Advertising in Media Maxine Yang

Sell and Spin Documentary Notes

A History of Advertising

  • Creating desire, creating need
  • Advertisen - to notify
  • grabbing attention - selling the product
  • motivating into a consumer behavior - images & words used to 'delight the eyes'
  • each day the average person is exposed to 3 ,000 ads
  • ads are everywhere - (basically) the only way not to see them is to sleep
  • creates illusion of the ad being directed at the individual viewer
  • the second most recognized words on Earth is 'coca cola'
  • moving a series of images through a culture - promising a pleasure and acceptance in this world (like religion)
  • right icon can sell almost anything to almost everybody
  • Leo Burnett - humans cant really make connections with the product - more with the mascot (making the object human) - creating personalities of products (branding)
  • marlboro man - "come to where the flavour is" - rebrand the product after it starts to die, create a new desire for a different group of people (300% rise in sales)
  • Ford Edsel - advertising may be good, but it may not catch the imagination of audience or market - the more people saw it, the more people decided they didn't want anything to do with it (aesthetics change)
  • Ancient advertising - over 3000+ years old (1st century A.D. pompeii - sporting contests, taverns, theaters, merchants selling goods, etc.)
  • Criers - walking, talking advertisers (calling out messages, scrolls with images, musicians, etc) (some people were illiterate)
  • rise in merchant classes (middle ages) - need for advertising goes up as more people want to sell
  • gutenberg printing press (1448) allows you to create text + image using prints - produce 20, 50, 100, etc posters quicker - mass media
  • more people became literate after beginning of mass communication (printing ads) - more people got into buying products that are advertised
  • competitors tore down each others ads - ads could remain posted for 2 weeks (advert code)

Bill Bernbach

  1. How did he attract an audience?
  2. Why specifically is his Volkswagen campaign so commonly cited as an example of outstanding advertising?

Rosser Reeves - 'The Hard Sell'

  • 'Unique selling proposition' (USP) = reason
  • Difference between products in the market
  • Repetition of certain key words within the advertisement to increase retention (faster, faster, faster)

Bill Bernbach

  • Volkswagen Campaign - considered best advertising campaign ever
  • Creativity & Art - Marketing & Produce
  • Broke the wall between the viewer of the ad and the product - connection through humour

Advertising Glossary

Media Saturation - When we are bombarded with adverts (3,000 a day according to documentary, and that was 20+ years ago)

Branding - What a product represents (lifestyle, personality, identity, values, qualities, looks)

Objectification - The seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object. In the representation of women, this is often sexual objectification.

Gender Roles - For women, roles are often limited to 'housewife' or 'sex object'. For men, roles are often represented as the 'breadwinner' and being served by women.

Dismemberment - Cropping & fragmentation of the female body in media images which encourages objectification. Often this is the legs or parts of the torso.

Metrosexual - A neologism (a made up word) to represent a changing economic trend in male shopping and representation dating from the 80s. - A man who is attracted to women sexually, but who is also interested in fashion and his appearance.

Spornosexual - A neologism (a made up word with sport + porn + metrosexual). The metrosexual has passed and is evolving.

Lumbersexual (Urban Lumberjack) - A man who has adopted style traits typical of a traditional lumberjack, namely a beard, plaid shirt, and scruffy hair, substituting otherwise clean-cut and fashionable style choices.

Aryan Propaganda - The Nazis believed there was a master race, and they dubbed this superior race 'Aryan'. They created this ideal that there were certain physical features that attributed to being 'Aryan' through literature and advertising - a racial ideology.

Abercrombie & Fitch Case Study

Aryan Propaganda - The Nazis believed there was a master race, and they dubbed this superior race 'Aryan'. They created this ideal that there were certain physical features that attributed to being 'Aryan' through literature and advertising - a racial ideology.

Gender Representation - This form of advertising shows a metrosexual/spornosexual man, and the image focuses (through photography techniques such as Rule of Thirds) on the male's physique from the female gaze of what is desirable (The chest, V-line, etc).

National Identity - This image uses an 'Aryan' technique of propaganda, as it portrays an American Flag blurred in the background along with a certain male figure with a certain physique. This could imply that male people of a certain race, in this case the American nationality, should have a physique similar to that of the man in the advertisement.

Palette & Visual Hierarchy - The lighting and the colours present within the image have the ability to make certain features stand out more. For example, the lighting is more prominent on the man rather than the flag, which gives the impression that the man is really the main factor of the image. However, even though the flag is fairly blurred, by having it coloured in similarly to the man it gives it a sense of importance as well. Notice how the pants (the product the company is trying to sell) is a much darker and more prominent colour compared to the rest of the image. This causes the viewer's eye to be drawn to that particular object.

Advertising Standards/Regulation & Censorship

Advertising regulation refers to the laws and rules defining the ways in which products can be advertised in a particular region. Rules can define a wide number of different aspects, such as placement, timing, and content. In the US, false advertising and health-related ads are regulated the most. Two of the most highly regulated forms of advertising are tobacco advertising and alcohol advertising. (Wikipedia)

Craven A (1930s)

  1. What are these advertising? Craven A Cigarettes - Maltesers
  2. What claims are being made for the products? That these cigarettes are good for your throat, as it states "for your throat's sake smoke Craven A" - That this chocolate has less calories than most, "The chocolates with the less-fattening centers!"
  3. What image are they portraying? A woman sitting on what looks to be a tennis net, while holding a cigarette and having a tennis racket lying on her lap, which may suggest that she is healthy and fit.
  4. Could companies make the same claims for these products today? No.
  5. Why? Why not? Advertisement regulations state that the information provided on the ad must be accurate.

Advertising Regulation & Censorship

  1. Identify the groups of people who appear to be most vulnerable to advertising. That is, who are the regulators trying to protect? Younger audiences and people with certain disabilities that make them more prone to bad influence
  2. Adverts for which products are most strictly regulated? Why do you think this is? Drugs (Cigarettes and alcohol), guns, and other products that have the ability to cause serious mental or physical damage.
  3. In a group, discuss whether you think adverts need to be regulated. What harm might they do (if any)? Yes, as advertisements should be strictly regulated depending on whether that advertisement is either advertising a product that has an age limit on it, or is advertising a product that is deemed not exactly suitable for people of younger years. If people of younger years or immature individuals are exposed to these product advertisements, they may end up using them at years much younger than deemed acceptable or abusing these products, as they are very prone to these types of advertising influences.
  4. Create your own set of regulations - about 10 rules which you think should apply to advertisers. 1. Sexual organs/genitals/'private parts' of all genders should not be exposed to the world. 2. An advert shouldn't encourage any type of violence of any type of form (products such as guns, knives, blood, etc). 3. Advertisements are not allowed to false advertise their product - all the facts presented within the advert should be proven. 4. Adverts should not degrade any diverse group in a major way (religion, sexual orientation, race). 5. The advertisement should claim whether the image used within the advert is photoshopped/enhanced (within the same advert). 6. Drug abuse should not be encouraged (drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc.) 7. There should be no objectification present within the advertisement, for both genders. 8. All photos present within the advertisement must have had consent from the person who took the photo and any person within the photo before having it be publicly displayed (same with photoshop.) 9. Have to say that the advertisement is an advertisement/
  5. Look at these (controversial) ads from the clothing company Benetton. Would they pass your set of regulations? Would you ban them? Be prepared to explain why or why not. For the majority of advertisements shown by this clothing company, I wouldn't allow them to be aired or displayed in public. Two of the images display some nudity (the albino and the breast-feeding advertisements), while another advert features a bloody military outfit which may encourage some forms of violence. Also, the image featuring the albino may encourage a form of racism, as the darker-skinned children seem to be looking at the albino as if they are an alien. So no, I wouldn't display any of these ads and would likely ban them to prevent younger audiences from being influenced by them.

The Superbowl - Advertising

The Superbowl is a nation-wide American football event which gains publicity all over the country and in multiple other places around the world. This event, being such a popular one, has advertisers bidding for 30-second slots to screen their adverts to the massive audience.

Carls Jr. broadcasted an advertisement during the Superbowl, and it featured an almost fully-nude woman who was objectified in multiple ways throughout the video. For example, it compared her with the 'all-natural burger' that Carls Jr. was trying to sell, as well as using fruits to objectify more private parts of her body. This objectification of women ended up having this advert being rated the worst of the Superbowl in a twitter poll.

There was also the #LikeAGirl advert created by Always, which was broadcasted during the same event. It gives the idea that a girl's confidence starts to plummet during a certain age, namely puberty, and makes them believe that to do something 'like a girl' is to do something terribly. It promotes that this plummet of self-confidence can change, and ended up getting a much higher mark of likes from female viewers.

Why was this film banned?

Anna Winston - The morbid images may disturb some people, and the flashing images may be able to trigger a disorder or a seizure in epileptic people. Such videos could be especially morbid/disturbing for the younger audience it is aiming at (students) - a child can be pictured in chains, a person can be pictured hanging, and there are various other disturbing images that can be found repeated within the film.

Nightfest 2015 - Displaying of alcohol substance being used, which could be a concerning influence on younger audiences - especially since this is a school advertisement, younger viewers are bound to see it.

Innovation - Valentine's Day (Rose-selling) promo - Copy-righted music, and imagery of LGBTQ+ relationships may disturb or offend some audiences.

Exploring the work of the ASA Ltd

  1. How many complaints were received? 1,513
  2. What was the nature of the complaints? Viewers were disturbed by the depiction of a man dancing in denim shorts and high heels, which may boil down to LGBTQ+ distaste. Other viewers complained that the content the ad displayed was openly sexual.
  3. What was the ruling? Not upheld.
  4. The ASA judged it to not be offensive or breaching their code in any way, though the ad may not sit well with some viewers.

Nicocigs Ltd

  1. 145 complaints were received.
  2. The complaints were mainly about the fact that the advertisement was about electronic cigarettes, and that many concerned adults believed that the brand was appealing to younger viewers.
  3. Not upheld.
  4. The ad didn't break advertising rules as the ad wasn't scheduled to be broadcasted near any programming that was appealing for children.

Department of Health

  1. 181 complaints were received.
  2. The ad received complaints about it being too graphic and disturbing for some viewers, as it featured a man rolling a cigarette with blood and flesh visible inside it.
  3. Not upheld.
  4. The ads were concluded to not be a cause of serious/wide-spread offense and to portray an important health message.


  1. What is the problem that this campaign is seeking to address? "She Objects challenges consumers and content creators to think critically about the correlation between the media’s portrayal of women and and eating disorders and self-esteem issues for girls, violence against women and the erosion of female ambition."
  2. How is the organisation trying to do this? "She Objects (film/documentary & overall campaign) challenges viewers to think critically about and resist the biased and often dehumanising portrayal of women in media."
  3. How are the various films part of a wider campaign? "Commissioned by The Women’s Foundation, in partnership with Women Helping Women, and directed by rising young talent, 27-year old Nicola Fan, She Objects is the first documentary of its kind in Hong Kong to explore how traditional and new forms of media create and exacerbate gender stereotypes with often damaging consequences."

What is an Advertising Agency?

How does an advertising agency work?

  1. Advertising Agencies Have Clients: What is the purpose of a pitch in the agency/client relationship? "A pitch is an audition, with the client giving a brief to a number of advertising agencies, and choosing the one that best resolves the brief." The pitch is important within the agency/client relationship, as the agency must ensure that the client they are selling the product to will enjoy or relate to the pitch. If they enjoy/relate to it, then there is a higher chance of people within the demographics of the client buying the product.
  2. Everything is Problem/Solution Driven: Explain who has the problem and who comes up with a solution in the context of the agency/client relationship? If there are any problems that clients may encounter with the product, it's up to the agency to come up with a solution to keep the client happy.
  3. The Process of Creating Advertising Campaigns: Create a flowchart to represent the process involving the client, the account manager, the creative team, and the creative director.

1. The account manager (and team) meets with the client to identify the problem that needs to be solved.

2. The account manager writes a creative brief based on that problem. This will include competitive analysis, research, the assistance of the planner and/or creative director, and eventually, sign off from the client.

3. The account manager briefs the creative team and includes a timeline, budget, proposed media and other factors.

4. The creative team works on the project for several days (or weeks if they’re lucky) and brings the first round of ideas to the creative director.

5. The creative director will cull the ideas that are not working, and direct the team to explore the good ideas.

6. The creative team will continue to work on the ideas, but bring in the production department (if needed), account manager and other members of the agency to make sure the work is on track. If there are printed pieces, or a shoot is required, this is when the production department will begin estimates.

7. The creative director approves the final ideas, and the creative team presents (hopefully) them to the client.

8. The client will go away and discuss the ideas, before giving feedback to the agency. This may result in a reworking of ideas (repeat steps 3 to 7) or a green light to move into the execution of the ideas. At this point, a budget and timeline will once again be approved.

9. The creative team works closely with the account team, media buying, production, and the creative director to produce the ads, whatever form they may take.

10. The final ads are placed in front of the client for approval. Once the client approves, the ads are published, be it online, in print, outdoor, on the air, or any other media.

11. The agency will monitor the success, and ROI, of the ads and give the feedback to the client.

12. The client pays the agency. And then the whole process is repeated should another problem come up.

What are the different departments of an advertising agency?

Copywriter (creatives) - The Copywriter works with Clients to create and produce advertising campaigns for the main company. They develop creative ideas, keep up with popular trends to see what the target demographics may currently be into, and interpret any conversations/briefs with clients. Generally office-based and works mainly with writing (slogans, etc.).

Art Director (creatives) - Similar to the role of Copywriter, but they mainly focus on the visuals that go with the advertisement. They work closely with the Copywriter to produce ideas that would fulfill the client's requirements with both visual art and with words. They produce storyboards and sketches to communicate ideas to their teammates, which requires

Account Planner (Research & Strategy) - Account Planners are responsible for communicating with the target audience(s) and setting the message for the campaign advert. They are able to combine data, product knowledge, and research, into a brief that would allow the creative team (Art Director & Copywriter) to create ideas that would catch the attention of consumers.

Which role would I like to do the most? I think I would be relatively good with the job of Art Director, as I am able to come up with quick and creative visual ideas and am skilled with photographic programs such as Photoshop. I'm fairly observant and can work well with others, and would like to utilize my creative ability within the project.


  1. What is the problem that this campaign is seeking to address? The objectification and harassment of female sports reporters through tweets and other online comments.
  2. How is the organization trying to do this? By raising awareness on the topic through their video advertisements.
  3. How are the various films part of a wider campaign? The films are all used to raise awareness of the actual campaign that is being led against this problem.

Copyrights & Wrongs

Fair Use - the ability to use a small amount of someone’s creative work without permission, but only in certain ways. Cannot be used for commercial purposes. Can only be used in certain ways: Schoolwork & Education; Criticism or Social Commentary; News Reporting; Comedy or Parody.

Commercial Purposes - a use in connection with a business, usually for profit.

Copyright - a given law that protects a creator’s ownership of and control over the work he or she creates, requiring other people to get the creator’s permission before they copy, share, or perform that work.

Creative Commons - a kind of copyright that makes it easy for people to copy, share, and build on someone’s creative work – as long as they give the creator credit for it.

Public Domain - creative work that’s not protected by copyright and is therefore free for one to use however one wants.

If I had created a piece of work, I would make people who wished to use my work gain permission from me as the owner. The reason I say this is because my current works (I'm an artist) aren't as popular as most, so answering to a few people who ask that question wouldn't be incredibly difficult and would allow me to keep tabs on how my work is being used. 

#TellUsYourStory Advert Campaign

The Process

During Media, we were given the assessed task to create a 40 second - 1 minute long advert for a hashtag campaign based on a social problem of our choice.

My group, dubbed the 'Whiteboard Agency', decided to create an advertisement campaign based on the problem of Cyberbullying with '#TellUsYourStory' as the hashtag.

However, before we could actually get to filming, much less script-writing, we had to propose the pitch to our teacher with a presentation detailing how we would film the advert.

In our pitch, we introduced the problem of Cyberbullying with facts and statements about how bad the problem actually is, and why we should look into it and make people more aware of it. We came up with the idea of '#TellUsYourStory' with the facts on how our survey reported that a third of people who had been cyberbullied had not told their parents, or were reluctant to inform them. We wanted to deliver the message that suffering through the bullying alone is likely not going to help the situation, and by telling someone (likely a trusted adult or friend), you would have a higher chance of getting out of the situation since that someone could help you out.

As the Art Director, I was in charge of sorting out the visuals for the script, which mean I had to work closely with the Copywriter (Jamie) whose job was to work on the script itself. My vision for the advertisement was likely one that gave an isolated and dark feel, so I was thinking towards the idea of the visuals being dark and the colors faded to give a 'lack of joy' effect. After all, Cyberbullying is a serious problem, and it must be addressed in a serious manner. I gained inspiration from advertisements such as #ManUp and #MoreThanMean, taking the ideas of having voice-overs and reading out mean comments taken from real stories.

The script was written by myself and the Copywriter, Jamie, based off of facts and stories that interviewees who took our surveys gave us. We did dramatize the stories, and one or two were based off of the experiences of some of the people in my group.

We decided to go for a script where we write out how the camera would move instead of drawing, since we felt it would be easier for the entire group to understand the exact details of how we wanted the scenes to be laid out.

The script was an attempt to focus more on the technological side of the problem by showing a lot of reenacted drama using phones and computers and having voice overs to allow the audience to clearly see what our campaign represented. We placed a couple facts given from our survey to heighten the dramatic effect and show just how bad the issue may be.


In all honesty, I believe that we could have done more to link the idea of '#TellUsYourStory' to the advertisement, as we didn't exactly link them together. Our original idea to link the hashtag to the advertisement was through a voiceover that was meant to persuade the viewer to talk to someone near the end, although we didn't exactly have time to implement it into the video, and it may not have been enough either way. There were also a few areas where the audio editing wasn't so good, but that could be attributed to the fact that we had to change the music last minute due to us not being allowed to use the original music since the owner had not permitted it.

I did, however, feel that we had effectively designed the shots to be aesthetically pleasing and capture the eye through the use of the moving shots of social media interactions, and the editing (Done by Jamie and me) was fairly good as well according to a majority of the feedback given from the class. We had also remembered to credit any work belonging to other people, which was really just the music.

I had ended up improving my communication, creative, and teamwork skills throughout the process as those skills were needed a lot, and I had learned a few cool technological skills in terms of working with media equipment from Abby - specifically using the camera and microphones to produce good content.

Web 3.0 & Privacy

Filter Bubble

A filter bubble is an 'bubble' that surrounds a user online, which filters in information that the web company who set up the bubble will believe the user will like based on the user's common searches and interests. These bubbles are set up by multiple websites such as Netflix, Facebook, and Google, which track a user's online behavior and change what gets filtered in and out of the 'bubble' to fit your beliefs and values.

This could be a large problem for all users, as the filtered information tailored by web companies will match the users' interests and thus doesn't give the users the information on the other side of the spectrum, which would broaden their worldview and open their mind more to the world's problems.

Googling Myself

I attempted to search for myself online using my first and last name, but couldn't find anything on the front page or image section that would actually point to myself. I clicked the Facebook link, however, and my profile came up first, although this might be because the system recognized it as my profile (I was logged into Facebook). When I clicked onto the second page, I ended up finding both my Flickr and Pathbrite pages (Both based for school purposes). I couldn't find anything else that linked back to me.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.