tiffany Carey. I think I am sophomore? Junior? I am not totally sure because I really stretched out my semesters. There was one point few years ago where I had 2 jobs, attending Indiana (distance education) while also enrolled in 2 other schools, and I also had an internship. So I had to take only one or two classes from each school since my schedule was psychotic. However now that I only have one job and attending one classes I can take in each semester and summer. I am pursing a career in healthcare. I am a licensed pharmacy technician for the state of California however that path didn’t really work out for me so I am letting my license expire without renewal next year. I plan on enrolling into a different medical program after my time with Indiana is complete.