• William Inge’s play Picnic as a film.
Movie used as an experiment by James Vicary to develop the term subliminal
• Claimed that the theater saw a 20% increase in Coke sales and a 60% surge in
popcorn sales as a result of the experiment.
• Was not redone by anyone else therefore it lacked proof
• Later confessed to be a hoax
• Subliminal Advertising banned in 1958.
• Dr. Wilson B. Key’s published his book Subliminal Seduction started the new wave of
paranoia about subliminal advertising
• To this day their are no direct laws against subliminal advertising
• Anti-Theft subliminal advertising in stores with music.
• Vendor thinks his sales went up 15% and thefts have fallen by over 50%
• KFC Coupon in the commercial, you replay it in slow motion and you get a free
• Least powerful tobacco ads in prompting you to smoke are the ads without disclaimers
Followed by the ones with disclaimers
• That’s why company “swag” is great for advertising as well as merchandising.
• Logo free advertising is proven to be more effective
• Explaining the amnesia when consumers try and remember TV commercials
Car ads on TV, dust commercial - cannot differentiate the car from one another
• American Idol - one of the highest rated shows in television history
• Sponsored by big Cellular companies
• In 2006, companies paid $3.36 billion globally to have their products featured in TV
shows, music videos and movies. 2007 - $4.38, predicted to be $7.6 by 2010
• Can no longer distinguish Product Integration from regular advertising spot.
• Second Experiment - making people look like a cult or a bunch of participants at a
• Point: to determine the power (or pointlessness) of the billion dollar product placement
• SST (type of machine used)
• could measure the degree of subjects’ emotional engagement, memory, and
• “how different parts of the brain talk to one another” • E.T. - placement of the Reese’s Pieces to lure E.T. out of hiding
• Ray-Ban - Tom Cruise Endorsement, when Risky Business came out, sales rose by
• Top Gun - 40% increase to bottom line
• Navy/Airforce recruitment went up by 500%
• Sales tripled as MIB 2 came out with Will Smith what amounted to $25 Million in free
• Die Another Day had 23 brands over 123 minutes
• Driven - Sylvester Stallone, 103 brands in 117 minutes
• Transformers (2007) - 68 brands
• Brain Scan - presented them with a sequence of twenty product logo’s each one
appearing for a single second.
• They were all Product Placement or Branded Logo’s
• Then showed two shows, American Idol and another that would serve as the
benchmark to statistically validate the final result
• Purpose: to see how many from the sequence they found in the show
• The results were that the ones the placed their products strategically throughout the
program had actually inhibited the recall of the unbranded logos.
• Revealed that we have no memory of brands that don’t play an integral part in the
storyline of a program.
• The strength of Coke’s advertising actually had a negative affect on Ford’s advertising
• Creative realism with products showing what it is actually like in real life
• According to Petrecca, $941 Million was spent in 2005 on integrating products into TV
• Three quarters of TV audiences now skip commercials.
• Product Placement Business worth $4.2 Billion/year
• Coke spent almost $10 Million on American Idol Product Placement
• 1/4 of Minority Reports budget ($100 Million) was covered by corporations.
• Wayne’s World and Return of the Killer Tomatoes both were making fun of
unnecessary product placement
• ability for consumers to skip advertisements because of DVR.
Advertising is not as effective
• Product placement allows advertisers the opportunity to deliver messages to
consumers when their guard is down
• A branded product has two dimensions: the actual characteristics of the product as
well as the emotional or affective characteristics the consumer associates with the
product. • Consistent complaint of media consumers is that advertising is too obtrusive and takes
away from the entertainment show you are trying to watch
Product Placement can make a more realistic viewing situation
• Not as much of an artificial environment when the things you see in everyday life are
on the screen
• Can be placed in a wide variety of entertainment media, where traditional advertising
• Vintage Product placement. Older movies placing older products in to make more
realistic. Viewers are even less likely to expect vintage product placement.
• Virtually placing products into runs and reruns of a show.
Conclusion: in the end its the consumer that will choose how effective the product
• Products that may not be legally advertised to children, may find its way through film
content or something like that.
Glamorizing alcohol use or smoking without the proper warning labels required in
• We have advertising in every media channel that makes our society very materialistic.
• Advertainment: entertainment content that mimics traditional media forms but is
created solely as a vehicle to promote specific advertisers.
• Overt placements can turn art into simply another commodity bought and sold for
The product placement in The Truman Show ; a parody of commercialization, not what
we usually see.
Sex and Money:
• CNN pulling ad about new attractive news anchor.
She said it denigrated her journalistic reputation
• They tried to use “sex appeal” had never explicitly touted to sell the news
Advertisers turn up the heat:
• Sex sells because it is a natural response just like the necessities of food, shelter and
• Because of our biology, we can’t help but be drawn to it
• Rarely are their people that are completely sexually - or materially - satisfied
• used to construct an identity for the product
• Advertisers quickly convey messages or story lines to help with promoting a product.
• Creates a common meaning for many people
• Stereotypes are used to market to certain groups
• Duke Cigarettes - 1880’s, used sexual images of women to sell packs of new product.
• Selling of beauty products centered around sexual imagery - ex. Woodbury’s facial soap (1910), very successful campaign. Pictured romantic
situations and conveyed the message that women’s faces will feel “flawless” to the
point where men would fall in love with them.
• Listerine campaigns that promoted kissing, and being sexually active
• Madeform Bra’s “Dream” campaign featured playful but tantalizing pictures of women
in little clothing
Jovan - Fragrance maker used musky smells that promoted the desire for sexual
contact. Evoking natural responses.
- Exponentially doubled revenue after seven years
• A&F - grew revenue from 85 Million to 1.35 Billion in 9 years.
- Due too new branding campaign that featured models in sexual poses.
• Victoria Secret commands 15% share of the $12 Billion intimate clothing segment.
• Advertising also employs sexual double entendre, innuendo, subliminal sexual
imagery, and sex-related promises.
The portrayal of a model doing seductive things will cause the viewer to become
closer to the ad and stimulates the consumer
• Listerine also promoting that if you don’t use their product you wont be accepted
because you have bad breath
These sexual ads can also provide the consumer with the opportunity to feel more
comfortable in their skin
• Sexual Embeds: small forms of sexual information - naked body parts - and words like
sex hidden in ice cubes.
Subliminally placed in your subconscious when you look at an ad
• Vicary started the subliminal craze, but it was a sham
Image-BasedCulture-Advertising and Popular Culture
• “A Diamond is Forever” - Debeer’s cartel carefully controls Diamond Supply and
created the image of the Diamond being valuable beyond just a rock
• A diamond is considered something everyone has to have when they get married.
• Consumers were taught how to read into messages from advertisers over time.
• Contained a mixture of text and symbols as well as artistic visuals
Advertising and the Good life:
• Commodities are only weekly related to these sources of satisfaction.
• Knitting goods into the fabric of social life
• Tony Schwartz - “partipulation” 0 the audience participating in its own manipulation.
• The image-system of the marketplace reflects our desires and dreams, but we only
have the image of the good to give us pleasure (ex. if we can’t afford it)
• Today’s contemporary scene is a “paradox of affluence” and “joyless economy”.
• The image-system of advertising leads to consumer uncertainty and confusion
• In addition, the marketplace reflects all of our wants and dreams but we only see
images instead of actual experiences with the goods. • Commodity image-system provides a particular vision of the world - one that forces us
to self-validate by what we have not what one is.
Distinction between “having” and “being”.
• Having more “things” at root of happiness
The Spread of Image-Based Influence:
• Use of certain gender images
Images having to do with gender strikes the core of an individual
- How we define ourselves
• We live in an increasingly eroticized world.
• Image-system has extended it’s influence to the realm of electoral politics
• George Bush Sr. Won 1988 Presidential Race because he ran better ad campaigns
- When voters only had the media to go on, Bush looked better
• Politics isn’t about issues anymore, it’s about “feeling good/bad” about a candidate
• Children’s television programming and commercials oriented around the sale of toys
• Stephen Kline argues that the context within which kids play is now structured around
• The evolution of the Movie Videos as standard place in the over all strategy of
Speed and Fragmentation: Toward a Twenty-First-Century Consciousness
• Commodity information system has two basic characteristics:
1) Reliance on visual modes of representation
2) increasing speed and rapidity of the images that constitute.
• TV is the epitome of this rapidity of images, Here for a couple seconds, than gone.
• Commercial times have been getting shorter and shorter over the years
• “Vignette approach” - in which narrative and the “reason-why” advertising are
subsumed in rapid succession.
• Directly selling feeling and emotion about a product.
• Increasing clutter of the advertising environment causes the advertiser to have to
make better ads
• Draws viewer into message
• Speed-up has replaced narrative and rational response with images and emotional
• Speed and fragmentation are not particularly conducive to thinking. They induce
Political Implications: Education in an Image-Saturated Society
• Stuart Ewen - “our own experiences are of little consequence, unless they are
substantiated and validated by the world of style”
• Simple division - 1) World of Substance (real power, where you live your life) 2) World
of Style and surface (appearances)
• How is substance (reality) revealed?
• Visual images are the central mode through which the modern world understands
itself. • Cultural Politics: 1) struggle to reconstruct the existence of the substance world, can
only do so using difference mediums of communication 2) opening up further analysis
of the contemporary image system, Democratizing the image system.
• No credits in or at the end of a commercial therefore making it different than any other
• Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty is an ex. of a socially responsible yet highly effective
• Defining modern beauty has become a battle of the brands
• “Barbie” is an icon to the typical standard of beauty. “plastic culture”
• UK study revealed that if you make Barbie into a life size person, its not a “normal”
- you only have a one in 100,000 chance of achieving such a figure.
• American Fashion models, “examples of feminine beauty” are thinner than 98% of
• The definition of beauty has also been racially driven. (more white, blonde than any)
• Whiteness of skin is related to the overall view of feminine beauty. “lean, pure, radiant
images and an entry point to a higher state of female grace”
• Commercials aired during episodes of Ally McBeal sitcom were studied: “TV’s
treatment of feminism”
• Postfeminism: belief that while feminism was needed in the past, but now no longer
• The ideal postfeminist woman represented in the ads had three distinct qualities:
- Sexy, Intelligent and powerful
• This advertising media sent a clear message: successful women are both thin and
Media’s Impact on Body Image:
• Since advertising is meant to SELL products, a negative viewpoint therefore shouldn’t
• Evidence shows that not only do these ads sell products, but they sell more because
the evoke a negative feeling in women and girls, forcing them to buy into the product
• Critics of advertising believe that the impact on consumers limits their ability to think
and act like independent creatures
• One study revealed that women’s moods and body images are negatively affected
after seeing “idealized” women in commercials.
• When they saw normal women, anxiety dropped.
• Women compare themselves and try to measure up to these standards.
• 42% of teen women look to advertising for guidance about beauty and appearance
• 45% ask friends for advice
• Advertising is an authority on appearance
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty: • Unilever (Dove) - Studied 3,000 women in 10 nations
- Study Revealed: 90% of women were unhappy with their body image
An American study showed that 30% of 10-year old children are afraid of becoming fat
- average model in the U.S. has a BMI of 16.3 which is underweight
• Dove’s goal was to start a more democratic view of beauty
- ads included older women, with wrinkles and grey hair
Many critics don’t believe Dove’s campaign to be useful for sales
Real Beauty: Success of Failure?
• Success but many critics on its effectiveness to sell a product
to create more diversity in promoting beauty products
• Greater acceptance of Blacks and Hispanics also lead to the wider acceptance of
larger ass and more facial hair.
• Eileen Saunders: founding director of the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs at
Carleton University (1997-present)
• “The purpose of advertising is to create desire beyond what the product can actually
deliver... People are living lives of desperation; they don’t want to be themselves” - Top
• Launched in Europe in February 2004, then North America/Latin America in
September of 2005
• This new approach was more pragmatic - Unilever needed to rebrand Dove as more
than just a soap company
• The Real Truth about Beauty: A Global Report, argued that “authentic beauty is a
concept lodged in women’s hearts and minds and seldom articulated in popular
culture or affirmed in the mass media” (Dove, 2004, p.47)
• Study found that only 2% of women surveyed saw themselves as beautiful.
- Mass media blamed
• Strategy seemed to work in the first couple months, sales of Dove products advertised
increased by 600%
• Awareness of Dove as a beauty brand was up between 35-50% in the first year of the
• Dove Self-Esteem Fund started
• Slogan “Stand Firm to Celebrate Your Curves” promoted natural body curves as
• Third Phase of campaign launched in early 2006 with the focus on self esteem,
especially girls and young women
• Another survey done in 2006 involving 11 countries:
- Focused on attitudes about self-worth and their link to unrealistic beauty ideals. - Dove felt it was time to “walk-the-talk” and seek solutions to these self-esteem
problems found among young women
Dove offers many different sites for girls interested, and you “support” this campaign
by ordering a free tote bag filled with Dove beauty product.
• Awareness of Dove as a concerned corporate citizen was enhanced.
Some industry watchers see the natural offshoot of the reality TV trend has meant
more campaigns that feature nonprofessional models chosen to represent the
• Mary Lou Quinlan - in order to motivate consumers there has to be some assurance of
• Doves message in contradictory; promoting “real beauty” but at the same time
promoting a “firming” product.
• “Simply to be slim isn’t enough, the flesh must not jiggle” - (Bordo, 1993, p.191)
Sarah Grogan found studies that showed female subjects, who overall tended to
overestimate their own body size, actually reported they felt thinner and less
depressed following exposure to advertising that emphasized a thin body ideal.
• Claim that undermines Dove’s campaign: Journal of Consumer Research
- The author tested the impact of self-esteem of model size in four categories: Extremely
thin, moderately thin, moderately heavy, and extremely heavy. Contrary to conventional
wisdom, they found that the participants in the study reported lower self-esteem after
looking at ads with moderately thin women.
Beauty, The Body, and Social Context:
• We need to recognize that these ideas about beauty are tied into a set of cultural
understandings that reach beyond media advertising.
• Average dress size going up in America, but size of models going down.
Ideal actually becoming more unattainable for women.
• Incentives and rewards are great for the “ideal” woman in contemporary culture
• “We’re encouraged to believe that we can have at least the bodies, if not the lifestyles,
of the rich and famous” (Bordo, 1997, p.8)
This is not a case of “celebrating real beauty” so much as telling us where we can
Framing the Problem:
• Advertising connects consumer products with what is socially acceptable by
capitalizing on our insecurities and dormant desires.
We enjoy the message of “more”, but nevertheless despise the idea of tying yourself
to a material world
• Advertising is blamed for a lot of societies unfounded norms.
- encourages waste, contributes to disfigurement of the environment, distorts human
values by massaging the message of “more” to the many. • Green advertising suspect as well: underlying message: use more, not less.
• Minorities were positioned strategically in the advertising image as to not alienate the
large “white” consumer base
• When minorities did appear they were ghettoized into serving the minority market, or
as an act to make an ad more “cultural” or add more “colour” to mainstream products.
The Dynamics of Advertising:
The distinction between what is intended and what is perceived lies at the heart of
• Central to all advertising is a simple message: for every so-called need, their is a
“Keeping up with the Joneses” - advertising manufactures discontent, while
• lifestyles anchored by conspicuous consumption
• Advertising constitutes a discourse in defense of dominant ideology
Capitalist society spins seductive images and fantasies (popularity, sex appeal,
intelligence) that define who we would like to be and how we would like others to see
• Systematic propaganda: Every ad says its better to but than not to buy.
Advertising’s influences a cultural nightmare in our society: the fear of failure and envy
I.Deconstructing Advertising: “Manufacturing Discontent”
Advertising must conform to certain codes if it is to become a successful system of
• New “anti-ad” advertising reaffirms the rules for connecting audiences with the
message of more. Despite a different tact for pitching products to an increasingly
• Successful advertising components:
- target market
- attract attention
- arouse interest
- construct images
- neutralize doubts
- create conviction
A. Targeting Markets
• Advertisers prefer to link a product with a specific target group by designing a
campaign around the needs, fantasies, anxieties, and values of the desired segment
• Fixed brand preferences (ex. old people - dental adhesives) cause restrictive
- Sometimes elderly and minorities get left out of advertising mix
- Age-specific products B. Attracting Attention
Advertising clutter causes the need for campaigns to stand out and be unique/
• The use of minority women and men as attention grabbers and exploited by the
branding tactics of Benetton
C. Arousing Interest
• Interest is created by playing on an audiences emotion or stimulating needs.
- In a way trapping people by their own fears, insecurities and emotions.
• Advertising works to generate need beyond basic functionality
- Ex. Underarm deodorant exists, not because we perspire, but because perspiration is
seen by society as an anxiety-laden situation.
D. Fostering Images
• Ads our now sold by image-association
• Switch from promoting actual products to promoting a lifestyle surrounding a particular
• Advertising signifies a connection between the meaning of products and the
corresponding images of consumption.
• Ads bestow special meaning and socially added value by creating pleasing images
that transform anxiety into satisfactions.
• Advertisers are essentially buying consumers by linking commodities with what is
defined as social desirability
E. Neutralizing Doubts
• Important to neutralize any doubts a consumer may have about a product
• appeals to reason, tradition or science are often employed to convey a positive image
and keep doubt to a minimum
• Reliance on minority women and men has proven somewhat controversial, given
public ambivalence about diversity as a problem or solution.
F. Securing Conviction
• Need to be convinced they are making the right decision
• The product under consideration should make the consumer feel better in some way.
• Conviction is created through positive reinforcement
• To reinforce decision making advertising media rely on reassuring images
(babies/puppies), evocative symbols (natural world/opulence), and positive association
(sex, science, celebrities, or tradition).
II.Crisis in Advertising
• Combination of advertising clutter and remote technology sent the industry running to
device new means for overcoming these obstacles • Consumers exhibited a pattern of resistance when being manipulated and positioned
by over-structured ads and preferred readings.
Of developments that contributed to the criticism, these proved most challenging:
1) Ad saturation and clutter, together with viewer alienation and zapping technologies,
creates potential for consumer resistance.
2) Many people are overly hostile towards advertising.
3) Survey’s indicate it is not material things that make us “happy” but social.
4) Brand name recognition is increasingly problematic. Without product variation, ad’s
must focus instead on creating images that cater to specific markets
5) Must produce commercial ads that do not offend anyone. Being creative without
• Advertisers incorporated a criticism of ads by adopting positions of mocking self-
awareness with respect to the advertising process itself
• New ads are constructed with the viewers resistance in mind
• Grittiness replaced glamor as a key image; ambiguities took precedent over clarity.
• Viewers seek reassurance that they are “cool”
• Benetton’s strength of an issue-orientated advertising campaign based on selling the
image of social consciousness
• Contrasts Black and White a lot.
The high-profile use of minority images puts Benetton at the front of the postmodern
shift that celebrates differences as something to be endorsed rather than rejected.
• Use of images that startle and provoke response/thought.
• “badge good” they say something about the users above and beyond the functionality
of the product.
• Many are critical of Benetton for capitalizing on the diversity or misfortunes of others
as a basis for generating profit.
III.Advertising through the Prism of Whiteness
• Advertising is not regulated under the same set of rules that govern news reporting
and TV programming.
• Advertising is based on stereotypes, that is, a set of images or assumptions about the
people and the world around us.
• These images are then reinforced in our subconscious through advertising and
become the norm
• They reflect social order because of their role in justifying the prevailing distribution of
power and resources.
• Visible minorities surveyed indicated that they made their purchase decisions based
partly upon whether the ads included visible minorities in a positive way
• Diversity sells • Diversity is presented in advertising which have ads positioned within two broad
spheres of life: work and leisure.
“Miniaturizing” Minority Women:
• Minorities seen as “exotic”, therefore meant to enrich daily life of white people.
• Rarely were minorities portrayed as “typical, normal, everyday Canadians, who go to
work, have families and live ordinary lives”.
Women: have been the target of misrepresentation through stereotyped advertising for
a long time
• advertisings view of “what women ought to be”
• often portrayed as a prop for men, and obsessed with grooming or appearance.
Media is also known to infantilize women by casting the as silly or child-like or as
mechanical cardboard figures devoid of intelligence.
• Making women uncomfortable in their own skin
• The image of feminine beauty is still, thin, blonde and youthful.
• This “stereotyping” also has the effect of disempowering minorities by depoliticizing
their status and contributions to society
• Fuels the growing estrangement between man and woman
Skimming the Surface:
• Switch from “white sells” to “diversity sells”.
• Can be attributed to:
1) the crisis of advertising
2) changes in social climate pertaining to minorities
3) the growth of ethnic market
• Henry Mietkiewicz (Toronto Star media critic), Based on almost 2000 TV shows and
over 114 hours of programming on Canadian and American channels
- 30.8% of the commercials aired employed minority actors.
- 10.4% of the ads provided more than a token appearance of at least 3 seconds of
• the industry is missing the mark by failing to build brand relationships.
Most advertisers still seem to insist on targeting two markets, the “ethnic” and the
• Use of racial advertising to pitch product to predominantly White mass audience of
consumers • Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies exhibit of more than 300 examples of racial and
ethnic images used by corporations in magazines, posters, trade cards, and
• Even racially motivated phrases “Lawee! Folks sho’ whoops with joy over AUNT
• At the same time Black’s were getting more advertisement time, other groups were
being ignored or singled out for continued stereotyped treatment.
• Latino media activists believed negative stereotypes moved to Latino’s “the media’s
• Asian’s, particularly Japanese continue to be dealt more than their share of
commercials depicting them in stereotypes that cater to the fears and stereotypes of
• Asian women in commercials often appear featured as China Dolls
• Lack of sizable Asian community or market in US cited as the reason that Asians are
still stereotyped in media. Rarely in integrated settings.
• 1970’s mass audience advertising in the US became more racially integrated than ever
• Lighter skin Black people in advertising over darker Black’s as background models
Minorities who did appear in advertisements were ofter depicted in upscale or
integrated setting. “To far in other direction”
• If Black’s continue to be underrepresented in advertising portrayals, it can be looked at