Throughout this course I have been able to explore the various ways technology, and our relationship with it, has impacted society. The way people communicate with each other today is often either interrupted by technology, or possible because of it. No matter what side of the spectrum you ever find yourself falling on, it doesn’t matter – it is still proof that the advancements in applied science are apart of every day lives, including in what we believe. Narrative storytelling, digital citizenship, bias…these are all concepts that embedded within media literacy and the societal impact of technology. As a final project for this course, I have chosen to create an advertisement using the principles learned throughout this course. Below you will find 1) an original print ad for a magazine I made up called Kulture Magazine and 2) a detailing of how meaning is translated through this image using the language of persuasion.
Media literacy is the practice of decoding any form of media to understand how messages are communicated. In the original print ad I created above, the text and subtext can be described as follows:
- A print or digital ad promoting the upcoming release of a magazine titled Kulture.
- Taglines for magazine, “Quit frontin’,” “Keep it real.”
- Descriptive line, “The realist urban magazine around.”
- BUZZ words, “old school,” “icons,” “life,” and “love.”
- Image of a record player
- Icons to get connected via social media platforms
- Buying this magazine means that you keep it real; you’re not a fake person and enjoy being yourself.
- This magazine is more honest than their competitors (Vibe, XXL, and The Source magazines).
- Kulture Magazine has a respect for history by paying tribute to old customs, icons, and movements.
- The subject of this magazine is hip hop culture, told from an alternative and honest perspective.
This ad uses the following tools as a language of persuasion:
Association – The target demographic for this magazine are males, 18-34 years of age. The subject matter is hip hop culture and all that it encompasses. This includes hip hop music, brands, clothing, sports, and public figures. The hip hop demographic is suggested by the record player image and the intentional misspelling of “culture” and “school.” These are tools often used in hip hop music, which would be immediately recognized by their consumers.
Symbols/Codes – Intentional use of the ‘K’ is also a code for the demographic showing that producers of this magazine are young, hip, and on top of current trends. This is also reflected by the trending hashtags and placement of social media platforms. The subject matter of this magazine is coded through the image of the record player and buzz words. The record player is a symbol of music from an older generation. It has been adopted by the hip hop generation since its use has been transformed from a player of music, to an instrument of it by DJs. The buzz word “old skool” is a code for respecting history. Advertisers use of this phrase shows that this magazine will include culturally important information for it’s buyers. And through consumption, readers will become more well rounded about their hip hop knowledge and life. The terms “old skool,” “keep it real,” “quit fronton’,” and “realist” are slang terms. These are textual codes used to 1) catch the eye and appeal to those who use those phrases and 2) indicate that their target audience is also predominately those who consume hip hop. Taken from research conducted by what would be a competitive magazine in XXL, their consumer research indicates the following:
Demographics pulled from http://alexyatesmedia.blogspot.com/2012/10/audience-research-reader-profile-of-xxl.html
Explicit Claims – This ad directly states that they are the most honest (or “realist”) magazine on the newsstands. The strategy in designing this ad was not to try and persuade or convince readers that this magazine is was made for them. In a more explicit manner, the ad is designed in a more aggressive, straightforward fashion.
Intensity – The ad is built semantically with intensifiers and hyperboles. The phrase “the realists urban magazine around” is used to create a strong impression on readers and evoke feelings of trust, honor, and culture. The word “urban” is distinguished from the rest of the sentence by being made in all caps. Not only is “urban” a code symbolizing hip hop culture, but it is also a superlative signifying that hip hop consumers and those whose consider themselves to be urban, are of the highest quality. This magazine is then by use and association, of a high quality as well. The term “quit frontin'” is a direct call to action for consumers to stop pretending to be “real” and prove that they are by subscribing to this magazine.
Charisma –The layout, text, subtext, and image are all tools to exemplify a high sense of style. This style and delivery is considered as a tool of charisma. As stated by the Media Literacy project, “persuaders can be effective simply by appearing firm, bold, strong, and confident.”
Nostalgia – The image of record player is an iconic image, symboling music. They are considered outdated and finding one today would likely require a google search. This is a traditional symbol used to make the reader feel nostalgic of a past they might not have even been alive to experience. But because they know what the symbol means (thanks much in part to hip hop), readers still know that it is an important symbol and can therefore infer that Kulture magazine will give them an honest reflection of hip hop culture.
Chandler, D. (2002). Semiotics: the basics. London: Routledge.
Media Literacy Project. (n.d.). Introduction to Media Literacy. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://medialiteracyproject.org/sites/default
Yates, A. (2012, October 30). Alex Yates’ Media: Audience research- reader profile of XXL magazine. Retrieved from http://alexyatesmedia.blogspot.com/2012/10/audience-research-reader-profile-of-xxl.html