Regulate Deregulation – It’s “Consuming Kids”

Never have I viewed the drastic effects of media deregulation on children until now.

Today in my Mass Communication class, we watched a documentary titled Consuming Kids. The main focus of the movie was to inform viewers about the wholesale commercialization of childhood and raise urgent questions about the ethics of children’s marketing and its impact on their development.

As I watched the film, I could not help but shake my head in dismay. It was such a terrifying reality. Even though I witness such behaviors on the regular basis, I never thought of the effects it actually has. Personally, I place the blame on both media and parents.

Since deregualation, marketers have become quite strategic with their marketing techniques. They understand that the children are the consumers of tomorrow. They also understand that children have a lot of say in what parents purchase, such as cars, personal computers, food, toys, and even vacation destinations.

A mother of six would never purchase a two-door coupe. Nor would she fill her kitchen cabinets with brown boxes of Cheerios.

Ever since deregulation, companies are finding clever ways to consider the inputs of children opinion that sway major financial decisions. The result of this strategy is the evolution of “junior consumers”.

When paired with such strategies, parents ultimately face the pressure of their own children and the society surrounding them.

Children are no longer interested in playing outside or using their imagination. As a result, it comes as no surprise that both obesisty and A.D.H.D rates are steadily increasing.

As a child growing up, I remember my mom would lock me out of the house until dinner time. Once dinner time rolled around, it was up to her to shout my name out the window and wait for me to come running home from the local playground.

Not anymore! Less children are playing outside because of the many things marketed to keep them inside.

I like to associate much of this to mean world syndrome. Prior to deregulation, the general public was not openly exposed to violence, sex and other explicit content. You simply had your imagination. Children were more happy and active!

The publishing of violent content, including video games, movies, tv shows and music, eventually took its toll on consumers. Mean world syndrome is a phenomenon where the violence-related content of mass media convinces viewers that the world is more dangerous than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than what is warranted by any actual threat.

Furthermore, as family structure continues to diminish, both children and parents are finding more innovative ways of keeping children safely occupied, even if it means jeopardizing their health.

The process of rewiring children will be a hard one. Not only will it require help from the government, but it will require a stronger generation of parents and children who are not easily pressured by media and trends.

“Consuming Kids” was a wonderful eye-opener and reality shocker. I would highly recommend this clip to anyone, both in and outside of the field of media.

 

Female Submission…Is It a Fad? (Myth Analysis)

For something intangible, like a magazine ad, a glance can be a powerful thing. It can carry the weight of culture, history, psychological harm, and can even act as a muzzle. The trend of women being depicted as submissive, silenced  individuals in print advertising is nothing new. In fact, more and more publishers are finding innovative ways to increase the use of this particular theme through the use of explicit innuendos, often times lacking any immediate connection to the product or service being promoted.

As instructed by my Mass Communication professor, I found five magazine ads that carry out this theme. Below I am going to carry out a myth analysis for each one and hopefully open your eyes to this ongoing theme.

Let me begin by first saying that all advertisements serve a PURPOSE! Hence, everything done in these ads are ON PURPOSE!

“Lady Table”

This advertisement is a perfect example of submissiveness. In this ad, the “model” is acting as some sort of stand. When I first saw this, I was immediately drawn to the placement of the shoes, in particular. The shoes on her back and head, in my opinion, implies stepping on her, pushing her downwards, while the shoe on her rear implies some form of domestic violence or the act of kicking her! It comes as no surprise that all of the shoes are male oriented; further signifying male dominance without having a male model present. Also, her face isn’t showing, as her own hair is used to cover it. Although I am not completely sure exactly where this ad first premiered, I am almost positive it was initially published in a magazine targeted at men, given the products she is ordained with.

“Back to School with A&F”

So, this is how Abercrombie & Fitch celebrates back to school. However, can you make out what they’re wearing? Is the guy wearing anything? Once again, the face of the female model is not visible. Not to mention that A&F has a target market of teenagers and middle-aged people. The paperwork on the chair leads me to believe that sex is acting as a “distraction” from any work they were attempting to get done. Not to mention, once more, that I cannot see one article of clothing they are wearing! The body language of the girl is what I described as “melting”. Furthermore, she is still fully clothed (I suppose) which leads me to believe that the male model is acting as the initiator, as he plans to undress her (I suppose). Way to go A&F! Perfect way to promote a Back to School clothing sale!!

“Unforgivable Women”

Although this is an ad aimed towards women, it still makes the woman look submissive and the man look powerful like he controls her.  The position of his left arm, partially around her neck, almost looks as if he is strangling her. Although his right hand is barely in the ad, from what I see it looks as if he is holding her hand, hence preventing her from any type of retaliation. While her movable hand looks limp, as if she is too weak to move. Similar to the previous ads, her face is also not facing forefront. Yet, this ad is for ladies perfume…..

“Calvin…Jeans….I think…”

What is Calvin Klein selling in this advertisement? If you said sex, well you’re wrong! Surprisingly, he’s still selling jeans! Once more, the face of the female is not recognizable. She is shown lying on her back, pushing her pelvic region towards the male model.  Her legs are spread and her eyes are closed, suggesting in my opinion that she is not paying the male much attention, who is aggressively holding her legs.  Her mouth is also open which suggest “accessibility”. However, the male model is in a very dominant position, as he is positioned over top of her. He is intensely staring at her in a way that makes her just a physical object, being that she is not staring back. This leads me to believe that he is fantasizing rather than appreciating her.

“Skyy Vodka”

I chose to place this ad last because it basically says it all! It demonstrates how a man is ranked higher than a woman. It also demonstrates how women are always portrayed as large breasted and scantily clothed, while the man is fully dressed and appears powerful. The setting and theme is completely irrelevant to the product being sold. From the background it looks like the man is actually in the wrong place, as the female is dressed for the beach, which is where she is depicted. Her face…yup you guessed it, is not VISIBLE! Her body language is submissive; she is in no position to defend herself.

As I mentioned earlier, everything is done ON PURPOSE! If advertisers place women face front, it will be viewed as domineering which is against established norms and expectations; except when it’s all women being photographed at once, hence there is no sense of hierarchy and/or competition for a dominant role.

The media uses this to reinforce ideas about heterosexuality, power dynamics and gender roles currently in existence. By promoting such behaviors, they can make more money because they have the  acceptance of the masses.

Macy’s 2012 Trend Show: Public Relations Get’s an A+

6:30 A.M. is extremely early for me to wake up on any given Saturday. However, today was a special day and I did not want to miss any parts of it.

I am a part-time Beauty Adviser at my local Macy’s. Macy’s Inc. is known for the awesome events they conduct and participate in worldwide. Some of their most popular encounters include the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Flower Show.

My favorite event however is the Trend Show. What is a Trend Show you ask?

 A Trend Show is a fashion show exclusive to ticket buyers only, hosted by Macy’s. Typically, it highlights cosmetic and fragrance trends for the upcoming season. These beauty trends are then mixed in with new fashion trends and presented in the form of a fashion show. The day is filled with music, fashion, beauty and giveaways!

The day of the show each ticket holder received a gift bag filled with free samples of makeup and skincare products, continental breakfast, and were automatically entered into a raffle to win cool gifts from featured vendors, such as Chanel, Estee Lauder, Clarins, Shiseido, Carol’s Daughter, and Clinique; one gift retailed over $300!!

There was months of planning leading up to the Trend Show. As a Beauty Adviser, I had the privilege of taking part in the planning of such a huge event.

The day of the show, attendees arrived before the actual department store opened. They were welcomed with continental breakfast and a live jazz band. After breakfast, they were encouraged to direct their attention to the runway as the show was soon to begin.

The Trend Show itself was the actual public relations strategy being carried out by Macy’s. Customers were able to sit in comfy pink chairs and watch a trendy thirty minute fashion show.

After the Trend Show, customers were allowed to partake in the FREE makeovers and facials being offered at every cosmetic counter. This gave them the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a Beauty Adviser and/or Skincare Specialist.

This experience was simply amazing! I was able to increase my clientele, market my counter and send many customers home with a smile on their face. Moreover, Macy’s did an excellent job interpreting consumer behavior, as most cosmetic customers love free stuff!

Overall, I think Macy’s was very successful! As reported by my department manager, the overall sales goal for the Cosmetic Department skyrocketed that day. The cosmetic department was overflowing with excited customers who were eager to buy.

Transformers Pushes Camaro Sales Over the Top!

With the first movie being released in 2007, Transformers is the most successful science fiction action film to be released. In 2009 and 2011, directors released the sequels to the original movie, Revenge of The Fallen  and Dark of the Moon, respectively, making it the 7th highest-grossing film series worldwide and the 4th highest-grossing when averaged to gross per film, behind the The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean film series.

The movies collectively tell the story of an on-going war for peace and humanity between the noble Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the deceitful Decepticons, led by ex-Autobot, Megatron.

Many of the products placed in the filming of this series are cars; face-paced, pony cars to be specific, such as the H2 Hummer, the 2008 Pontiac Solstice, and a GM Top Kick Heavy Duty truck.

The US Army and General Motors even loaned vehicles and aircrafts during the filming, in order to add realism to the battle scenes.

However, the audience was not the least bit impressed by those vehicles and honorable aircrafts. Instead, thousands of viewers, including myself, fell in love with the newest renovation to the Autobots, the humble Bumblebee.

Although Bumblebee was an original member of the Autobots, in the original Transformers, prior to the creation of the movie series, he was introduced as a Volkswagen Beetle. Later on, upon the making of Transformers the movie, Bumblebee was upgraded to a 1967 Chevy Camaro. His final transformation came about in 2009 when he was upgraded once more to a 2006 fifth generation Chevy Camaro Concept.

This product placement was quite strategic, in my opinion. Not only did it excite viewers around the world but it also helped reintroduce the Camaro to consumers and kick-start revenues after several years on hiatus.

When it made its movie debut, the fifth generation Camaro was still far from being offered to customers at dealers, however many interested consumers had already taken steps towards pre-ordering “Bumblebee”.

“The Transformers franchise has helped introduce Camaro – and Chevrolet – to a whole new generation of fans,” said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “Its role in the films helped make the Camaro the best-selling sports car in America and one of the best-known cars of any kind around the world.”

By including this vehicle in a movie that was experiencing rapid growth and box-office sellouts, both GM and Paramount Pictures were able to increase sales.

Furthermore, from this movie, GM was able to move forward with various other cross promotions and productions, such as offering Bumblebee and friends via toy replicas, t-shirts, Halloween costumes, and more.


Katie Holmes vs. Star Magazine

Star Magazine, founded by Rupert Murdoch in 1974, is known for their emphasis on  sensational crime stories, astrology and celebrity gossip.

Up until 2004, Star Magazine was published as an unstapled, inexpensive newspaper. Although it was very successful, it  remained in the shadow of its longer-established competitor, The Enquirer.

Furthermore, as media channels began to increase and consumers started receiving the same sensational stories for free, via TV and radio broad castings, circulations began to decline.

However, Star gained a new life once it switched to a magazine format. They started denying their tabloid roots and sought competition against a new breed of entertainment magazines. They also started headlining some very extreme sensational stories about celebrities, some of which were fabricated, leading to many complaints and lawsuits.

For example…

On March 1st, 2011, American actress Katie Holmes, filed a fifty million dollar lawsuit against American Media, the owners of STAR Magazine.

Apparently, Star Magazine captured a picture of Holmes, edited it, and placed it on the cover, insinuating she was a drug addict. Inside the magazine was a two page article titled  “ADDICTION NIGHTMARE – Katie DRUG SHOCKER! – The Real Reason She Can’t Leave Tom”

According to research, the actual article had nothing to do with a drug addiction; in fact, the article did not even mention a drug addition. This was simply Star Magazines way of “capturing the consumers attention”, as they stated.

Proceeding the publication of this magazine, Holmes’ reputation began to crumble before her eyes as the many readers took this is with no filter or regards to its publication location.

In her effort to regain public acceptance, Holmes’ hired an attorney and a publicist, who stated  “Star Magazine’s malicious claims about Katie are untrue, unethical and unlawful.  Not only do they cruelly defame Katie, they play a cheap trick on the public, making ridiculously false claims on the cover unsupported by anything inside.”

In order to prove this case,  Katie knew that she had to prove defamation and injury to her reputation. She had to also prove that the magazine acted with malice and knew that it was publishing false information.

Luckily, she was able to prove all of the above, bringing closure to the case in August 2011, with herself coming out on top! Upon winning the case, Star Magazine posted an apology on the cover of their magazine and also donated to a charity of Holmes choice. Exact financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

In addition, after meeting her Holmes’ publicist, Star Magazine agreed to give her a “casual” center photo spread; “Katie was pictured out and about in Beverly Hills…looking casual and relaxed in jeans and a leather jacket.”

In post interviews, Holmes’ said stated, “[I] have accepted the apology and was pleased the lawsuit has been resolved. With this dispute out of the way, I look forward to once again focusing my attention on my family and career.”