Research Conclusion

After researching different public service announcements and popular advertisements there are a few important points that we can conclude about both of them. On one side, public service announcements more ofter than not use symbolism heavily to portray their message. Alongside symbols and metaphors, they also tend to play on negative emotions provoked in people with their imagery to drive their message deeper and make people actually think about what they’re talking about. These emotions and appeals can include those of fear, self-image, disgust and others. In the advertisement about quitting smoking, instead of portraying long term effects of smoking to a younger generation, the PSA appeals to the younger generation by making a point that smoking will ruin your skin and teeth in a very graphic way. In the drinking and driving PSA, it plays on the fear of getting caught driving while intoxicated. In a similar fashion, the PSA about texting and driving invokes feelings of guilt from the audience because the teenager is about to ruin the life of a mother and two young children. This is what all of these PSAs have in common, and also this is where their success comes from.

In contrast, advertisement commercials are trying to sell us a product or a service by doing the exact opposite. They usually rely on appealing to the positive side of the spectrum of emotions. The other difference between PSAs and regular product commercials is that they do not target a specific group of people. The purpose of a product or service advertisement is to reach out to as many people as possible. For example, in the VW “The Force” ad, the entire commercial is… well… cute. Everyone loves little kids, especially when they’re doing adorable things. This commercial can speak out to a vast diversity of people, and it also has a very “regular” feel to it. By “regular” I mean it’s showing a happy family, living in a house, the businessman dad, the stay at home mom, and the little kid running around the house. It speaks to a lot of people. This is the core difference between PSAs and Ads.

Advertisement Research cont.

https://nickwoolf.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/nbc-news-business-explains-why-advertising-during-the-super-bowl-is-such-a-big-deal/

Superbowl ads: Why are they so important and successful?

30 seconds of air time for ~$4 million seems a little crazy but there is always a method behind the madness. After all, the Superbowl is the most watched televised event in the history of television. With over 100 million viewers this past year, it broke all records for U.S broadcasting ratings. While it’s true, the sheer amount of people that watch the Superbowl every year is enough to clarify why companies seek out those multi-million dollar 30 second slots, there is more behind the science of a Superbowl ad than just that. For example, for people like myself, that are not a die-hard football fan, but still get roped into the craziness of the Superbowl each year, the one thing I look forward to are the advertisements. For fans of football which are highly invested in the intense end of the season game which decides who’s the best team is, the commercials can provide a sense of unwinding and introduce comedic relief in an otherwise uptight atmosphere. This is why the Superbowl commercials are so fought after by companies and manufacturers. The broadcast is ideal for a vast diversity of consumers to be reached in a short amount of time which can and almost always does improve the sales of a company. Lets take a look at some of the better examples of Superbowl commercials and see exactly what it takes to make a successful ad for a ~$4 million dollar slot.

Volkswagen The Force: https://youtu.be/R55e-uHQna0

Research: http://time.com/3685708/super-bowl-ads-vw-the-force/

By far one of my personal favorite commercials. It was also a landmark for a change in the advertisement world. VW made a risky decision before the Superbowl to release the ad before their super-expensive spot during the game. Before this, most companies kept their ads secret and waiting for the moment during the game to reveal their entries to the most watched commercials in TV broadcasting because that was thought to be the most successful way of generating views and capturing consumers. VW proved otherwise with their Force ad. Since they released the commercial early on youtube, they were able to generate a buzz way before the big game. Besides the controversial move on VW’s part about releasing the ad early, the commercial itself had some basic core principals included in it which can attribute to the viral status it achieved so early. It played on peoples emotions. Star Wars is a nostalgia trip for many viewers to begin with. The bran`d of Star Wars within itself carries a huge fan base. The cute little kid failing over and over and finally succeeding can cause joy in a viewer. All these factors make this commercial successful.

The Bark Side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XU6LYSUoXw

The Dog Strikes Back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kjjBe481B0

Just to emphasize on how Super Bowl commercials have changed, since VW’s early release of The Force commercial it assumed other advertisers would take on the same strategy to generate buzz about their products and ads. Since the Super Bowl is an event that has a build up to it, marketers and ad companies can generate a buzz 2 weeks before the actual Super Bowl. It is nowadays generally considered the best way to go with Super Bowl commercials because it generates more viewers than just releasing the ad during the event itself.

Ads can now be classified as ones that get released in entirety before the Super Bowl. Ones that can be teased before hand to generate some buzz and ones that are a secret until they actually air during the Super Bowl.

Pledge to say No More: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTJT3fVv1vU

On a more serious note this is a Super Bowl ad that is about domestic abuse. There are no actors in the actual commercial because the ad makers want us to focus on the phone call. During the phone call to a 911 dispatcher the woman is pretending to be talking to a pizza place for delivery. In the background, we see images of a messy house, books on the floor, a dirty sink, a damaged (punched) wall. While disorienting at first, the conversation between the dispatcher and the caller starts to clarify what is actually going on. This appeals to a sense of helplessness that victims of domestic abuse usually have. The dispatcher is a well trained one and recognizes what is going on and sends help. This can also appeal to victims of domestic abuse because it can signify hope for those that are afraid to speak out.

PSA Research

Skin/Teeth PSAs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oJZm5YBCL0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15Q5qGgfz_Q

These PSA’s are about cigarettes and the extra cost of smoking. The ad doesn’t have music. It isn’t brights or colorful. It’s dark, gloomy, and negative and it depicts people purchasing tobacco products. These ads are very powerful with their message because when the transaction is made, the clerk tells the customer they need more than money. In one of the PSA, the customer rips of her smooth skin and hands it to the clerk, while in the other one, the customer does the same with his teeth. The deeper message there is that on top of cigarettes costing money, they will cost your health. I think the gloomy nature of the ad, mixed with the really straight forward and graphic approach to the “extra” cost of cigarettes makes it a successful ad. As a smoker myself, these the first advertisements that made me consider quitting.

Texting and Driving PSA:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rClJW9gnchc

Another PSA, but this one is about texting and driving. It shows teenagers in a car driving normal like any others would, however, the driver picks up her phone to answer a text massage. Halfway through the text, we see her car swerve in the other lane and time stops. Both drivers get out and have a conversation before the collision. I think the reason why this ad is successful is because it hit an emotional button when it displays one of the drivers kids frozen in time when she gets back in the car, and it also does the same with the other drivers friends. After they both get back in the car, time resumes and the collision happens leaving us with a powerful message about texting and driving.

Drunk Driving PSA:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o78-tgaKzAU

This PSA is all about drunk driving. Again, I would say it’s a very successful PSA. It shows people under the influence of alcohol making a bad decision to drive home. Throughout the ad, you can see police officers, and state troopers etc. blended in the background. The reason I like this PSA so much, is because the slogan is “They’ll see you, before you see them.” and the way that slogan is represented artistically is phenomenal.

Truth Orange PSAs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNS0JaX9_X8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WORU0gW8q4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTAOhxlgLbY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcpPlNWkfMo

While the first three PSA’s had a dark and gloomy nature to them, and were on topics such as smoking, drinking and driving and texting while driving, these PSA’s take a more positive outlook on a problem. In contrast to the previous ads, the Truth Orange PSA’s focus on the positives of quitting smoking, while still having a very clear message in them. Unlike the other ads, these are bright, colorful, fast paced with modern music and references to popular culture throughout all of them. They are aimed at today’s youth and is encouraging them to quit smoking cigarettes by providing positive enforcement to an already existing movement in our youth. These, along with the first PSA’s are the first two ads that made me try to quit smoking cigarettes.

Thesis Revised

In todays society everyone is craving instant satisfaction. We live in a world where we’re one click away from uploading a picture, downloading an album, or sharing our thoughts with the world. In our culture of today we have to be satisfied with what we see or get what we need in first few seconds of interaction otherwise the communication result in a certain failure. This lack of patience in today’s society has resulted in us consuming, but not processing information. While this is a negative aspect in the way information reaches us nowadays, the same process can also be used for a positive change. I want to create advertisements that would satisfy these primal cultural instincts of today’s society by being short and instantly gratifying, but also conveying a powerful positive message in a short amounts of time.

Thesis Draft

In todays society everyone is craving instant satisfaction. We live in a world where we’re one click away from uploading a picture, downloading an album, or sharing our thoughts with the world. In our culture of today we have to be satisfied with what we see or get what we need in first few seconds of interaction otherwise the communication result in a certain failure. This lack of patience in today’s society has resulted in us consuming, but not processing information. While this is a negative aspect in the way information reaches us nowadays, the same process can also be used for a positive change. I want to create advertisements that would satisfy these primal cultural instincts of today’s society by being short and instantly gratifying, but also conveying a powerful message in a short amounts of time.

Reactions to Readings

Readings:

An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth by Bruce Mau

Sculpture In The Expanded Field

Net Art: Black Sun, White Halloween

I have to say, I enjoyed the Incomplete Manifesto the most out of the three readings. It is by far the lightest of the three and it made 43 fantastic points and suggestions about growing creatively and as a human. What surprised me was that some of those points were aspects of life that I have had encounters with in the past. One of my favorite points was number 18. Stay up late. It is something that I have had some great experience with in the past when it comes to my personal creative process. There’s something about being up at 3 AM, by myself, with my music and my thoughts, that is very peaceful to me, but also for some reason that is when some of my better creative thoughts have been born in the past. Overall, I have the Manifesto bookmarked for future reference because it is absolutely a reading I would enjoy going over again and again in the future.

Sculpture in the Expanded Field was a tough read. It took a few times to start getting an idea of what it was about. Basically what I got out of it is that at one point, sculpture started deviating vastly from its original form into other forms which did not represent what traditional sculpture did. During that transition, artists involved with sculpture were exploring those paths and pushing the boundaries of what we called sculpture and eventually it became such a vast field that it was hard to figure out what exactly is sculpture and what is something else. The reading also included a semiotic square which is a relation-based diagram which displayed the various paths that sculpture in the mid-20th century was taking . This diagram helps to conceptualize what was actually happening in the world of sculptures during that time, and somewhat organize the evolution of the art form. At least, that’s what I got from it.

As far as the last reading goes, I didn’t really get much out of it. I guess I can sum it up by saying that it talked about how Online Art and New Media and other new forms of art consider themselves “independent” and “democratic” meaning they don’t follow the same rules as traditional Art does when it comes to institutions such as Art Museums, Installations etc. The reading, however, notes that it is actually quite the opposite, and that Net Art has just as much structure and hierarchy as traditional art institutions and fields.

I did, however, explore some of the Disturbed Collective links from the wiki, and stumbled across Aram Bartholl’s work here. I really enjoyed the combination of new media/technology/social media and real life/traditional art in a way that almost satirically mocks our generation’s dependence on technology.

Anyway, the readings were good, although, a little tough at times to get through, I did enjoy them and they got me to think more about my thesis and what I’m trying to accomplish in the future with my art.