This week for NMAC 3145 we had an assignment in which we had to do an ad campaign for some product we use doing 6 photographs.
I decided to do my project on my favorite k-pods: Green Mountain Sumatran Roast.
The idea is to pretend that you’re an advertisement firm hired to promote the product, so I have to think about the goal in this photo advertisement. I’m selling coffee that’s single-serve, fast-brewing, convenient coffee that still tastes good. My target audience for this is the person that’s always on the go and doesn’t need a whole pot of coffee. A good idea would be young business people or students, someone that’s likely unmarried (no need for a whole pot of coffee for just yourself) and likely needs to get their coffee in the morning as they’re on their way out the door to class or work. Ads like this would be best in magazines, online ads, and in public spaces like bus stops and on subway platforms, because the person likely to be the type that commutes and those are the types of items a commuter likely runs into.
My theme for my photo shoot is ‘getting ready for work’. It’s early, still dark out, and the person using the product is making coffee in between showering, getting dressed, running around getting everything ready for the day, ect. The idea I’m trying to sell is that with the convenience of Green Mountain Sumatran Roast in a k-pod for the Keurig, she can make her coffee and have time to drink it while she’s getting ready because it’s that fast and convenient.
Because I’m one person living in a house with 6 other people, the only time I could make use of the kitchen as a photography studio without people in and out was the middle of the night, which is also why I’m the photographer and subject in my project, because everyone else is asleep in the middle of the night.
This week in my NMAC 3145 class, we’ve been talking about effective advertising. We were tasked with choosing an ad campaign and analyzing why it is effective, what the audience it’s aiming for is, and what platforms they use for the campaign.
I decided to take a look at a reasonbly long-running campaign, the Dawn Saves Lives campaign. For the past decade, Dawn dish soap has sporadically highlighted that Dawn dish soap saves wildlife in the event of oil spills. Dawn dish soap is pretty much what we think about when we see people washing off oil-slicked ducks and seabirds, because Dawn is the only cleaning product that has long advertised their product as a savior of wildlife.
It’s harder to nail down what platforms are used by this ad campaign, because it has spanned from 2006 (only one year into the life of Youtube) until today with a highlight around the time of the BP oil spill. That year, there was an up-swing in the airing of the advertisements.
The commercial I’m sure we’re all familiar with is this one:
This commercial is effective because most everyone likes animals. Even if you don’t particularly care about the environment, most people see a little fuzzy baby duckling and goes ‘awwww’. A cute baby animal that is covered in oil being gently scrubbed with soft-looking bubbles is a great visual image to persuade people to pay attention to the ad and associate good things with this product because it’s not just a good thing, saving a baby animal, but it’s depicted in such a ‘warm and fuzzy’ manner. It seems more like the baby duck is getting a warm, bubbly bath to rid it of the icky, nasty oil than actually depicting the harm and suffering the duck was faced with before being cleaned off. It plays into the part of most people who naturally care about animals, babies, gentleness, and kindness to a soft baby duckling.
After that, it goes on to tell you that the company is going to donate a VERY LARGE sum of money to helping the wildlife and the environment (or so it’s implied) and it makes it so that, even if you weren’t already inspired to buy their product, you really want to buy it now that they are telling you YOUR money is going to help the baby animals. It reinforces that idea by showing them releasing the rescued animals back into the wild.
Even now, I just caught myself thinking, ‘Wow, I should go buy some Dawn’ when I know it’s marketing manipulation.
Beyond that commercial, however, there is also the label on the bottle:
The baby duck on the bottle is the same size as the logo, and the message “Dawn Helps Save Wildlife” is almost as big as the words on the logo. It is selling the idea of saving a baby duck more than it is washing your dishes, because what appeals more to people, doing dishes well or saving a baby duck?
Beyond the ad and the logo, you have coupon-looking ads online on websites in the sidebar and in pop-ups that look like this:
The ad looks like a coupon and says “Save” but instead of having an actual coupon, it’s telling you that if you buy Dawn, you’re saving the baby animal. And once again, it’s fluffy baby animals because saving the sea urchins isn’t as appealing as saving a baby penguin, or a baby seal, or a baby duckling. These ads are the types that pop up on a blog article and you have to click the X to close them and continue reading, and while those ads mostly go ignored, some of us can’t help but pause and go ‘awww’ at the baby animal, and that’s when we see the “Dawn Saves Animals” advertisement.
Dawn’s social media accounts are all about the baby ducks!
Facebook (forgive the Pirate language, I just took a screenshot with my FB account logged in):
It’s really hard to run a more useful campaign than one where you demonstrate a product saving very cute baby animals from death. It’s a harsh reality but a real one that many people don’t care nearly as much about other humans as they do about baby animals. Baby animals is one of the most universal ways to reach people’s emotional centers. It’s hard to face it, but even if they were cleaning the hospital rooms of orphan children with diseases with their product, it wouldn’t reach the same emotional appeal as fluffy, fuzzy, adorable baby animals.
And by showing their product cleaning the animals off, showing that their company gives back some of its profits to charities for the animals, and by showing actual animals that have been saved being released back into the wild, it proves to be what I would argue is one of the most effective advertising campaigns probably to ever exist.
This week in my NMAC 3145 class, we approached the idea of telling a story through photographs alone. The idea is that you don’t use any words to tell your story, but I’m going to address the restrictions that caused me to have such a haphazard sequence of shots.
Simply put, I was going for comedy, so I made a choice about a GREAT idea and didn’t think up any alternatives. My original idea was going to be my sister Dallas standing at the base of a tree, then beginning to climb the tree, and then splayed on the ground after falling from the tree. However, both Tuesday and today, I didn’t get home until after dark, so that wasn’t doable. I thought for a while that I was not going to be able to get anything lined up to fulfill the requirements. Last minute, I got this idea and I rushed to my sisters’ room where Dallas was nearly asleep (Graysie was still up, but she doesn’t own heels so she wasn’t an option), and begged her to get out of bed and let me take just THREE pictures of her for my assignment. She really did mean just three photos, so this is what I got and what I had to work with.
I’m sorry that they aren’t better, but I edited the color and lighting so that they matched and they are framed as well as I could get them in one try. Here we go!
Today’s photography project in NMAC 3145 was about shot composition. I’ll be honest, I’m not super crazy about the outcome of a few of these. However, a few of them I really like. In particular, the close up shot of the McDonald’s lid and the one of the glasses of water are both pretty nice photos.
This week in NMAC 3145, we had to take photographs of objects all of one shape and the shape I chose was circles.
Taking photos with a cell phone is hard.
The shape photography assignment was an exercise in frustration. We all know how frustrating it can be to take photos of anything, but that was absolutely the worst. Using a cellphone to take photos is going the extra mile of frustration, because it is nearly impossible to take good photos of anything up close with a phone. I have never seen a cellphone camera that offers manual focus in any of the settings, so trying to focus on things up close is practically impossible, meaning that you have to take dozens of photos to find the shot you need. It drove me crazy.
I ended up taking about thirty photos and it was all multiples of the same items. The only thing that I took a photo of that didn’t end up in this set of six photos was a pumpkin, and I decided it wasn’t really a circle. I chose circles at random. I had no long, hard choice in choosing to photograph circles. I like them and I wanted to take a photo of things I had on hand, and my key chain of Captain America’s shield is a circle. I ended up finding plenty of other things that are circular that I just couldn’t get a photo of. Things too far away, for example. Things I couldn’t stop and photograph because I was driving or walking and running late. The things I ended up choosing where my Captain America shield key chain, the top of my vitamin bottle, one of the wheels on my car, the lid on a bottle of lemon soda, a cupcake, and the logo on my purple converses.
Honestly, the choice in which six photos I would choose came down to ‘which is the least blurry’, because after taking photo upon photo, there were some items I just could not get clear. They would focus and then when I tried to snap the picture, it would re-focus and blur. That happened so many times. There is a reason most of the things I take pictures of with my cellphone are full sized things that aren’t close to me. Maybe some people with better phone cameras have less trouble than I did, but I pretty much gave up and chose what was clearest without any further creative side to my choices.
In my Digital Media class this semester, we have just recently had a chapter on Selfies. I find it very intriguing to look at selfies in an academic or intellectual way. Here are a few selfies that I’m examining in the way the chapter on selfies talks about them, to try and contextualize what a selfie really says about me.
I must confess that, while I take loads of pictures to post online, I’m not a big selfie person. Most of my ‘selfies’ are ‘us-fies’ where I take selfies with people. I prefer photos of things, not myself. Not necessarily because I don’t like myself, it’s just that I know the people who follow me know what I look like, what I want to show you is everything else.
Selfie #1: The Stricken Sports Fan
The only sport I really follow is women’s soccer. I love soccer, and I watch men’s soccer, but women’s soccer in America is where it’s at. This was the selfie I took after the US Women’s National Team lost in the quarter finals at the Rio Olympics. I took this photo and posted it because I tend to take selfies when something emotional is going on (something shocking on TV happens, I post an OMG selfie, ect) and I was sitting on my floor staring at the ceiling in shock. The #1 ranked team in the world would leave the Olympics without a medal at all for the first time since Women’s Soccer started to be an Olympic sport. I honestly don’t know why I take ‘reaction’ selfies. I don’t know anybody else that does this, but I like it. This selfie, like most of my selfies, doesn’t ‘stand up to time’. I don’t take aesthetic selfie soften, so this was like a tweet. It was for that moment in time, and later it doesn’t really matter much.
Selfie #2: Voting Day Selfie
This selfie I took, as I do every voting day, after casting my ballot in the presidential primaries. Political involvement is important to me, so all 5 times I’ve been to the polls in my life, I have posted a selfie of it with a caption about “Don’t forget to do your civic duty!” or something similar. I feel like, in the academic and intellectual sense, this selfie does represent something that is very ‘me’. It’s a selfie, but it’s less about my face and more about relating being a voter to myself. I wanted people to see that I’m actively involved in the politics of this country and I wanted to inspire others to get out and vote instead of not bother. It’s not even a very flattering photo, but it was a profile pic for a while because of the meaning behind it.
Selfie #3: Spontaneous Museum Adventure Selfie
When we talk about motivation for selfies, people often cite preserving a memory as the motivation, and in this case, that’s exactly what happened. This was the day I realized First Saturdays at the Macon arts and science museum were free admission, and I love museums, so me and my siblings all decided to go together. The best part of any museum is the planetarium, so in this moment, we were all very excited. The show was starting soon, and we took a selfie of us in our seats and excited so I could post online and show all my friends what a fun thing my siblings and I were doing that day. I had forgotten about that day until this assignment, but when I looked at this selfie, I was reminded of how much fun we had that day learning about the potential for dark matter in outer space.
Selfie #4: The Nerd Side
Another type of selfie is the one where you show off a new thing you have, and that’s exactly what this one was. I had just bought this awesome Kylo Ren Star Wars mug! Since my friends and various other online followers are inevitably on the nerdy side, it was a way to show people “Look at this cool thing I have!” and how better than to take a selfie of me using my cool new thing? This is sort of like how people will take photos posing with their new car, only on a much smaller level. Again, it’s less about me and more about the fact that I now have a cool thing and everybody should be jealous. (Fun fact, I’m currently using that same mug as I write this.)
Selfie #5: Pet Selfies
Anybody with a pet takes pet selfies. I would say that MOST of my photos, not just selfies, but photos in general, are of my cat. This is my baby boy, Tigger, who you already met in the first post on this blog. He’s 6 years old this year, and he is my precious little baby kitten and about the only person who loves him more than me is my daddy. This is the most stereotypical selfie I think I have, honestly. Artful composition (for a selfie), a heavy Instagram filter, the aesthetic posing of kissing the cat while taking a selfie so it doesn’t look so ‘selfie’ like, all of these are very ‘typical selfie’ things. This is one of my favorites, simply because I look alright and my cat looks great and who doesn’t want to show off their cat? (Except you heathen dog people *hisses* lol) This is one of those photos that, like the others, represents me through something I love.
In one way or another, you could say that my entire selfie style is showing things I love in some form or fashion. Selfie #1 was for the purpose of starting a conversation about my favorite sport. Selfie #2 was about energizing the voting base and getting people to remember that it was voting day even though all that we voted for was the primaries that day. Selfie #3 was like a vacation selfie, only we’re poor, so we don’t go on vacations (we spent ONE night away this last fall and it was the only family vacation we’ve ever gone on), in that we went to a fun new place on an adventure and wanted to document that day because I love the planetarium so much. Selfie #4 expresses my love for coffee and nerdy things, which are my two favorite things in the entire world. Selfie #5 was about showing off my cat, which is the closest to having a child I’ll ever get since I hate children and love cats.
Everyone has a different selfie style, and going into this, I didn’t even realize what mine was. But now I know! My selfie style is showing others what I love.
So, now that you’ve seen mine, join in and use a post with 5 selfies chosen at random to analyze YOUR selfie style!