I’m taking the liberty to write a more ranty post, so this doesn’t include any works of my own. I’m just so frustrated at three images used in advertising/promotion that it makes me angry, and this is a good medium to spread frustration.

Part I

The first image that I came upon was an ad of Unicef for it’s Ole hetken √§iti (Be a mother for a moment) where you are supposed to pay them money with which they will save the starving African children and the world etc.

But in reality it’s saying “give us money and we will give you an illusional feeling that you get to be a mother, while never actually seeing your “baby”“.

This just takes advantage of hormonally not-so-balanced lonesome women who wish to have a baby but can’t get one, be it a teenager with baby fever or an older woman who’s gone beyond the point of getting one.
So they will get the warm fuzzy feeling that they can have someone to love and be loved in exchange. For money.

Obviously I don’t know how individual females will react to this ad, but this is the feeling I get. This ad wouldn’t have been made, if it didn’t have an explicit demography or strategy.

Translation of the ad; “Right now, at this moment, there is a child who needs a mother. No one is embracing him, not wiping off his tears and gives a hope of a better tomorrow. He squats on a street, hungry and tired. At nights he nestles up in his newspaper he found somewhere. No one is tucking him up, reads him a bedtime story, or gives him a good night kiss. He closes his eyes, and he remembers his mother’s face. He wishes that tomorrow, when he wakes up, his mother would’ve come back. And that she would never die again.

The story goes on and on along the whole volume of the mother’s figure in the picture. They should get a bloody prize for that story.

Part II

The other ad which got my blood boiling was the ad for Pelastakaa Lapset Ry (Save The Children Org.) which uses a cute child as a background, and a message dialogue which is very much like the one in OS X’s Aqua-theme.
Are they trying to be hip and trendy and appeal to the youth by an iconic and familiar layout? So why the cheesy [Save] and [Don’t Save]-buttons?

A message dialogue is recognized as an issue, a problem, which has to adressed immediately on your OS in order to continue on the task at hand.
Your task at hand in the street is your everyday life, or walking. The message dialogue gives you an issue which has to be adressed immediately, so you get the feeling you have to choose one or the other, otherwise you can’t continue.
Saving will cost you money, not saving will cost you karma points.

Instead, removing the [Don’t save]-button gives you the option to ignore the message altogether, because you never have only one option, you can always ignore stuff. But the dialogue does not have a [Cancel]-button, so you can’t ignore it. Save the children or be a monster.

But in the end, this is only about saving yourself. If you’re the philantrophist you want to be, you wouldn’t need ads to tell you what to do. This is the same things which makes you “aww” when you read from the newspaper that 700 people have died in a landslide in India. And then you turn the page.

Part III

The third image is not really an ad at all, just a promotial picture for The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series from some newssite.

Those who know their semiotics, or the basics of visual communication, the most basic composition of a picture is triangular. This makes the image more dynamic, moving, interesting. There are leading lines or elements which are subtly formed triangularily, old paintings help with this with extended arms, gazes at specific characters etc.

The picture in question is rather genially composed:

I don’t know about you, but I’m a generic man, and the things that interest me in the context of pretty women are not so hard to guess, so my trail of sight went a bit like this:

First a cute girl, gun, tits, ass, nice older girl, tits, and oh, someone John Connor, who is stading behind the other important elements involved with in the series.
The main character wasn’t John Connor, they were Summer Glau’s tits and ass.

[EDIT] Okay, I could do some use and actually analyze the denotative side for those who are interested.
Glau is holding a very big and a smaller firearm, so she obviously is shooting often. Heady has only one small firearm, so she shoots, but not much. Just to make a point. Dekker obviously doesn’t have to shoot, so he doesn’t hold on to anything.
Glau is facing right to “open” the picture onto the right and also facing Dekker, who she is guarding. Also her ass is in clear view. Heady is standing in front and with her back against Dekker to protect him. She leans to the center of the picture to “close” the composition.
Glau is in a stance to give her movement, also is Dekker, and he’s walking towards the viewer from the back, to “face his future” or something.
Glau looks straight into the viewer, maybe to challenge them. Her eyes have strong make-up to catch the first glance of the viewer (contrast). Dekker is also watching the viewer a bit challegingly, but also mischievously, or rebelliously. Heady looks a bit askance, can’t figure out why.
The lights are highlighting Glau’s breasts and ass, also Heady’s breasts. Dekker is highlighted from the both sides symmetrically to emphase the center position.
Their clothes have the same color for aesthethic purposes, the light at the back could maybe signify a bomb, a sunrise (hope) or the future (sci-fi always has flashing lights).
And a lense flare. For the coolness.[/EDIT]


But surprisingly, yesterday I noticed an ad I actually like.
It was Valio’s ad about their main product line; milk.

The denotative side (what you see) shows a high-key closeup photo of milk with different things one ususally sweetens it up with, here strawberries.
The connotative side (what it says) is actually very subtle and honest, almost innocent.

It doesn’t tell you “buying this will make you happy/beautiful/popular“, it just wakes a craving for a very traditional form of sweetness, which has always existed in you.
And the minimalist layout is very aesthetic.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]


Those things sell. And for the first two, the goal could be a lot less ethical.

What’s wrong with some T&A?

posted by Daniel on 05.11.09 at 23:24

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