Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Media Blog Reflection 1/15/19

This whole unit on media and especially these media blogs has definitely caused a change in the way that I view and interact with it. The main thing that I do notice happening is that when I'm watching TV or on any media, I see an ad and I immediately think, "oh, that's a good one to use for my blog!" That actually got really annoying after a couple of times, because now all I can see in an ad is how well they're actually conveying their message and whether or not I can make something out of it and analyze the ad well. Or, I'll see an ad and actually think that it's really cool and that the company did a pretty good job at using the techniques. Before, I just thought that it was a really cool look at Times Square and sometimes ads would be funny. This assignment changed the way I look at it all.

My media consumption habits did change during this semester, but only recently towards the end. It could just be because of the amount of homework I have, but I honestly don't know if I got that much more. I feel like during the beginning to middle of the unit, I really wasn't that interested in analyzing the ads, and just continued on normally. But, I did eventually start actively looking at the ads. I didn't actually search up ads, but as was interacting with media, I started paying more attention to them. Even in TV shows, my sister would randomly see an advertisement that was placed in the show and call it out, and then for the rest of it I couldn't stop seeing them. I hope that eventually my media habits do change. I know that social media companies actively change their platforms to keep people on, and in the future I want to be less susceptible to this. I'm pretty sure that I am at least a little bit addicted to social media, and it definitely affects my life. Like many others, some nights I'll go to bed way later than I planned or I'll get distracted from homework because of social media. It just overall is a problem that I've been trying to deal with.

Even though I did get annoyed with thinking about these ads and homework while I was relaxing, it is important to have media literacy. Even though you would only analyze the ad on the surface for the thirty seconds that it plays, you can still get a lot from that. It might not be about the really deep implicit messages, but I think that you can definitely identify some of the techniques that a company uses in their advertisement. Being able to identify this and the other aspects of media is important. People need to be aware of how they're being affected by these techniques. Some of the advertisements can lead a person to be irresponsible or lead them in the wrong direction while trying to sell their product. It is also healthy to just be aware that their products will probably not fulfill what they said it would. People should actually know who they're trusting and giving their business to, and also what the consequences of doing so are. 

Keeping this blog was actually more interesting than I thought it would be. I always saved the posts for the weekend to do, but I didn't mind keeping an eye out for an interesting ad or a story with media that I would enjoy writing about. There was more to a commercial than I really thought there could be, and trying to find out more about its backstory and reactions to the ad was really helpful in expanding my interaction with the ad. Even though this was homework, once I started writing on my blogs, it wasn't the worst thing. For the most part, I was able to write about media that engaged me. And by doing that, I feel like I actually put more into the analysis of media than when it was something that I did not want to sit down and write about. I was able to practice picking apart a brand or their ad, and after this whole experience, I feel like I am a more educated consumer and that my media literacy has grown. I'll always be surrounded by media, but at least now I'm aware of how it's constantly changing and affecting me.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Paradox of Cool Hunting 1/5/20

Cool hunting is when the track what is cool. They used cool hunters to try and identify trendsetters and get ahead of them. That's kind of a risky thing to do since you can't really tell for sure whether or not something will become a trend. But they seem to be confident in this strategy, I mean they said that they are able to train these people so that they can identify a trendsetter. I guess that something big to look for is the fact that trendsetters dress differently than what is popular. It just depends on how different it is and whether people are willing to go that kind of different. Sometimes the things that are 'in' aren't really that different. I might be a change from what was currently popular, but these styles cycle through and it could have been really popular decades ago. The biggest one that I can think of is mom jeans. Other times it might be something that is actually new hasn't ever been the main trend, but even then I think that it would still draw from past styles.

The paradox with companies trying to sell cool to teens is that once they discovered it, it stopped being cool. There are a couple of reasons that this happens. The first problem is that they could have just been too late. Trends are always temporary and have changed, but now, they seem to be changing even faster than before. Companies tried to fix this by getting ahead of the trends. One way you could see this is by them sending out cool hunters. Another problem for companies is that when teens are aware that they are trying to sell cool to them, that drives them away. It can't be obvious that they are targeting teens. Instead, they have to mask it by making it seem like they get them and understand that teens don't want that. That is why anti-market marketing seemed to work for a while, until it became obvious that was also a marketing strategy.

The Only Way Out/ Feedback Loops 1/5/20

Right now I’m trying to go back through my notes but I can’t really figure out how to separate the two topics in my title, so I’m just going to talk about what I remember being talked about and hopefully it’ll end up relating to both of the topics. In the documentary, there was a solution presented to combat the media selling things to teens by limiting the media's ability to use it. What they presented was something that was so offensive that there was no way anyone would want to hear it. I guess that’s one way to avoid getting involved with the feedback loop, but the music and identity created put of this is extremely violent and vulgar. It’s not what teens should feel connected off of. I get that it’s a big thing that they found a way to escape the loop, but if you take that away, it’s just hate. Of course the media wouldn’t want to sell that because no one wants it.

But even then, that still fails. The band in the documentary was proof of it. The Insane Clown Posse prided theirselves off of that and in the end became mainstream. I feel like because they went against their message, there isn't really a valid message from their identity anymore. They were against the commercial identity but ended up going mainstream. What they built their band off of has no truth or meaning to it. You can’t say something and go back on that, and then expect that your fans are still loyal. Well, maybe those fans were still loyal I’m not really sure. The band definitely had to change something about what they put out though. I can’t imagine that if they kept everything the same that they would grow. I hope that there isn’t that much hate in the world and also, like we’ve learned in advertising, it constantly has to change to stay relevant and effective.

It was also said in class that things like YouTube or SoundCloud was supposed to be a way out. Looking at those things now, they are definitely not. There are ads all over Youtube and before every video. Brands have youtubers talking about their product in the video. I'm not as familiar with SoundCloud, but it doesn't seem as small as it was before. I don’t thing there really will ever be something that isn’t affected by media. Even if there was another attempt and it works, it won’t last for long. Becoming successful and making money has taken over a lot of peoples reasons for being on these platforms. Even if it starts out as just wanting to share content, I think that for many, it becomes about money. Or, advertisers make it about money. Then these people that became popular on this media see that there’s a way to make money off of doing what they love. No one would reject the idea of getting to do those things together. Also, when you get successful, advertisers are going to want to use you.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

HP Print The Holidays Ad 12/15/19

I get super weird vibes from this commercial. The message that they're trying to send is pretty obvious, that during the holiday season, everyone is increasingly spending more time on technology than with family. The ad itself is pretty cool. They have interesting transitions, angles, and effects. The first half of the commercial isn't totally dark, but the lighting is mostly artificial and compared to the second half, where the phone runs out of battery and everyone is doing something that doesn't include technology, it is overall much brighter with natural light. Actually, a lot about the first half is just unnatural. The proportions are all off and in some shots the background scenery of nature is noticeably fake.

It's clear that they believe that technology usage is bad, because they use it negatively and show that it leads to bad things, like when all the sledders crashed into each other. However, one thing that I don't really understand is how with the main little girl, her eyes are really dark throughout the whole thing. When everything else gets brighter, more chaotic, and fast paced, she kind of stays the same. Also, at the end, it shows them printing out their holiday cards, all smiling, but then it goes back to the family taking a picture. The parents are smiling, but the kids aren't really. This could just be showing how in general I guess younger people are thought to be more attached to their phones, but I would think that if the whole thing was about screens making everything all disconnected and gloomy, why would the commercial keep a little bit of that in when its all supposed to be bright and happy? Below is the last shot that I'm talking about. The parents are smiling while singing, but not so much the kids.

In the comments of the video, which is linked here:, everyone is saying "ok boomer." I honestly didn't totally look at it that way, but people can get pretty annoyed when others say that you're spending too much time on your phone. I think that the commercial did kind of over exaggerate what the family time looked like with phones, at least for my family. We find a way to incorporate technology, but it includes everyone. Theres video games, but we compete with each other. And every year there's a movie that everyone goes to watch. Yes, there are some times where people just chill on their phone, but it a lot more of it is chaos. I don't think that it is as bad as in the commercial, and that's probably what everyone in the comments thought. But then again, I think that it really is all exaggerated for the ad. All of the scenes shown were really interesting,  mainly because the people were able to play around with a basic idea and make it weird. If they didn't really make the two different sides of the commercial as opposite as possible,  people might not have gotten the message as clearly. I wouldn't say that I liked the commercial, maybe because I can see how sometimes it is like the first half of it, but what the company did was different and interesting. It caught my eye because it has some sort of surreal effect to it.

Something that I don't really get is how the actual product is supposed to be connected to this. They do use it as the "5 printed things" part of the song, but the actual printing is not really connected to the concept for me. I know that like what we have been talking about in class is that people are selling their products by emotionally connecting instead of selling what they can do. But, HP is a printing company and it just prints a card. Ok, actually I just realized that they can sell what the company is about. It has all the family stuff in it, so I guess it's connected in the sense that this is what the company wants you to see that they are about. Thats pretty good, because I'm guessing that the parents like what they see, with the family all together. They can print their holiday card and get that feeling.

Peloton wife 12/15/19

Recently, there has been some controversy around a commercial for Peloton bikes. Their commercial showed a small family on Christmas morning, or somewhere around there. The wife walks down the stairs with her daughter and is met with her husband and a gift. He shows that it's a Peloton bike. The rest of the commercial is her starting out kind of nervous and vlogging her rides for a year. Here's the link for the original Peloton bike ad:

The problem that people have had with the commercial is that the wife already looks thin and fit, but with the husband giving her the bike, its like he's telling her that she needs to lose weight. One of the biggest things that people have commented on is her facial expressions. The actress herself said that her worried expression is probably what drew a lot of the criticism. When I first watched it, I guess without hearing about the controversy before hand I wouldn't have really thought anything of it, but knowing what people have said, I definitely do see how others perceive it.

Building off of the controversy, Ryan Reynolds was able to use it to his advantage. He's the owner of Aviation Gin, and they used the same actress in their commercial. In this commercial, its her and two of her friends, and they're out drinking the gin. One can infer from the commercial that she and her husband got into a fight, which is why they're out. The wife chugs her drink and then takes one of her friends. Then at the end, her other friends says something like, "You look really good by the way." I think that this is a pretty smart move for Reynold's company. The storyline fits with the other commercial and its poking some fun at Peloton. They only actually comment on the gin once, saying that it's smooth, but that's it. The ad isn't really bashing Peloton or meant to be saying anything about the company, but the team for Aviation Gin saw the opportunity to have some fun with it and came up  with this ad:

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Do We Have Culture? Persuaders 12/08/19

When I was watching this documentary, I learned a lot of new stuff. I was really oblivious to how much actually goes into marketing and ads. But now, when I'm watching tv, I'm noticing how every commercial tries to do this. It's weird to think about how ads try to give us an identity. A product should be sold because of its actual usefulness, not what we think we can feel if we bought it. A product that has a spiritual connection with us is just a kind of unnatural thought to have, because at the end of the day, we all know that none of that is the goal and really it's just to make more money. But, advertisers actually do a super good job at this. There are some that did really well, especially when its a new tactic that people are now trying out.

From Persuaders, we can tell the the Song Airlines didn't do too well. One of the reasons was because people didn't really know what it was. When I watched some of their ads, I think that they did do a pretty good job at creating a persona for the company, but their ad really didn't make it clear what it was. However, in the comments, it said that people really liked the airline and how it was designed. One of them mentioned the colors of the seats, which I remember that in the video it said that colors matter. In their farewell video (, it looked really fun, just like the people tried to make it. So, there has to be a balance between getting a certain ethos out there, but you also have to make yourself known and it be pretty obvious about what it is.

Another thing brought up in the video was the tribes and how they connected it to cults. When you get people to join your tribe, it really is like a cult. I think that its kind of scary how advertisers can figure out ways to get us to subconsciously to things they want us to do. People look at those in cults and think that the idea of being in a cult and their ideas is so unbelievable that you would never join them. It's just too obvious for that to happen. But its like wake up people this stuff is happening to you, just with advertising. They are literally talking to people in cults or cult like things and take that information and use it against you. That is going really far, but honestly, I think that the whole thing of advertising is super far. 

Wayfair 12/08/19

For wayfair, their slogan is "Wayfair, you've got just what I need" and then there's probably something else they sing in the jingle about that rhymes with it. But, I watched three ads for Wayfair and in every single one they made a point about how they have free shipping. However, in only one of them they actually said that its for orders over $49. But this is only in small font held by a lady on a couch moving across the screen pretty fast.

If I only saw the other ads and them just featuring the part about free shipping, that would definitely make me more likely to buy from them. I'm pretty sure that I speak for a lot of people when I say that shipping affects whether I buy something or not. Like, if something cost less but it had shipping, I would be less likely to buy it than something that costs a little more but has no shipping.
Another thing I noticed about when I was watching the ad was that there was free shipping when an order was over $49. It didn't say when you spend $50 or more, but when something is over $49. I think that could be because they just wanted something shorter to write on the sign, but its probably more because its not $50. People don't want to spend the amount that is in the 10s place. If it was a dollar less being said, its like your still spending on the higher end of the 40s, but its not quite into the 50s yet, until you look at the end price with tax and stuff but still, you think its ok because at least its not in the next tens group. That's like when businesses do the $9.99 thing or something like that. It's always a cent less. A person's mindset is that it's technically not $10 even though with tax it'll be over that. When a kid wants a toy and it has the 99 cents added on, they'll obviously round down to $9 instead of $10.