This page was created for my COM416 Propaganda class. Throughout the semester, I created blog posts for various assignments.
February 21, 2019
Today I played an online game called "Bad News" on The game was a simulation activity that showed how easy it is for fake news and misinformation to be spread in our world, especially on social media. The example used in this game is Twitter, because it is a platform that often sees fake accounts created either impersonating an important person or faking an official Twitter account. The creators of these accounts use them to spread lies to the public and gain a large following so that they can spread more misinformation and trick people. Playing this game showed me how quick and easy it is for lies to be spread on the Internet. Twitter users may find these tweets and retweet or reply to them, making them visible to an even wider audience who may believe the lies. While I understood the purpose of the game, it did seem a little unrealistic to me because of how easy it was to start a fake account and spread an outrageous lie that people believed. Twitter and other social media platforms now work to stop fake accounts and shut them down because of the era of fake news and misinformation. However, they cannot get to every fake account right away, which is how this fake news spreads.
February 22, 2019
LEAP 1 assignment:
The propaganda example I chose to analyze is the new Gillette “We Believe” ad. This commercial can be found on the Mind Over Media website, however I chose to analyze this piece because I have already seen it multiple times on television and social media. The reason it has been posted all over social media is the controversial, provocative nature of it, or what we would call in this class, propaganda. The controversy and criticism surrounding this ad has been both positive and negative, depending on the viewer. Arguably, Gillette knew this ad would be controversial, which is probably why they decided to run it. Whether you agree with the ad’s message or not, it most likely provoked a strong emotional response from you, which is one of the goals of propaganda. The ad evokes a “love it” or “hate it” response for most people, which creates a big buzz for Gillette coming from both sides. The people that support Gillette’s message and are happy to see this storyline portrayed in the commercial give the company positive feedback, and possibly even bring them more business. Those that did not like the ad or disagreed with its message still talked about it, whether it be online, to their peers or coworkers, which still draws a lot of attention to Gillette.
Gillette is a company that is best known for its razors, and is a male-oriented company because of the products it sells. This ad in particular was produced by the British Somesuch Productions by Australian filmmaker Kim Gehrig. The ad reached over 29 million views in the first month of being published due to its controversial topic and storyline. While Gillette’s primary audience and target demographic consists of males, this ad was targeted at the American population as a whole because of the message it presents. The ad is not just about selling razors, it is about telling a story of the current issues in our country and how everyone needs to recognize them. Even though the ad is focused on how males can improve their behavior and stand up against behavior that is wrong, females can still learn from the story Gillette has presented. Gillette was strategic in producing this propaganda because the company has gained support from females who believe in the importance of their message, but may not have given Gillette much thought before since it is a male-orientated company. Nowadays, consumers care a lot about the causes companies stand for, so Gillette has gained a bigger following after showing that they support important issues and want to help make a positive change in the world.
It is important to consider the context of this ad, which first aired in January 2019. Currently, there is a lot of buzz in the media and society in general about the #MeToo movement, gender politics and the idea of “toxic masculinity.” The year 2018 saw a lot of media coverage and discussion about these controversial topics, making the timing and context of this ad significant. Gillette strategically referenced each of these trending topics in their ad to provoke a public conversation, which in return gave the company a lot of attention. They used storytelling to capture and hold the viewers’ attention throughout the ad. There was not just one story with one set of characters, but rather multiple different storylines with different characters who each contributed a significant part of the overall story. This technique keeps viewers attentive throughout the duration of the ad and makes them think about how each part fits into the greater picture. Additionally, the ad provokes strong emotions for many viewers, whether they be positive or negative. This is because the ad incorporates issues that are extremely relevant in today’s world. Arguably almost everyone has been affected by these issues in some way, whether it is a female who can relate to being sexually harassed and the #MeToo movement, or a young boy who is told he needs to “man up.” The ad makes its viewers think about how they, or someone they know, has been affected by these problems and how they can help put an end to this negative trend.
The way this ad is interpreted relies heavily on individual viewers’ beliefs, values and experiences. It is in no way a piece of propaganda that is interpreted the same by every person. Gillette knew this before running the ad, which is why it was a successful marketing campaign that drew a lot of attention to the company. For example, people that believe that every male should fully embody the traits society considers to be “masculine” may not like this ad, or agree with its message. On the other hand, people that have been victims of sexual assault or toxic masculinity most likely agree with the message the ad presents and believe it is useful propaganda. After analyzing both sides of the argument, I find the ad to be useful propaganda because it has started a public conversation on multiple current issues in society. Whether you like the ad or not, it has all of the makings of an effective piece of propaganda because it has the power to influence a wide audience and present important information in an attention-grabbing manner.
March 1, 2019
Tactics used in Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me, I’m Lying
Part one of Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday outlines multiple tactics used by marketers to deceive bloggers and publishers to get them to write what he wants to promote his brands. While there is debate over how ethical these tactics are, Holiday explains that they work the best when it comes to manipulating the media. In this blog post, I will focus on the first three tactics Holiday mentions because I find them to be practical, yet clever. He advises markets to essentially help bloggers pay their bills, tell them what they want to hear and to give them information that will spread.
When a blogger is getting started, they often do not have a lot of followers and page views and want to increase their audience. Marketers can help bloggers by giving them freebies and products to write about that will get them impressions. In return, bloggers can help marketers by posting about the brands or products once they have established a bigger loyal following. This reminds me of what I have learned in my public relations classes and internships about maintaining good relationships with the media. It is important for marketers and PR professionals to make connections with influencers, bloggers and publishers because they can help get a story published when the time comes.
Bloggers are often on a time-crunch to get content published, so they appreciate when marketers give them straight-forward information. Telling them exactly what they want to hear helps both sides. Marketers can help shape the story they want told and influence the blogger’s point of view on the brand by feeding them the information they want to hear. In turn, this helps bloggers publish they want content quickly and effortlessly.
Bloggers want to post content that is exciting and shareable, and Holiday explains how marketers can use this to their advantage. Sharing content that evokes strong emotions and passion will help bloggers get more views on their posts, and help marketers gain a wider audience for their brand/company. This reminds me of the LEAP assignment I completed about Gillette’s latest ad, “We believe.” Gillette knew that publishing this ad would spark strong emotions from the public, both good or bad. Whether or not people agreed with the content in the ad, they were sharing it and talking about it, creating buzz for Gillette.
March 22, 2019
As part of a lesson today, I watched a video called "The revolving door between Fox News and the Trump administration." The video describes how Trump is clearly biased towards Fox News and outwardly expresses his dislike of other news stations like CNN and MSNBC. The video also explains how employees of Fox News began to make up the Trump administration, because Trump clearly chose individuals who align with his beliefs and values. Examples of news clips are strategically placed in the video that align with Trump's beliefs, such as anti-multiculturalism. The narrator of the video shows no opinion in her commentary in the voice over, but used these examples to show how the Fox News and the Trump administration is in line with his agenda.
The video clearly showcases some of the filters of the propaganda model. Centralized ownership is demonstrated because all major news outlets are owned by four media conglomerates, and Trump is much more willing to do interviews with Fox News because it aligns with his agenda. The enemy factor is shown through video clips about Isis, which is not even a major problem today, to create fear from the public. This is something that Trump does often in his speeches and interviews, and this is highlighted in some of the chosen video clips.
March 29, 2019
LEAP 2 assignment
For this assignment, I chose to compare and contrast two pieces of American propaganda, one from the 1960s and one from the 2000s, that both influence women's body image. The examples are shown below. To read the full paper, click the button below the images.
May 3, 2019
LEAP 3 assignment
In this assignment, I put together a listicle of ten different insights I learned about propaganda this semester. Click the buttons below to view the listicle and the Spark video that goes along with it: