Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Identity, advertising, branding, and marketing

We're wrapping up our two month study of Identity with a weeklong project about how advertising has played on (and exploited) societal notions of identity. 

Planning an ad for Nalgene water bottles.

We started out by showing a couple of old commercials. One from 1950, the other from 1960. Both were illuminating, in terms of what they were selling, and how they went about doing so: 

Seeing television commercials for cigarettes was a little jarring, as they've been banned in the United States for over thirty years. But seeing famous cartoon characters smoking and shilling for specific brands was particularly unsettling. 

Watching these ads generated a lot of questions, and we talked quite a bit about the doublespeak and questionable claims made in them. 

What was the nature of the "studies" cited? 
What's a "T-zone?"
How is tobacco "specially selected" and "specially processed?" 
Why is a successful billiards player being used as a trusted source?

After a lively discussion about some of the techniques used in advertisements, the class was divided into five different groups. Each was tasked with writing and producing a commercial for a product, as if the were a miniature advertising agency. They've spent the last two days working on their commercials, learning new techniques along the way. 

Planning an ad for EXPO brand whiteboard cleaner

Writing and filming an ad for Jenga!

Filming in progress for an ad for Shurtape.

Filming an ad for Campbell's Chunky Soup.

Of course, advertising, marketing, and branding has changed substantially over since the 1950s and 60s, which we'll be exploring as we continue this project over the course of the week. 

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