In order to generate an opinion about how media will transform in the coming years, I will start by comparing two commercials, both from Coca-Cola. The first commercial is from the 1970’s, and the second was released in 2012.
The first commercial is all singing, giving it a light and playful mood, but not very attention grabbing. Some shots last for around 15 seconds. There aren’t very many stereotypes at play, I couldn’t I even say what one of them is. The commercial allows us to get an idea of what some of Coke’s ideals were back in the 70’s: it assumes that people value diversity and global integration. Therefore they use advertising tactics to play off of those values, resulting in a commercial featuring people from all over the world singing together. They are trying to get people to buy their product, but they do so without making negative assumptions about viewers. What they are saying about Coke is that it also values diversity.
The second commercial obviously has much better cinematic production. You are immediately viewing an execution scene, which is apparent within 2 seconds of the ad beginning. What this commercial is saying is that Coke Zero can get you out of any trouble. If a guy can get out of being executed, you can do anything, especially lose weight because there are no calories. It’s presenting Coke as a problem solving device that can save your life, whereas the first commercial showed Coke as a rich and cultured company. The second commercial assumes that you want to consume less calories because you think it will make you thinner.
I’d say overall the second commercial uses a much more brainwash-like technique: They make it seem as though Coke can do things it really can’t. This shows a trend as time goes on of companies doing more to make their product seem better than it really is by playing off of the ideals of the audience.
I think that in the future, companies will become even more manipulative and outrageous with their advertising, and they will try even harder to control the way the audience views their product. The longer goes by, the more developed and advanced advertising practices become. Compare the simple intent behind the Coke commercial from the 70’s to that of the Dove commercial we viewed in class. The dove commercial is a huge scheme that seeks to accomplish the same thing but in a very different and more complex way. The Dove commercial assumes that the audience is scornful and aware of the cheesy techniques that companies nowadays are known to use, and seeks to convince you that they are as well. But why are we scornful of the cheesy ads? Because we know that they are just trying to get us to buy their product. But Dove is also, they are just doing it by making the audience think that they are on our side. Conceptual advertising technology will become more creative in ways to control the human mind.
This commercial reflects the ideologies of racism: that a black man in close proximity to your child is not a safe situation. It enforces the stereotype of black males being considered dangerous and untrustworthy, and the stereotypical protective mother. Another stereotype that is present in the commercial is the sad, helpless child whom society demands be aided. Not only that, but they compare a black man to toothpaste. The message in the end may be that “looks can be deceiving”, but in order for that to be a positive message, the company must be assuming that everyone is scared of black people.
In a recent gatekeeping decision, Rolling Stone magazine decided to place the recently deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman on the cover of an issue that was originally going to display musical artist Drake. As would be expected the rather feminine rapper put up a huge fuss, even though his interview was still published. How so? By using one of todays most powerful media outlets: Twitter. Twitter also happens to be one of the best examples of how the former audience have developed into producers of media themselves, especially people of public fame, whom Americans tend to consider worth listening too and believing. When he was not featured on the cover, Drake immediately posted a series of Tweets which can be viewed here, along with an example of one of the many internet articles that emerged regarding the event. Gatewatching played a role as numerous features were posted about Drake’s internet grumblings, this is another example of a feature that uses the incident to create a new story.
Not only was Drake upset about not getting the cover shot, he also claims that details were released that he apparently said off record. What’s more, not everything that was said about the Canadian was flattering, the article even discusses the negative attention that Drake has recieved from OG gatekeepers of rap culture:
‘Drake’s coup, building on the example of Kanye West, was to flout prevailing notions about what sort of background a rapper should come from and what kinds of things he should rap about: On one typically candid song, he drunk-dials a former flame and makes an ass of himself trying to woo her. Such vulnerable displays have invited mockery from old-guard hip-hop gatekeepers (including, oddly, Common, who called Drake “soft”) and anonymous online hordes. “There’s these GIFs about me, these stupid stereotypes people have of me as this overly emotional character that cries in his room every night,” says Drake. “There are jokes because of Degrassi, because I’m Canadian, because I make music for women. There are memes of guys crying to my music.” He scowls, then shrugs. “I love it. I heart those photos when I see them on Instagram.”‘
The article also addressed Drake’s role as a gatecrasher, criticizing Mackelmore for his publicized text message to Kendrick Lamar apologizing for winning.
99% of US households have at least one television. The average child watches 1,480 minutes of TV per week. Think about how many advertisements kids view in that time, and what each separate ad is trying to do. The purpose of advertisements are to make a product seem more desirable, desirable enough to make viewers go out and purchase the product. Lately, companies have gone to extreme measures in order to make up the minds of viewers. Look at some of the examples in this video:
Many ads contain strong sexually suggestive content. These ads can provide some humorous entertainment for viewers of an older age, but for younger kids, they relay messages about gender identity that aren’t healthy. Many ads feature women who are portrayed as objects of sexual fascination, and a lot of the time subtlety is not even a factor. Not only do these commercials create images of how men and women should interact, they provide children with a false image of what an ideal man or women looks and acts like.
These advertisements pose a different issue:
These commercials send the message that violence is fun and comical, not something we want children to have ingrained in their heads.
Many would argue that it’s up to parents and supervisors to do the censoring. If they don’t want their child to see certain images they can employ channel blocks, hide the controller or create a password.
Companies benefit largely from these inappropriate ads, because many people find them entertaining; something to keep them amused while they are waiting for their show to come back on. Many would even argue that there should be less regulation. That’s where it gets tricky because many viewers’ brains have developed enough that ads don’t have as much as a negative effect, and it’s a hard thing to do to limit what an entire nation views based on the fact that it is unhealthy for a small percentage of the audience.
Young Broadcasting is a local media company with its headquarters based in New York. Young Broadcasting has expanded vertically for the most part, however in addition to TV broadcasting, Young Broadcasting operates websites and mobile media applications. Although they are far from being one of the huge corporations that control 90% of the modern media industry, they own broadcasts in 11 different states:
WTEN (Albany-Schenectady, NY)
KWQC (Davenport, IA and Rock Island-Moline, IL)
WBAY (Green Bay-Appleton, WI)
WATE (Knoxville, TN)
KLFY (Lafayette, LA)
WLNS (Lansing, MI)
WKRN (Nashville, TN)
WRIC (Richmond-Petersburg, VA)
KRON (San Francisco-Oakland, San Jose, CA)
KELO (Sioux Falls-Mitchell, SD)
In 2009 the company declared bankruptcy, but started fresh in 2010 after ridding themselves of $800 million in debt. After the fall Young Broadcasting proceeded to grow, and eventually merged with Media General in 2013. You can see here that this merger was a big step for them, as it allowed them to expand horizontally in the media industry.