Intrigue in the Big League

A uni student's intrigue in marketing and media

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“Suitable for Humans” (Week 8 Topic)

Gender inequality is visible nearly everywhere. The image on the left gives just some workplace equalityexamples of how genders are treated differently in the workplace.

Australia has moved forward in gender equality recently, especially with campaigns for gender equality in the workplace. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency works with the Australian government to produce advertisements like the following video to promote the equal treatment of men and women at work.

But it is hard to change these social norms without the effort of all parties. Gender inequality is not only evident in the workplace but also in advertising. Organisations segment men and women through demographics, and while this happens it will be hard to view men and women as equal. Especially when the different products and services targeted to each gender are so diverse.

For examples, different razors/shavers have the exact same functionality and attributes, but different versions are made for men and women. These versions differ in colour, shape, copy (font and text on the packaging), and price. The following clip from The Checkout gives more insight into these differences.

Since I am doing a major in marketing and advertising, I have come up with a potential campaign to promote gender equality. Consumers are more aware of Gender neutral shaver adgender segmentation than ever before, and some consumers are even annoyed by it and go out of their way to purchase gender neutral/unisex products. If a shaver brand such as Gillette (targeted to men) were to amalgamate their products with their women’s range, Gillette Venus, they could appeal to this aware customer segment by associating their brand with gender equality.

The TV advertisement (to reach as many consumers as possible) would start with the new sage and chocolate (gender neutral) coloured shaver being used on what seems to be a woman’s legs. When the leg shaving is finished the image blurs as the shot pans upwards, then clears as it reaches the torso. Here the shaver starts to be used on the chest, a man’s hairy chest. The shaving of the chest continues as the slogan comes up: “The New Gillette Shaver, Suitable for Humans.” I have made a mock-up picture of the advertisement, pictured right.

This type of campaign would be beneficial because it would create positive brand attitude for Gillette as it associates itself with gender equality. It would also benefit the fight for gender equality because it could start a trend in advertising.

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E-waste: we are contributing to massive issue (Week 7 Topic)

Media today is huge. It’s everywhere. Everyone uses it, and everyone loves it. We all pay large amounts of money to get the latest technology, because it’s worth it… right? Well, maybe not.

We might pay a certain price for our technology, but what are others really paying behind the scenes? What are the true media costs?

The BBC has aired a documentary trying to create awareness about the true costs of our media use, something we are not really aware of in our “safe developed-country bubble”, as I like to call it. I myself was not aware of this until I saw the documentary.

BBC exposes the place where technology goes to die. Third World countries are being sent supposedly “second hand” technology goods (such as TVs, computers, phones etc) for them to use. That sounds admirable right? First world countries sharing their technology with the less fortunate, that’s great! But no, of course there is an ulterior motive.

A percentage of the goods sent to these countries are not actually functioning, they are broken, beyond fixing. What are the third world countries to do with these good-for-nothing products? Well they smelt them of course.

Now that isn’t even the worst of it! The workers who smelt this technology range between the ages of 13 and 35. This is a dangerous, toxic workplace, and children aren’t just being exposed to it, but are working in it.

Greenpeace released a similar but more promotional video concerned with this issue. They revealed more disturbing facts. It is actually illegal for developed countries to dump e-waste in developing countries, stated under the Basel Convention. Developed countries bypass this law by declaring the technology as “functioning” second hand goods.

This isn’t just an issue for the workers’ health, but the smelting of this e-waste also has a massively detrimental effect on their country’s environment.

What I find really scary about this issue is the amount I have contributed to this e-waste. My family, my friends, they’ve all contributed. We are creating this problem and allowing our country to dump it on other countries’ doorsteps.

We need to learn how to dispose of e-waste responsibly. If we don’t, at the rate this broken technology is growing, our world will soon be overrun with discarded e-waste.

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Why we should care about dataveillance! (Week 5 Topic)

Recently, the Australian Government proposed the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015.

To explain this data retention bill in the simplest form, it means that all telecommunications companies have collect and withhold their customers’ data for two years, and make it available to the government.

Now as you might have guessed, this spurred some conflict within the public. A lot of people were against this movement, despite the government’s assurance that the purpose of this data retention was to fight crime (such as terrorism and paedophilia).

Journalists were the most vocal in the disagreement, saying it meant anonymous sources would stop coming forward with information for fear of being exposed, which would prevent journalists from reporting on stories that exposed truths to the public. Media Watch did a story on the data retention bill focusing on the journalists’ perspective, explaining exactly why they were so against the bill.

My opinion of the data retention bill, at first, was that while I agree it would be effective in catching criminals, I didn’t really want my actions to be scrutinised by the government. I tried to convince myself that the bill was worth it. Who cares if the government has access to my data if it means they can stop terrible things from happening? After a discussion with friends, I asked myself this question:

“If I’m not doing anything wrong, then why should I be worried? Why should I care?”

But still I had an uneasy feeling about being watched through my technology (companies already do that enough to collect data for marketing).

I did some research to try to answer my own question, and the best answer came in the form of a TED Talk (as they often do). It is a 20 minute answer, but I assure you it is worth your time.

What Glenn Greenwald revealed to me in his talk was the power surveillance has over human behaviour. Being watched is uncomfortable. Surveillance causes people to change how they act, because those actions are being scrutinised.

dataveillance definitionThis is why surveillance, especially dataveillance, is an issue. People are used to a lack of privacy in public. There are surveillance cameras in stores and streets, people around could be watching, filming or taking pictures, and much more. But dataveillance occurs in the home, where people are used to having privacy. Having their digital actions monitored is an invasion of that privacy, and this is changing the way people act at home, the place they should feel most comfortable and free. This is why surveillance is an issue, and this is why the data retention bill should be challenged by the public.

After realising my immense dissatisfaction with the bill, I began to research those also opposed.

The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) has been against the bill from the start. On the 1st of May they wrote a letter to Simon Corbell, ACT Attorney-General, concerning the bill. This letter included a section titled “Data Retention Bill Fails Every Test.” One of the points they make here is:

“The proposals would have serious negative impacts on normal people, and business”

This shows the damaging effect this dataveillance would have on the public, and the APF has evidence to prove it.

The government is not adhering to the APF’s suggestion that the proposal be rejected, despite the evidence they have been presented with.

The public must fight with the AFP to ensure this “mass electronic surveillance proposal” is not passed into law. If we don’t we’ll never be able to feel comfortable using technology again.

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Authors intentions: Viewing Suffering (Week 3 Topic)

Viewing pictures of other peoples’ suffering can be hard. Not just because you might be affected by the image, but because you might not know how to react when it comes to viewing suffering.

There are a few questions to consider when viewing other peoples’ suffering:

What response is desired by the author of the content? What should the suffering mean?

If suffering makes us feel so good – for feeling so bad – what incentive is there to end it?

Is looking repeating or extending the torture? OR

Does not looking deny the victims the recognition and sympathy they deserve?

All of these questions prove at least one thing: Looking is POWERFUL!

I will attempt to answer the first question in this posttime-afghan-mutilation. First lets look at this cover of Time Magazine (pictured right). This cover spurred a lot of controversy in America at the time. For some the picture could be seen as a symbol of the situation in Afghanistan, and therefore they would want soldiers sent to fix the situation. For some the image could be seen as propaganda, and those people would be angry at the government and at TIME for using this woman for the government’s purpose. For others the image could be seen as TIME’s grab for attention, a brutal image to catch the audience’s eye and encourage them to buy the copy. These people would be quite disgusted with TIME’s use of the image, and the purpose they  have for the suffering.

This image is a perfect example of needing to consider the author’s intent. TIME wanted this image to grab attention. Whether they cared about the situation in Afghanistan or not, the image’s intent was to increase the number of copies bought.

pulitzer prize-vietnam photoOn the left is a photograph that won the Pulitzer prize. The image captures “the devastation caused by the American napalm bombing during the Vietnam War.

The intentions of the author also need to be considered for this image. The photo was obviously taken in a terrible time, with children running away from a toxic cloud on the road. Considering this, how did the photographer have time to take the image, and why was he not intervening with the soldiers who seem to be casually herding the children down the street. Of course, he may have wanted to capture the moment to show as evidence of the American soldiers’ actions during the time, and had no means of intervening at the time. But as we view this image, there is no way of knowing that for sure.

Emotions that are brought up when viewing an image of suffering are a natural response. However, we must consider whether the author intended for those emotions to be the response, and whether those emotions benefit the author, or show respect for the victims suffering.