Monthly Archives: May 2014

BCM310: Diasporic Media and asylum seekers

Image

Diaspora is a Greek term initially used in “scholarship, journalism, and popular discourse, used broadly and at times indiscriminately to denote a number of different kinds of movement and situations of mobility among human populations” (Burgett & Hendler 2007). In simpler terms, diaspora refers to “the broad range of dislocations experienced by several groups of people” (Khorana 2014). An example of this which is prevalent in Australian media is asylum seekers.

As previously discussed, the media plays a crucial role when it comes to informing public thought and perception regarding political, cultural and social issues. This means that the way in which different peoples, in this case, asylum seekers, are framed in the media has a direct effect on moulding public opinion. It has been noted that asylum seekers are only in the first stages of misrepresentation where the content produced around them is for the most part, limited, negative and full of misinformation and prejudices (Branston & Stafford quoted in Khorana 2014). This is decidedly true and is seen in the portrayal of asylum seekers through both images and terminology in news media. Common phrases include “boat people”, “illegals” and “queue jumpers” whilst images primarily are made up of large male groups often positioned near a boat. Asylum seekers are frequently depicted as a dehumanized ‘other’ that is out to ‘threaten’ the nation’s security. This is problematic as it has numerous legal ramifications and can contribute to the increase of race hate and hate crimes towards asylum seekers.

This also brings forth the notion of the right to representation. The right to contribute to the media by producing content that is a fair and accurate representation, is crucial if we wish to see a diversified media discourse. As the media has such a broad control over public thought processes, it is imperative that it demonstrates a number of different viewpoints and stories. 


References:

Burgett, B & Hendler, G 2007, Keywords for American Cultural Studies, New York University Press, NY, USA, p. 81

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Diasporic Media’, BCM310, lecture, University of Wollongong, viewed 19 May 2014

Advertisements

BCM310: Globalisation and Bollywood film

Globalisation refers to two main processes that are inherently connected to one another. The first – “the ways in which technologies can overcome global distances, so that people live in a world that seems borderless” and the second – “the ways that one particular economic system – ‘the free market’ or global capitalism – now permeates most of the globe” (Khorana 2014). This means that developments in technology and transport are allowing for people to establish connections across borders, this can mean the assimilation of cultures and a heightened loss of cultural difference.

Globalisation means that people are able to make positive connections with other countries, sharing ideas and media. However, this can also be problematic as cultures are increasingly similar. This is connected to the notion of cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism refers to the idea that one culture is dominant and is spread to other smaller cultures. This is many cases refers to the Americanization of cultures. Prolific examples of this Americanization are evident in many Eastern countries culture (Khorana 2014). Perhaps one of the most interesting examples is in Bollywood film. Bollywood films are notorious for mimicking the characteristics which are commonly credited to Hollywood cinema (Illawarra Mercury 2003). An example of this can be seen in the two film clips below which compare Baz Lurhman’s The Great Gatsby to Anant Mahadevan’s The Xpose. The film mimics the style, plot and set design of The Great Gatsby with a little added Indian flavour. But is this a bad thing? It could be argued that Bollywood films are just an out-right rip off of Hollywood’s and if this copycat culture was broken, it could be a positive thing for the future of Indian cinema (Nelson 2010).

This Americanization of cultures, Bollywood films being just one example, is contributing to a disproportionate amount of American culture being disseminated compared to other countries. This can have a negative impact as it can lead to the assimilation of cultures all over the world and a loss of unique cultural differences.

References:

Illawarra Mercury 2003, ‘Bollywood out to rip off Hollywood Entertainment’, Illawarra Mercury, 6 June, viewed 17 May 2014, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/364486315

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Globalisation and the Media’, BCM310, lecture, University of Wollongong, viewed 12 May 2014

Nelson, D 2010, ‘Hollywood cracks down on Bollywood ‘rip offs”, Telegraph online, 7 October, viewed 17 May 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/bollywood/8048582/Hollywood-cracks-down-on-Bollywood-rip-offs.html

BCM310: Race and the Media- After 9/11

Everything we know about other races and cultures, unless we have experienced them first hand, comes from the media. This means that how different ethnicities are constructed and represented in media has persuasive power in shaping our perception and understanding of that culture. Our entire world is mediated. This is particularly important, as cultures are not only routinely misrepresented but are often not represented at all. In most cases, the political representatives in power dictate a certain perspective which is depicted by the mainstream media, which, in turn, becomes that culture’s dominant discourse. This is problematic, as foreign cultures in Western media, specifically Middle Eastern cultures, are more often than not portrayed in a negative light. The media also tends to stereotype Eastern cultures by painting a simplistic, negative picture of their culture and characteristics.

After 9/11, negative media portrayals of Arabs and Muslims on US television were abundant. This directly aligned with Bush’s political regime – the ‘war on terror’ and the ‘axis of evil’. However, what is surprising is that in addition to this negative portrayal, there was also an increase in the number of sympathetic depictions of Arabs and Muslims at this time (Alsultany 2013). In television and movies, Arabs and Muslims were frequently represented as terrorists or demonized as the evil ‘other’. This was then counteracted with an arguably positive portrayal of the same race later in the same text. This was a deliberate attempt to position America as “an enlightened country” that had “entered a postrace era” (Alsultany 2013, p. 162). However, negative representations are not necessarily best neutralised by someone else’s idea of a ‘positive’ representation (Khorana 2014). Despite being considered for the most part, positive, the portrayals were simplistic and contributed to the justification of discriminatory policies (Alsultany 2013).

It is important that when we access media that depicts other races, that we look at it critically and do not take it at face value. By examining the example of the representation of Arabs and Muslims in American media after 9/11, we can see that these depictions are far from accurate and that stereotypes are not easily subverted with simplistic ‘positive’ representations. Perhaps most importantly, it is crucial that we understand that media is often created and disseminated with specific political agenda’s in mind and that these representations are often far from accurate.

References:

Alsultany, E 2013, ‘Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11: Representation Strategies for a “Postrace” Era’, American Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 1, pp.161-168

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Race, Ethnicity and the Media’, BCM310, lecture, University of Wollongong, viewed 5 May 2014

MARK217: Attitude Change- Old Spice

This week’s topic looked at the concept of ‘consumer attitudes’ and the numerous theories and models which work to form an understanding of how they are developed and possible strategies to change them. So, what are attitudes? Attitudes are:“a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect to a given object” (Algie 2014). The word ‘object’ in this definition refers to “product, product category, brand, service possession, product use, causes or issues, people, advertisement, internet site, price, medium or retailer” (Schiffman et al 2014, p. 246). Attitudes are learned through direct experience, word-of-mouth and exposure to mass media advertisements via indirect or direct marketing (Algie 2014). Additionally, attitudes are generally consistent with the behaviour they reflect however certain situations may cause consumers to act in ways that are inconsistent with their attitudes (Algie, 2014). In a business context, it is important for companies to be aware of the consumer attitudes that exist regarding their brand and products.

A memorable example of a company that has acknowledged the need to change consumer attitudes regarding its products and has successfully done so through marketing is Old Spice. Old Spice is a men’s deodorant brand, owned by Proctor and Gamble (P&G) since 1990 but that has been on the market since 1938 (O’Neill 2010). In 2002, the company introduced a new product category to its brand, body wash. However, Old Spice began to be edged out of the market when faced with successful competition, namely the deodorant and body wash brand ‘Axe’ (MediaMeasurement 2011) and new entrant to the market, Nivea (Effie Awards 2011). Due to the age of the brand, it was found that younger male consumers believed the product was out-dated and was associated with older generations (O’Neill, 2010). In 2010, Old Spice launched a campaign that aimed to change these attitudes and face increased competition.  The campaign was in the form of numerous advertisements ‘the man your man could smell like’. These advertisements aimed to target both men and women (as research found up to 60% of men’s body wash is purchased by women) and to position Old Spice as a “manly” product as opposed to its “lady-scented” competitors (Effie Awards 2011). Below is the most well-known advertisement:

The campaign was first launched on Facebook and YouTube during the 2010 Super Bowl to compete with Nivea who were also planning to gain media attention at this time. The video soon went viral and in early June, consumers were asked to continue the conversation by submitting questions via Twitter and Facebook to be answered personally by the Old Spice Guy (P&G no date).

This campaign successfully transformed existing attitudes towards Old Spice branded products. It saw an increase in the sales of the product, brand awareness and worked to reinvent the brand in the eyes of its consumers (MediaMeasurement 2011).

References:
Algie, J 2014, ‘Week 8: Consumer Attitudes’, MARK217, lecture, University of Wollongong, viewed 1 May 2014

Effie Awards 2011, ‘2011 Gold Effie Winner:“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”’, Effie Awards, NY

MediaMeasurement 2011, ‘Old Spice demonstrates just what it takes to launch a successful social media campaign’, MediaMeasurement, viewed 6 May, http://www.mediameasurement.com/old-spice-demonstrates-just-what-it-takes-to-launch-a-successful-social-media-campaign/

O’Neill, M 2010, ‘How Old Spice Swaggerized Their Brand and Men Everywhere’, SocialTimes, 22 July, viewed 6 May, http://socialtimes.com/how-old-spice-swaggerized-their-brand-and-men-everywhere_b18042

P&G no date, ‘Latest Innovations: Old Spice’, P&G, viewed 6 May, pginnovation.com

Schiffman, L, O’Cass, A, Paladino, A & Carlson, J 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, Australia

BCM310: Women and Advertising

The media plays a huge role when it comes to shaping our learning. Our entire understanding of gender and equality has been moulded by not only our experiences, but through what we have seen in the media. This is why the issue of the representation of women in the media is so important. Advertising’s primary function is to create propaganda for commodities, to do this, it sells a “system of values consistent with the imperatives of consumer capitalism” (Cortese 2004, p. 12). It advocates unrealistic ideals of beauty and stereotypes women in order to sell products. This can have a detrimental impact on women’s notion of their own self-worth and identity as well as deepening the objectification women experience in an everyday context.

Women are constantly hyper-sexualised and treated as objects in today’s advertising media. The company, Lynx, is notorious for producing advertisements that are extremely sexist and objectify women time and time again. In addition to this, the advertisement below (which was eventually banned) (Poulter 2011), perpetuates the stereotype that a woman’s place is in the kitchen or performing some other domestic task. The campaign featured a model, Lucy Pinder, and asked viewers to “Play with Lucy” and “Put premature perspiration to the test” through its website, which further objectifies women (Sweney 2011). The advertisement aims to suggest that by using Lynx deodorant, men will become more attractive to women. 

Image

 

This kind of advertising uses a type of ‘humour’ to reach its target market. However, this can have multiple, serious repercussions in an everyday context for women and society as a whole. It can lead to men having unrealistic ideas of what beauty is and to the acceptance of rape myths and sexual harassment (Miss Representation 2011). In addition to this, it is contributing to an increasingly submissive attitude from women when faced with the type of media (Zimmerman & Dahlberg 2008), as it happens so frequently it is becoming ‘normal’.

 

References:

Cortese, AJ 2004, Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising, 2nd edn, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc, USA

Miss Representation 2011, DVD, Girls’ Club Entertainment, United States, directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Poulter, S 2011, ”Degrading’ Lynx adverts featuring glamour model Lucy Pinder banned by watchdog”, MailOnline, 24 November, viewed 3 May 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2064946/Degrading-Lynx-adverts-featuring-Lucy-Pinder-banned-watchdog.html

Sweney, M 2011, ‘Lynx’s Lucy Pinder Ads Banned by ASA’, Guardian, 23 November, viewed 3 May 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/nov/23/lynx-lucy-pinder-ads-banned

Zimmerman, A & Dahlberg, J 2008, ‘The Sexual Objectification of Women in Advertising: A Contemporary Cultural Perspective’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol, 48, iss. 1, pp. 71-79