This week's reading of the "Practices of Looking" textbook, gave us a lot of insight into how do media try to incorporate the messages within their ads, as well as how are these messages perceived by the audiences.
In the most cases, "a viewer's direct and complete engagement with the image producers' intended messages may be the goal of the producer" (p.51). The producers try to create ads that appeal to either specific groups of people, who share common beliefs and ideals, and who will easily understand the hidden messages. Other times, the producers might simply try to be neutral, and try to reach as wide the range of viewers as possible.
But a lot of times, the producers try to create the ads in such a way as to create an effect of interpellation. "To be interpellated by an image, then, is to know that the image is meant for me to understand, even if I feel that my understanding is unique or goes against the grain of a meaning that seems to have been intended" (p.50). The Neutrogena ID commercial posted by one of our classmates is a perfect example of such an ad, because it directly addresses the viewer by constant repetition of the word "YOU."
But the most fascinating aspect of this week's reading, for me at least, was the section towards the end of the chapter, when we learned that the audience can also be a producer of meaning. It is important to understand, that "the viewer who makes meaning, does so not only through describing an experience with images, but also through reordering, redisplaying, and reusing images in a new and differently meaningful ways in the reordering of everyday life" (p.89). When I read this part, I immediately thought of those funny T-shirts that display the well0known logos, but reordered and reused in such a way as to convey a different message. Most of these remade logos use the same font as the original logo, thus making it so much easier for the audiences to recognize the play of words. Some of these remade logos are offensive, some are funny, and some simply stand as a commentary about the original logo. But in either situation, it is the primary audience member, the viewer, who takes the original logo, and remakes it in such a way as to create his/her own meaning of it, thus becoming the producer.
Here are couple of funny logos that I pulled off of the Google Image Search engine.
The play on Coca-Cola ad:
The play on the Dell logo:
The play on the AIG logo:
The play on the got milk? campaign:
The play on the FedEx logo:
The play on the McDonald's logo:
Whatever the case, the audience becomes the producer of the new meaning. Whatever the meaning symbolizes for him- either a commentary on the original product, a funny remake of the original logo, or the use of a well-known logo for marketing purposes- the viewer becomes the producer, creating his own meaning that in turn, can also be interpreted in many different ways by the other viewers. And so, the cycle continues.
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