Another myth we are accustomed to seeing within the advertising world is ‘fresh food’. Fast food chains are continually waging an ongoing battle against negative media coverage of their products; this is an example of two conflicting ideologies. Fast food chains are portrayed (most likely justifiably) as being unhealthy and often unsustainable, so they tend to address this attention by utilizing a myth of fresh or authentic food. They euphemize their product.
I took this photo of a domino’s pizza box as the design caught my attention, apparently the dominos sauce is made from vine ripened tomatoes. This may not necessarily be a lie, however I am skeptical as to whether they are grown in an organic beautiful orchard as the picture connotes. Sure most tomatoes do ripen on the vine, and the paste that they use to make their sauce probably contains a considerable amount of tomato extract so they can therefore claim that their sauce is made from vine ripened tomatoes. I would go so far as to personally guarantee that tomatoes in the form depicted on the box have never been seen within a dominos fast food franchise.
The average everyday consumer sees this image and then feels validated in their choice of purchasing from such fast food chains. On a side note it is interesting to discuss what are considered the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choices about diet this in itself seems to be moralizing upon another myth regarding what is “real food” (real food in this myth referring to unprocessed organic or sustainable).
Often times we see an idea portrayed throughout the media, be it advertising, television or the internet, in the form of a recurring ‘meta-joke’. This humour tailored for the lower and middle working class people pokes fun at the upper class. Within these groups this enforces the mentality that it is unacceptable to be considered upper class.
Some would say that this is an attempt of subjugation by the upper class; an attempt to calm any animosity toward inequality. In a ways it makes the middle and lower class feel comfortable in their socio-economic position.
One night whilst watching television (blue moon was out) an advertisement for a show titled “2 Broke Girls” displayed. I can only guess that this caters the ‘meta-humour’ explained above as the program apparently follows two financially struggling women in their attempts to start a business. I couldn’t quite bring myself to spare the time to actually watch the program.
An interesting result, or maybe even a ‘symptom’ of social class structure (one could argue this is exclusive to a capitalist or consumerist environment), is the idea of a ‘commodified self’. Simply put this is the process of defining oneself or others through material objects; it is the act of deriving the worth of a person by the monetary value of their possessions, be it clothing, jewellery, vehicles or property; anything that can be equated with money.
This photograph was taken on High Street, Auckland , New Zealand, whilst I was walking back to my flat. Initially what sparked my interest to this particular shop was its name ‘Prosper’, my most immediate thought (this was most likely the intended effect) was ‘Do I not prosper if I don’t buy from this clothing store?’, ‘Is this where the prosperous shop?’, ‘Will I become prosperous if I shop here?’.
If one is to look close enough in the bottom left hand side of the shop window, footnoted, is some of the brands the shop stocks, all of which are associated with being affluent or ‘upper class’ in today’s society (a quick Google search indicated I could purchase a pair of jeans from here for merely $500.00 or if I wanted to splash out a little more, a leather jacket for $5000.00)
What I found interesting is not the existence of a shop catering to the bourgeois upper class, but the implied moralization that one cannot prosper in their life if they are not purchasing items such as these; if one is not commodifying their self.
One of the many ‘interpretive perceptions’ one can adopt whilst analysing text is a Marxist view. Marxism is a broad philosophy concerned with political state, economics, socio-economics, class systems and the well being of the everyday self within society.
The video I have posted is from an artist I have listened to for the past couple of years. The theme throughout the majority of his music (particularly this song) comments upon current class issues which will inevitably exist in a capitalist society; be it the United States of America or ‘little old innocent’ New Zealand.
I believe this is a very important issue as society is literally the community we live in; it dictates both our physical and mental well-being as citizens in a society. Graphic Design plays an important role in either perpetuating or deterring class-ism through its messages and myths portrayed.
The third stage of childhood psycho-sexual development is the ‘Phallic stage’, this is the stage in which children begin to differentiate between male and female. If the child experiences difficulties within this phase of development, according to Freud it can lead to vanity, pride, the need for dominance and recklessness.
I passed a bus stop with an advertisement for a Moro chocolate bar, which demonstrated design orientated toward such a crowd.
The first signifier within this piece of design is the prominent phallic shape of the chocolate bar. It can be seen as exploding outward from the page, with chunky pieces being ejected out in a questionable manner. These visuals are supported by the type ‘MAX’, an adjective superlative in nature, which is heavily contrasted from the background with the masculine combination of reds and black; a combination which is often associated with violence, or high energy and dynamics.
If we are to return to our Freudian mode of seeing, all of these elements in this design connote Freud’s phallic tendencies. Recklessness, dominance, power and pride.
Freudian psychology is one of the many ways one is able to interpret texts. Freud had a theory relating to the development of adult personality; he theorised that a child has three stages of development to complete before becoming a healthy adult. If one of these stages was compromised then the adult’s personality would suffer. The first stage a child experiences is “Oral”, the child must be sufficiently nurtured through breast feeding to create a strong ‘mother-child’ bond of trust and comfort. If these needs are not met, the consequences include a fixation with oral habits, such as smoking, drinking, eating, nail biting and difficulty with relationships and trust.
This is an image I took of a Queen Street billboard advertising the opening of a new Carl’s Jr. restaurant. If we were to analyse this piece of design through a Freudian paradigm it is undoubtedly orientated toward those who have not sufficiently completed the oral phase of childhood development. The design is simply using sex to market to the ‘orally deficient’; it shows two women provocatively sharing a burger. This subconsciously implies to the viewer that if they buy Carl’s Jr. they too may have a similar experience.
The Carl’s Jr. slogan is also interesting to note: “Eat like you mean it”, this also directly caters to their targeted audience. It plays upon the idea of sincerity, being true and just; which the target may have lacked during their life.
It is interesting to note the true manipulative power of semiotics. This is a photo I have taken in a store which specialises in selling ‘legal highs’ and drug paraphernalia. All of the paraphernalia displayed above is illegal to have on person, however simply by placing a flower in some of these items, and sticking a very small label underneath reading “vases”, the context has been changed and sales of such glassware is made legal.
This is such a blatant exploitation of semiotics and it is ironic as anyone, including police officers who walk into the shop are going to understand the intent of such items due to the context of the shop, given by its other product.
These flowers and tiny labels create a curtain like visage protecting this market from the law.