Archive for January, 2014

In essence of what I got out of Adorno and Horkheimer’s reading is that there is an over saturation of culture, and it lost its significance and touch. That culture use to be art, and now it is everywhere and nothing special to it. In order to keep up with the consumer demands, and to satisfy the masses, there are steps being skipped in order to mass produce, and due to that everything is losing its cultural significance. I see their point and agree to it to some extent, but disagree in that there is still beauty and the awww factor left in culture. After all beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Watching the video in class today, definitely made me want to work in an advertisement agency even more. It was interesting and intriguing to find out how those big ads were made, and what social and cultural impact it had on culture and society. I am a big fan of advertisements, I view them as mini movies almost. There is so much if that goes into a single ad, from art work, and scripts, and actors, it is entertaining to watch. Take the Superbowl ads for example, where big companies put forth big budgets to get a crazy ad that will hopefully captivate an audience. Like the Apple 1984 ad, reference to the real book 1984, which is one of my favourite books and ads. The simple line “Lets not let 1984, be like 1984”, in agreement with one of the advertisers in the film, even if an ad has nothing to do with a product, it is the knowledge that you are apart of a social group, that understands the joke or reference, it is the sense of belonging. There are a lot of people out there that view ads as bad, and the fact that they are everywhere, but a lot of people do not look at the positive stand points of them. Advertisements can be used to campaign a positive message, they can promote and inform inspiring things for people.

For example this Ad is not only a work of art, but has a strong message behind, and promotes positive activism.

I thought that this commercial shows the idea that women can be used to sell products. This AXE commercial is used to show males that if the use their product that all beautiful women will want them. It is degrading to women because they are using them and their bodies to sell this product to males. Another issue that comes from this is that Dove is owned by the same company. Dove seems to be doing the opposite by having their beauty campaigns giving women the idea that they should be empowered. I think this company does not necessarily believe what they are advertising. They are just advertising in ways that will attract customers.

This short film got me thinking about the one of the themes presented in the documentary — manufacturing of needs and desires. It is like an overwhelming reminder that we don’t think about the other parties involved in the production of goods and how they are brought into the market and how it affects society.

This short film is a representation of the modern bourgeois society that often dissociates the relationships that are a part of the production of material goods. In this film, there is a woman getting dressed by the hands of garment workers from around the world. Throughout the clip she does not see the faces of the garment workers until she is ready to leave. As she glances at the mirror for the last time, she realizes -for the first time- who they are and their role in clothing production.

I thought this clip was a great visual representation of what the readings are trying to acknowledge. It makes us consider the things we consume, either food or clothes, and all the ‘hands’ that are involved to produce – whether it is manufacturers in China or the passionate advertising agencies. When we start thinking about the individuals involved, we become more aware and grateful for what we have access to. It brings a sense of awareness and understanding of what we consume and its effect on society. If we were to see all the faces and people who made our garments, do you think it would change the way we buy clothes today?

As discussed in today’s lecture, advertisers define subcultures within society – groups that may have otherwise not been recognized. After watching the Scooter clip, we discussed as a class the ways in which advertisements define and distinguish between subculture groups. While the Scooter clip illustrated the different product preferences in contrasting rockers and mod groups, this campaign from the Ontario Ministry of Health separates “social smokers” from smokers. The commercial identifies this subculture as those excusing their bad habits, with phrases such as “I don’t buy my own, I just bum off my friends” and “I just do it when I am out.” However, rather than emphasizing the differences between this new sub culture and “smokers” in general, the Ontario Ministry of Health uses this campaign to expose the similarities and absurdity in referring to oneself as a “social smoker.” Therefore, the subculture is recognized, only to be grouped back into the larger consumer base of addicted, routine smokers.
Furthermore, the ad uses the comedic reference to “Social Nibbling” in place of referring to their actually topic of discussion: smoking. As today’s documentary, Art and Copy discussed, satire is often used in advertisements to shock and drawn in viewers. By catching the eyes of their audience with humour and irony, the Ontario Ministry of Health is successful in creating a message the will stick with its viewers.

There were a few things that we talked about in today’s class and saw in the movie that particularly caught my interest. Firstly, I found it surprising that the video said “the creative people were nothing”. They were just people that were employed with the agency but that did not actually do much. It was the account and ad guys that were important. I would argue that though this may have been true in earlier times, it is not so much the case now. A lot of thought and creativity need to go into ads today. There needs to be the right balance of making the consumer think and creating cleaver message to allowing the viewer to actually understand to the point of that ad and what is trying to say/advertise. It’s as simple as this, ads need to be creative in order to be successful. I think there has been a shift towards this in the past couple decades and we have definitely seen a shift since the production of the film. 

The video also touched upon how it is not enough to simply creative an ad, but you have to love the product you are selling. The example used was that a pet food company needs to love pets opposed to just feed them. Advertisers need to be fully engaged with their campaign and target market to produce the greatest success. 

I also found the Apple ads to be particularly interesting. It’s cool to see the evolution and change from the first Apple ads to those we see today. A lot of effort and thought went into the launching of the first Apple ad and today most, if not all, advertisements are created using a Mac. 

I was also surprised by the fact that Americans see 61 minutes of advertising each day. This is absolutely insane. Advertisements are everywhere and we often don’t even realize it. We see ads on YouTube, Facebook, on the walk to campus (on the walls of every building), on TV, in the junk mail we receive each week, on public transit. Our brain doesn’t register most of the ads we see because we are so immune to it. Advertisements manipulate and consume us. 

Keltie Johnson – Budweiser Ad

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

              I’m sure, by now, many have seen the new Superbowl Commercial featuring a cute puppy who has a little separation anxiety from his friend, which happens to be a horse. As I was watching this commercial, I kept trying to find reasons why this advertisement was promoting beer. Other than the horses owner, who was wearing a Budweiser hat, I had a lot of difficulty finding Budweiser references. At the end, it was more clear, when the advertisement used the hashtag #BestBuds. The connection was made that ‘Buds’ signified Budweiser and also the relationship between the horse and the puppy. Since it took me through the entire advertisement, I was left thinking whether or not this was effective advertising. I had to watch the commercial twice, even to realise what the advertisement was for.

          I think that what this ad proves is that all a company has to do is attach their name to something, as opposed to when they had to market their product as better than the opposition. Although companies may not have used counter positioning to do so, most advertisements were essentially trying to point out why their products would be the better choice over their opposition. Nowadays, there is a shift and the main goal of advertisements is to have their name associated with positive images and don’t focus as much on the actual benefits of using their products. This is proven in the Budweiser Superbowl ad.

Kimberly H- Signified Squared

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

The idea behind signified squared is something that I was not aware of prior to it being brought up in class. Although the terms sign, signified, and signifier are concepts I have become familiar with, I never knew where the values of a brand or company fit in within that model. In contemporary society, we associate many brands based on what they represent. Whether they represent a lifestyle choice or not, it is what we come to know them as. For example, Nike is known as creating products that represent an active lifestyle, with their running shoes and active-wear that help support this notion. Another brand such as The North Face is a company that I would associate with outdoor wear and products; therefore, having a wilderness, outdoorsy aspect connecting to its brand.  All these additional meanings and values that we connect with a brand and its product is something that as consumers have become conscious of. I attached some photos here that represent the meanings I have given to the brand.


The North Face: wilderness, outdoors, adventurous


Nike: active, athletic, determined and motivated lifestyle