Deconstructing a TV advert

With 60,000,000 people watching television in the UK, it is by far the most accessible point of advertising for companies. Seven factors control just how much this will cost a company and this generally means that the best slots go to larger companies with more cash to spend on their marketing. These seven factors are:

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An introduction to reading an ad

I’m approaching this topic with the idea in mind that the male gaze is not the only viewing position we utilise today when considering reading advertisements. Below are three examples of ads with people in and I’ve made a very brief breakdown of how to read them while considering the gaze of the viewer as an introduction. Please do get carried away with making your own assumptions.

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Reading Fashion

Is that just a reflection of an outfit or one’s social status?

We all know about fashion in one way or another as it inhabits and intrudes on our everyday lives without us asking for it. But are we aware of the social stigma that is attached to wearing the outfit we chose this morning? Do we really pay attention to how we are portraying ourselves by simply getting dressed?

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Visual education: How we read images

A topic that is close to my heart is issue of being able to read texts. The bombardment of imagery that we contend with everyday isn’t often seen as something that necessarily needs contending with…but it should. It is seen as normal and we are used to it from a very young age. Whether it is through advertising, borne to tempt us into objects or services that the advertisers wish we would aspire to, or crying ourselves to sleep over how much better the lives of everyone we know (and don’t know) are because social media has buried into our brain holes, it is essential that visual language is part of the curriculum. The alternative is what has pretty much already happened only getting worse; we are more miserable than ever and, yet, Instagram shows us otherwise. We are going wrong somewhere and I think a good place to start is a greater education and understanding of visual signals and how they can, and do, affect us.

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Are Creative practitioners responsible for addressing social issues?

In a word: no. Or, perhaps: not really. Thinking about the way in which a creative practitioner creates their work, it is apparent that the majority of what we encounter as a consumer is very commercialized, yet often censored in a way that it does not provoke a huge furore (unless that’s the objective of the company – bit of a gamble). There are a few examples of advertising campaigns that have shocked from a moral viewpoint; namely some of the advertisements shot by Oliviero Toscani for The United Colours of Benetton (shown below), but many of these practitioners are merely following orders from the company commissioning these images. Unless an artist is freelance and creates for the sake of art, there is often a commissioner signing off these images, so where the responsibility lies is a grey area. For responsibility, we can read: creative control.

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The Musée de l’Elysée showed a collection of controversial photographs in 2008 and described it as follows:

‘The Musée de l’Elysée has brought together a wide range of photographs from the beginnings of photography to the present day, which have been the focus of controversy or legal proceedings.’

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