Analysis into Charity Campaigns

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What techniques do charity campaigns use to convey their idea and persuade the viewer? Have they gone too far? Danielle Gough BA Visual Communication, Level 6 This essay will provide an in depth analysis into charity campaigns, their target audience and ways of communicating an idea, message and the methods used to persuade the viewer to donate or join the charity. In order to do this I will decode three images via semiotic analysis. Charity campaign techniques, symbols and signs , social and political issues used to persuade the viewer will be explored. The methods, history and theory of advertising, and advertising campaigns will also be taken into account. Advertising companies know their audience inside out, they know their weakness, strengths, what drives them to buy a product, and the psychology behind it. Scott, W states “ As it is the human mind that advertising is dealing with, it’s only scientific basis is psychology, which is simply a systematic study of those same minds the advertiser is seeking to influence. (Scott, 1916,p 2) They know figures and their target audience and human behaviour inside out. Their campaigns and posters are an extension of this. Decoding them and the reasoning behind them, will be my basis of study. Charities are selling a certain type of agenda, idea, lifestyle or an objective or wrong that should be right within advertising, there campaigns are an extension of there brand identity and what they are about, how they say it, and their whole personality. As stated by Dyer, G “ Charity Advertising is usually non- profit making, but often usues the persuasive techniques of commercial advertising” also Nava A states about social cause advertising “within contempory Western societies identity has not only been linked to movements of self- affirmation, but has also become integrated into lifestyle decisiions made about the self”( Nava, 1997, pg 29) If you choose to donate, or give to a certain charity this says something about your views on the world society and what you as an individual believe in. Organisations have brand power, their brand is an extension of there beliefs. Danesi states “ Brands are one of the most important modes of communication in the modern media environment” ( Danesi, 2006, pg 3 ). Some may use the word propaganda when describing charity campaigns. Danesi states Propaganda is the craft of spreading and entrenching octrines, veiws, and beliefs, reflecting specific interests and ideoligies ( political, social, philosophical, etc) by attempting to persuade people through emotional appeals. ( Danesi, 2006, pg 10). EXPLAIN NOT RANDOM My first image for analyis is Figure 1, P. E. T. A campaign promoting vegetarianism. The key element that firstly stood out to me was the women dipicted on the floor and the brave slogan “I am alica silverstone and I am a vegetarian”. Overall the campain ad is visually strong. The use of shock within advertisemnt is a key element advertisers use to promote an idea/ or put a message across in this case. Advertisers use shock tactics as they convey a message” more loudly and clearly than competetors” ( Nava 1997, p 71). The louder and more shocking the advertisement, the more likely the consumer is to remember the campaign and campaign advert. The best examples of the benefits of shock imagery within advertising are the Benneton advertisements. Their adverts have brought up contravery and use current affairs and issues of race, gender and class as a campaign to persuade the viewer to buy products. Therefore the more shocking the advertisemnent, or message or slogan the more likely the consumer remembers the campaign. These shock tactics seem to work. In an article about shock tactics saves animals by the guardian it states” In terms of exposure, however, his campaigns are undeniably effective. When he joined the organisation in his early 20s there were 60,000 members; now there are two million worldwide. ” ( The Guardian, 28/05/09, p 1) These memorable slogans are eye catching, The Guardian states “Yes, Peta could restrict its activities to scientific work, but how often do you read of that in the papers? It could just hand out lengthy tracts about ethics, but how many people would stop and take one, let alone read it? ”(The Guardian 21/01/2010 p1) P. E. T. A have used the strong slogan and image to shock the audience into looking, and remembering the campaign thefore having a lasting effect, which is why there publisitiy and popularity has grown ver the years. The slogan ‘ I am Alica Silverstone and I am a Vegetarian’, to me is contraversial. As these words can usually be accosiated with something you would say in a support group, here P. E. T. A have used this for shock purposes. This pycology states “ Seldom do words adeqeuately allow humans to explore and express the range and depth of our many subjective states” ( Boesch,E Waltr,J, Susana ,A , 2007 p172) The use of the powerfully statement and slogan reinforces P. E. T. A and their shock effect attitute. The image of the woman is the main signifier,Carolina Hein states “ Women displayed as sexual objects is the leif motif of erotic spectacle, from pin ups to strip tease she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire” ( Hein 2008, pg349 ) using the male gaze as a way of portraying the female form, and drawing you into the advert. This use of the male gaze is dated back to pre raphlite paintings, the women is depicted as opressed and vunrable to draw our attention to the campaign advert. Sex in advertising is a key technique that gets campaigns noticed Shimp states “ sexual material in advertising acts to attract and hold attention for a longer period” (Shimp,T 2007 p263) Within this advert the draped inviting pose uggests the advert is using the women as an image for shock, totally unrelated to the P. E. T. A charity, just so the campaign ad makes you take another look and read it. You could argue that the portrayl of the women in this advert is degrading and could be showing the women as a sex object. Worell states “ the media portrayl of women limit them to the status of sex objects whose identies do not span beyond beauty, sex and reproduction”. ( Worell, 2002 p704 ) The advert overlly sexulises the female and shows the male gaze as you are drwn to the sexual oragns of the woman’s body which depicts the female in a submissive, powerless pose. You could argue that ths un realistic view of a women in the media is bad press and not a good role model for women. Lind states” media portrayals of women have obvious effects (…) including negetive effects on a woman’s self image, increased rates of eating disorders, sexualization and racialiazm. ” (Lind,A Brzuzy,S 2008 p315) The women in the campaign ad is almost being depicted as an oject as the mai signifier, this could be degrading for women, and you could argue that it doesn’t realte to P. E. T. A, and that this degrading imagery is different to the moral ethos of the charity. You could argue that the imagery shows a negetive sterotype of a women. Pardan states” the male gaze constructs women as sexual objects in a erotic spectacle. According to this idea, the way men see women determines their value. ” ( Pardan,c 2009, p 137). The image is shcking and holds our attention, but it is a negeative objectilising way of portraying a woman, looking at other P. E. T. A campaign ads the over sexualisation of the woman’s body has been used countless times in a very exhibitionist way. Another technique used in the campaign ad is celebrity endorsement. This is used to enhance popularity and recognition in the audience. McAuley states “ Using celebrities gets people to pay attention. That’s why info commercials and commercials use celebrities al the time. “ ( McAuley 2010, p 42) The Use of Alica Silverstone is promoting a vegetarian as being more of a sexy woman rather than the usual sterotype of a vegan or vegetarian being more of a tomboyish look. Alica Silverstone as well as being a actress and model is also know as an animal rights and environmental activist, and was voted “Sexiest Female Vegetarian,” by PETA. You could argue that P. E. T. A is aiming their adverts at a more male audience mainly because within all P. E. T. A ‘s campaigns women seemed to be used, which could be viewed as sexist and degrading to women. My second image for analyis is Figure 2, The Greenpeace Kit Kat campaign. The main elements of the campaign ad being the slogan ‘ The Easter Bunny: another supporter of the Kit Kat campaign, the image of the Easter bunny and the orangotan, and them carrying the messages ‘ Stop Nestle destroying rainforests for palm oil, and ‘ Give the Orang- utans a break. The strongest message for me is the use of the Nestle logo and the words ‘ Killer’ that states the message more clearly than the whole advertisement. The whole campaign uses guilt as a way of persuading Nestle to change it’s ways. The use of the oragutan shows us the exact effect that eating a Kit Kat, showing an orangutan within the advertisement shows us what exactly we are effecting by eating the Kit Kat, giving us a sense of moral responsibility. Showing that eating a Kit Kat means that we are killing the orangutans. “ The other is a sociological or cultural argument, involving an implicit or exlicit critique (…) It suggests that we know of our collectve guilt which derives from our membersip of high consumption societies- guilt about depletion of the earth’s resourses or about the poverty and starvation endured by less fortunate peoples” (Richards, B, Mac, I Bottenll,J 2000 p 154). Nestle are using the fact that people don’t want the guilt of destroying the rainforests and the killing of a near endangered species on there head therefore using the oranutan within the campaign ad shows people responsibility for ther actions, a key technique used by charities. The other key technique used is the use of the Nestle logo with a different twist- ‘Killer’ and The Slogan ‘Give the orangutans a break’ which is a play n words of the Kit Kats original slogan ‘ Have a break, Have a Kit Kat ‘. “ However, the use of images as elements of activation and reinforcement of metaphors are also present in press ads, though text is given more importance than the image or photograph” ( Luis,J Campo,O Ives,J Navamoni,I 2005 p70). The play on words and the imagery metaphor on the Nestle logo says in a short space of time exactly what the campaign is about without going into any detail, and is a powerfull signifier. The use of pastiche in advertising here is used for irony purposes, making a mockery of Nestle, almost showing them up by playing with the slogans. Shock in advertising is clearly used within the Kit Kat campaign, as a way of displaying a message. Another example of this is the U TUBE video (https://www. greenpeace. org/international/campaigns/climate-change/kitkat/) used on the campaign website that shows a man in an office eating an orangutan finger instaed of a kit kat chunk. This is a different form of shock in advertising from Figure 1, as intead of shock imagery that goes with sex in advertising the ‘ horror’ shock aspect is used, which is another aspect campaign advertisers use. You could argue that these shock tactics and ‘in your face’ tactics work to gain mayor public publicity. An article by the Economist states ‘ Nestle, another food giant, has been attacked in a spoof online advertisementthat shows an office worker eating a finger of a KitKat (…) These attacks are proving potent. Companies are changing their buying policies in response, and paying more attention to the distant reaches of their supply chains” (The Economist, 26/06/2010) The article states how the nestle video gained key media attention, causing Nestle to take action, thus causing other compaines such as Lush to stop using palm oil in there products. The article also states that “ We had been asking Nestle to stop buying products from rainforest destruction for two years before we launced our campaign. Nestle cracked within just two months because the verwhelmed public response made the company listen” (The Economist, 26/06/2010) The article proves that this type of direct action broadcasts the message more loudly than say a small advertisment or petition. My third case study, Figure 3 portrays a barnado’s ad campaign featuring a baby with methylated sprit being poured into it’s mouth. The campaign is another example of shock in advertising to attract attention. The campaign uses the slogan ‘ There are no silver spoons for children born into poverty’ with a story describing how a poor upbringing can lead to substance abuse.

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