Learning through others.

Well I can hardly believe this class is almost over. I have learned so much in just 3 weeks!

For this final post, our assignment was to critique three of our fellow students’ blogs. I found this to be quite an enjoyable learning experience.

I learned from other students what I do well when writing for the public, and what I could improve upon.

Most of all, I learned whole new perspectives on classroom concepts just by reading other students’ blogs!

Without further adieu, here they are.

Nina

First of all, I really enjoyed your blog! I think you did an excellent job of taking class concepts and applying them to descriptive examples. I found your blog both entertaining and informative.


For your first blog, I really enjoyed how you explained the systematic process of evaluating media through both Modern Family and the Real Housewives of New Jersey. You explained the concepts very clearly to me and I learned a thing or two about both of these shows. I also liked how you linked to the “American Cultural Studies” website (I didn’t know there was such a thing) to better explain American cultural studies. I found your link to “Semiotics for Beginners” very helpful as well.

I also enjoyed your second blog. I like how you chose to focus on print ads. I focused on TV, mainly because I was worried I wouldn’t catch all of the signs in a print ad. After reading your examples from Ralph Lauren and Neiman Marcus, I realized it isn’t so hard if you develop a critical eye.

The “closed text” and “open text” examples you used really helped me. I didn’t really think deeply about them when we learned those terms in class but after seeing your examples, I know I’ll be able to explain the difference between the two on a test!

Your third blog on deregulation really opened my eyes. I remember learning about some of it during the video and in class, but it’s obvious you did more research. You touched on Reagan and the end of deregulation, but it may have been interesting to link to an article about it. I found this one interesting.

In one sentence you said: “Parents are spending 35% or more of their shopping money on children’s toys because deregulation has lead children to get brainwashed by major media corporations that causes the kids and their parents to think that kids can only belong in our society if they have and meet the criteria of what is accepted by media companies unbelievable capabilities to market.” I had to read it a couple times because it’s a little long, but you really understand the idea, and help your readers to do so also.

I like how you linked to the “Girls Gone Wild” article. I must have missed that story, because I was surprised to find out what happened. I also liked how you tied in the social responsibility theory in your conclusion. I think it would have been nice if you linked “Consuming Kids” and “The Mickey Mouse Monopoly” to their websites to give your readers some more information.

Overall, nice work. I think you could maybe improve your discussions by writing shorter paragraphs, but the information, links, appearance, and writing are all great.

Becka

First of all, I really enjoyed your blog.

In your first blog, I really enjoyed the video you linked to. I had no idea that white web pages waste 15 more watts of energy that black background web pages. I also found it interesting that billboards interrupt nature. I see them every day but never thought of it in this way. We live in a highly advertised world.

I liked your Jersey Shore example. I, for one, have never been a fan of the show simply because of its trash factor. Like you, I find it crazy that it is one of MTV’s best-selling shows. This says something negative about our society and makes me question the future of our media.

An article like this one may have added some more depth to your discussion, and given your readers another perspective to view.

I was astounded by your second blog post about the Diesel jeans ad. I had never seen it before, and ads these days never cease to amaze me. I like how you took a print ad as an example. I chose TV simply because I was worried I wouldn’t catch all the signs in an ad. But you did so well!

I LOVED the video “Subliminal or Coincidence” that you linked to. Before this class, I never looked twice at an ad. Now that I’ve learned a thing or two about semiotic analysis (and you helped make this more applicable with your examples), I can’t look at an ad the same way again.

I was really fascinated by your analysis of the woman in the Diesel jeans ad. You brought up some excellent points about how the woman is meant to look like a young girl. I wouldn’t have thought that right off the bat. The point you made about the red ladder signifying anger and the barbed wire representing an institution really struck me as insightful.

I would have liked if you linked the article, “Media Analysis Techniques” to the blog so I could read where you were coming from. Having shorter paragraphs may have made your discussions a little better too.

Overall, I really enjoyed your blog. It kept me intrigued the whole time, and you had some excellent insights!

Chris

I really enjoyed your blog. On your first post, I like the article you found on media literacy. I also liked how you used Entourage as an example when explaining the systematic critical process. I’ve never seen it before and had no idea it was based on Mark Wahlberg’s life, but your explanation drew me in, as well as your conclusion on why media criticism is important, and why we should question what is being broadcasted to us.

 In your second blog, I enjoyed how you applied semiotics to the Keystone Light commercials. You made an excellent point when you said he was an iconic sign. I wouldn’t have thought that far into it.

It might have made for a better discussion if you analyzed more of the “signs” in the commercial. In the first one with the grandma, he says, “hold my stones,” which has a sexual connotation. You could also have talked about the way the women were provocatively dressed, implying sexuality, and that drinking keystone will make you sexually attractive.

I did, however, like the website on media criticism you linked to. It may have been helpful if you explained more context of the website, or perhaps used one of the articles you found most applicable to your discussion.

I thought this article  might be interesting for you to look at to see how you can dig deeper.

Overall, it appears you have a good grip on the concepts, and you helped me understand some of the terminology better. Nice work.

Throughout this course, we learned that everyone sees a media text in a slightly different way. Some people’s interpretations vary greatly from others’. Sometimes they are close to the same.

Either way, my classmates pointed out things to me and explained things to me in ways I had never considered before, and that is the beauty of networking!

I found this blogging experience to be tremendously useful in helping me apply classroom terms to real life examples. I believe writing things down in your own words and applying them to your own interests really helps you understand an idea – particularly complex ones!

Throughout this class, not only did I learn so much about the ways in which media affects our lives, but I also learned how to be a better communicator, writer, and thinker.

It has been a pleasure.

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Disney, you did me wrong.

As we’ve been moving along in media criticism, a major idea we’ve come to learn about is ideological criticism.

To break this down, let’s first learn what ideology is.

Ideology is a means of exerting power that dominant elites use to extend control over others. Ideology refers to a set of ideas that gives some particular account of the world. These ideas are usually partial and selective. Ideology refers to how these ideas came to seem natural, obvious, and common sensical.

Follow so far?

Ideological criticism, then, examines how these ideas are embedded in and circulated through texts, how they reflect and serve the interests of the dominant elites, how the systematic representation of these ideas has become accepted as normal and natural, and how they largely go unnoticed and unchallenged.

Ideological criticism is focused on how the text is produced and structured and the ways it interacts with our life experiences to understand dominant ideas and values circulating in our social world.

Ideological criticism is interested in understanding how media institutions, texts, and practices establish and sustain existing power relations as well as informing and empowering the oppressed to strive for material changes to improve equality, and exposing and challenging dominant often taken-for-granted ideas and values, even though they could be confrontational.

One branch of ideological criticism is political economy theory.

Well, what’s that?

Political economy theory is based in the Marxist conception of the socioeconomic order. It studies how media institutions, texts, and practices establish and sustain existing power relations, as well as how the media advance the interests of dominant elites, and how elites maintain control through hegemonic consensus.

Hegemonic consensus? Well that refers to the ways ideas and values are constructed as natural, normal, and therefore, unchangeable.

Political economic analysis examines the role of ownership in media industry and the link between media ownership and the ideology embedded in media texts.

I know that’s a lot to take in, but please stay with me!

I’m going to use an example to help you understand, but first, time for some trivia.

Which company is the most powerful force in creating childhood culture all over the world?

If you answered Disney, you are correct!

In a fascinating documentary called The Mickey Mouse Monopoly, writers Chyng Sun and Miguel Picker expose how underneath the innocence and fantasy, Disney is a transnational media conglomerate.

Say what? Disney owns everything. Well not everything, but a lot. For example, I bet you didn’t know that Disney owns Miramax Films, Touchstone Pictures, Pixar, ABC television, the History channel, Lifetime, ESPN, over thirty radio stations, Hyperion books, ESPN magazine, Baby Einstein, Club Penguin, and not to mention everything with Disney in the name….Walt Disney Pictures, Disney Music Group, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Store, Disney Channel, etc.

For a complete list, check out “Who Owns What” by the Columbia Journalism Review. You’ll be shocked!

What the creators of this documentary were trying to show is that through Disney’s huge use of hegemonic power, they might not be sending the right messages. And audiences everywhere may not realize these harmful messages because of the political economy theory.

Wait, what? In other words, Disney has maintained such a powerful control over our hearts and minds for so long that the ideas and values it portrays have come to be seen as natural, normal, inevitable and thus…unchangeable.

So what’s the problem, then?

According to a study guide on the documentary, by Robert B. Pettit, “Disney has enormous power to shape our constructions of reality and fantasy alike. The problem is that, as a private corporation, this power is concentrated in the hands of a few who are neither elected nor accountable to most of those affected by that power. More troubling still is the fact that this power is directed primarily at those least able to resist it or critically evaluate it— our children.”

Political Economists are increasingly thinking about commercialization and childhood.

What for? Well here are some things that are wrong with the “Disney culture,” as evidence by the “Mickey Mouse Monopoly.”

First, the depictions of gender representations in Disney are a problem. Why is that?

Well, the women in Disney films represent a highly distorted version of femininity. They have highly sexualized and unrealistic bodies, they are very seductive, and they always need rescuing by a man.

This sends a dangerous message to young girls. They are at the risk of growing up to feel insecure because their waist isn’t 6 inches around like Ariel’s, or if they are in danger, they are absolutely helpless.

How about the scene when Jasmine seduces Jafar so that Aladdin can steal the lamp unnoticed? Here’s the clip to jog your memory.

Not to mention, look how she’s dressed. Young girls watching this are receiving subtle messages that you can get what you want from a man. All you have to do is seduce him.

Representations of race and ethnicity in Disney are nothing to toss aside either. Have you noticed how many times an African American person has been seen in a Disney film? Aside from voicing the jive crows in Dumbo, the boisterous orangutans in The Lion King, and the apes in Tarzan (a movie about Africa), they make no human appearances.

I hate to be the one to say it, but white supremacy is very likely a subtle theme in these films. And not just because of the racist representations of black people.

Latinos are represented as irresponsible Chihuahuas in both Lady and the Tramp and Oliver in Company. Native Americans are represented as savages (“barely even in human”) in both Pocahontas and Peter Pan.

Asians are represented by the mischievous cats in Lady in the Tramp and their family values and culture are misconstrued by Mulan. Arabians are referred to as “barbaric” in Aladdin.

SO WHAT? Why is it important to examine media through the lens of a political economist?

Because if you don’t, you are allowing huge media conglomerates like the Walt Disney Corporation to dictate what you believe to be true and how you should live your life. If we aren’t careful and don’t learn to think for ourselves, we will give into these subtle messages, and this poses a threat to our future well-being as a society, and the future of our youths.

A brief lesson in Semiotics. Exhibit A: Glee.

To better understand media criticism, let’s take a look at semiotics and how they are demonstrated in the show, Glee.

You ask… “What is semiotics?” Well I just learned it myself.

Semiotics refers to the study of how social production of meaning is constructed through signs. Ahhhh. Now you understand the word “signs.”

Let’s dig a little deeper. Signs are embedded in all texts. They help us to understand the meaning of a text. And they help us to understand how reality is socially constructed.

Make sense so far?

Let’s first take a look at Glee. Glee is a show created by director and producer Ryan Murphy that airs on Fox on Tuesday nights at 8 pm. The third season just came to a successful end with a Christmas episode airing December 20th. The fourth season is coming up soon and I personally can’t wait.

Well what’s Glee about?

In short, Glee is about high school life demonstrated through drama, song, and dance. It’s about a high school glee club. The show explains who’s in the club, why they are there, the obstacles they face, and how they overcome them.

It’s important to note the character distinctions between the members of the club. They range from show choir perfectionists who symbolize the “losers,” to the cheerleaders and football players, who don’t really want to be there. This group symbolizes “popularity.” In the show, it’s not considered “cool” to be in the glee club.

Each member displays varying levels and strong suits of talent. While some members are strong singers, others are strong dancers, and others lie in between and are placed in the background.

The show is definitely a comedy, with elements of satire. Ryan Murphy effectively and humorously captured the typical stereotypes of high school students – nerd, jock, cheerleader, etc. – and gave unique and strong personalities to each.

Every character struggles with some sort of major flaw – from insecurities in looks to insecurities in sexual orientation to handicaps to broken families. The show’s main theme is how the glee club, through thick and thin, brings them all together to express human emotion through music, with the critical element being acceptance.

The main character of the show is a girl named Rachel Berry. Convinced glee club is her ticket to stardom, Rachel is a perfectionist. She signifies perfection, but only in her ability to sing and perform. The process or signification, then, is her dedication to the art. She practices harder than anyone else does.

If we use a syntagmatic analysis, we see that the combination of signs and their meanings show that Rachel is a perfectionist. She gets up early in the morning to exercise her voice and learn her songs ahead of time. She has a perfectionist mentality that she abides by. She constantly reminds herself that if she works hard enough, she will make it to the top, as evidence by this video.

Don’t feel the need to watch the whole thing. You will get the picture in just the first few clips!

However, in her private life, Rachel exhibits insecurities in her looks, her social status in high school, and her ability to form positive relationships, which makes her more relatable to the average girl.

Let’s look back at semiotics.

On the University of Oregon journalism department website, I was able to find an article about semiotics, with a couple different meanings.

“Semiotics is the study of everything that can be used for communication: words, images, traffic signs, flowers, music, medical symptoms, and much more.”

To exemplify this meaning, let’s use a typical outfit for Rachel Berry as an example.

Oh, here’s several!

Rachel Berry likes to dress like a school girl. What does this say about her?

If we apply the science of semiotics, we can break it down and find out.

SIGN = school girl outfits

MEANING

Rachel Berry likes to dress like a school girl. Instead of jeans and a t-shirt, Rachel wears plaid skirts with blouses, sometimes an argyle sweater, knee socks, and a pair of Mary Jane’s.

On one episode, the character Santana described her style as “a combination of a hooker and a baby.”  Sometimes she even wears sweaters with moose or similar animals on them, or blouses with big bows.

My first impression was that she is dressing too young for her age. She dresses like a child, even though she is supposed to be a teenager. However, she keeps her skirts short, implying she has a sexual edge, but she is struggling to balance the two traits: innocence and sexuality.

PROCESS

This says a lot about her personality. Rachel Berry would like people to think she is innocent. She makes it clear she is a virgin. She talks about it. She doesn’t have a lot of experience with boys.

Her focus is on her future career. She focuses on it so much that perhaps, she forgot to grow up. She is stuck in a childlike state of dreaming and hoping that one day, she will make it.

However, Rachel Berry is smart. She realizes this is also an industry where “sex sells.” Therefore, she must compromise her childlike wardrobe with sass and sexuality. She wears short skirts to show off her legs and is often pictured with complimenting heels even.

By studying the combination, right off the bat we can tell that one thing’s for sure: Rachel Berry has identity issues. She tries to appeal to both innocence and sexuality and these two character traits are opposites.

FIELD OF SIGNS

These signs show that Rachel Berry is conflicted with herself. She is emotionally stable when it comes to music and stage preparation, but very unstable when it comes to relationships and applying the appropriate social cues to the appropriate situations. She lacks friends. This is her greatest flaw.

Another definition from the University of Oregon article is this:

“As a tool for the study of culture, semiotics represents a radical break from traditional criticism, in which the first order of business is the interpretation of an aesthetic object or text in terms of what is its immanent meaning. Semiotics first asks how meaning is created, rather than what the meaning is.”

I think this definition summarizes nicely the meaning I was trying to convey between Rachel Berry and her wardrobe.

SO WHAT? You may be asking.

It’s important to critically examine the media texts we are consuming because of the power they have to influence their audience.

When I was growing up, I realized early on that being sexy meant dressing sexy and that dressing sexy meant wearing short dresses and heels.

How would I ever have known that a woman’s legs were supposed to be sexy if no one told me they were? I learned through the constant flow of images on my television set that this was the case.

And this is just one example of a lesson in media. If I look back at most of the things I learned about how to be cool or how to be pretty or how to be a woman, I learned these things from the media as well. Not from school, not from my parents, but from the media.

Well I’ve certainly learned a lot about the importance of studying semiotics and their role in media criticism by writing this post, and I hope you have too.

Until next time, folks!

Introduction to Media Criticism

Greetings readers!

My name is Emily Girsch and this winter, I took the challenge of taking a course in Media Criticism.

I know what you’re thinking…Media Criticism? What’s that?

Well let me tell you. Media Criticism is a course designed to help us think critically about the effect of media on our everyday lives. By enhancing our media literacy skills, we can better understand the media’s impact on the world.

Let’s face it. The media are EVERYWHERE. The media are an all-pervading phenomenon and we can’t stop them. We live in a media-saturated environment.

Especially us Millennials! The Millennial generation refers to kids who grew up between the 80’s and 90’s, and according to 60 Minutes, we’re causing quite a stir.

Let’s briefly see how the media are changing our world.

Wow. That’s a lot to take in.

It is therefore necessary and essential to study media criticism and to treat it as a legitimate area of study because it is changing the scope of our cultural, social, political, and economic environments.

For example, Barrack Obama was the first president to truly understand and use to his advantage, the electoral power of the web. Some are calling the 2008 election the “Facebook election” because of the way he appealed to users of social media. As a matter of fact, he won 70% of the votes of citizens 25 and under (the Millennial generation) because of the way he used the Web to hold their attention.

David Carr of the New York Times wrote:

Thomas Jefferson used newspapers to win the presidency, F.D.R. used radio to change the way he governed, J.F.K. was the first president to understand television, and Howard Dean saw the value of the Web for raising money,” said Ranjit Mathoda, a lawyer and money manager who blogs at Mathoda.com. “But Senator Barack Obama understood that you could use the Web to lower the cost of building a political brand, create a sense of connection and engagement, and dispense with the command and control method of governing to allow people to self-organize to do the work.”

The Web is so powerful it is being used to channel ideas, negotiate an open forum of discussion, raise and settle disputes, and offer various perspectives on issues on digital platforms we never had before.

In a compelling essay entitled, “Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture,” Douglas Kellner writes, “Media images help shape our view of the world and our deepest values: what we consider good or bad, positive or negative, moral or evil.”

I’m a big fan of the show Glee. Glee does a good job of pinpointing the social stereotypes of high school and making light of them. Also, all the characters sing about their ups and downs.

A lot of people roll their eyes when they hear a Glee fan like me praising the show, but it actually deals with some pretty heavy issues and the main theme of the show is acceptance.

In this scene, which caused some controversy in conservative households, Santana tells her grandmother that she is gay.

Kellner writes that a diverse audience will interpret texts in different, sometimes conflicting ways.

The gay community who watches this episode will see it as a form of a positive media breakthrough that highlights the gay struggle for acceptance in a society where being gay used to be unacceptable.

The conservative community will react with discomfort and even disdain.

This particular text of media might influence our perceptions and shape our values and culture by saying that it is alright to be gay. Although Santana’s grandmother reacts with disgust and rejection, gay people who watch the show can empathize with that, and feel for Santana. It appeals to their struggle, and helps them accept who they are.

Kellner writes, “The media contribute to educating us how to behave and what to think, feel, and desire – and what not to…they show us how to dress, look, and consume; how to react to members of different social groups; how to be popular and successful and how to avoid failure.”

By analyzing a show like Glee, I can see that Kellner raises a very excellent point. Although Santana is just one example of a possible stereotype, there are many others in the show, including nerds, Asians, prudes, sluts, popular kids, “losers,” smart people, not-so-smart people, and people who are overweight. The show even features a character with OCD, a character with Down’s syndrome, a character in a wheel chair, and a character struggling in poverty.

What Glee does differently than other shows is root for the underdog, which seems to be everyone. While many shows praise normalcy, Glee praises acceptance for all. I like the show because it embraces a unique, positive approach to cultural differences compared with much of the other media we are exposed to.

In conclusion, I’ve really enjoyed this class so far and I’ve thought about how the media are affecting me in ways I had never realized before. I’ve begun to watch television with more of a critical eye, and I’ve been able to learn from it things I wouldn’t have otherwise learned.

Every day I learn something new and I can’t wait to share more of my thoughts with you!

Fend It Like Beckham

British soccer star David Beckham recently won a libel case over Express Group Newspapers claiming he was having an affair with Hungarian model Mariann Fogarasy. Check out the article.

The newspaper will pay damages to Beckham for false statements they published about him making a play towards Fogarasy earlier in the year following an AC Milan match. According to Express Group, the two enjoyed a candlelight dinner after the game in Budapest. The paper also claims he was emailing her private party invitations.

Some believe it was Fogarasy who made the allegations.

Approaching his ten year anniversary with pop star wife, Victoria, Beckham explains, “I have no desire for another woman.  I only love Victoria.  Ninety percent of everything written about us is invented. The last one was this story about the Hungarian model.  I have never been out to dinner with this young lady” (bittenandbound.com).

Beckham’s solicitor, Gerrard Tyrrell, told the court that the “serious and defamatory allegations” were not true.

Kate Wilson, counsel for Express Group Newspapers, agreed to pay Beckham substantial damages and his legal costs and apologized to him and his family for the distress and embarrassment.

The judge ruled the allegation to be false because Bekham denied it and Express Group Newspaper did not have any substantial evidence, such as witnesses or pictures.

I agree with the court’s ruling. “Ninety percent of everything written about us is invented,” said Beckham. I believe him.

Desperate for attention and readership, entertainment newspapers and magazines often fabricate stories of celebrity scandal.

This is not the first time the Bekhams filed a lawsuit for libel. In 2006, they filed for libel based on a newspaper claiming that their marriage was a business sham. Read the article here. Those allegations turned out to be false, too.

Beckham explains, “If I took the time to deny every story about me, I wouldn’t have time to be a footballer” (dailymail.co).

This case is just one example in a million that paints the entertainment media in a negative light. You just cannot trust the tabloids!

Counteract the Cruelty, Modulate the Media

McDonald’s has been criticized in the media for animal cruelty. There is even a website called called McCruelty.org with the tagline, “I’m hatin it.” View it here.

According to the website, in the slaughterhouses of McDonald’s, chickens are dumped out of transport cages and hung upside down in metal shackles, resulting in broken bones, bruising, and hemorrhaging. Workers also cut out their throats and place them in scalding hot water to defeather them while they are still alive and conscious.

With graphic descriptions of the slaughter methods and horrifying accompanying images, this website is difficult to ignore or forget.

The website also says that in February 2009, PETA lifted its moratorium against McDonald’s after the company failed to require its U.S. and Canadian chicken suppliers to adopt a less cruel slaughter method.

My Public Relations Campaign

In order to counteract the negative publicity McDonald’s received for allowing animal cruelty in its slaughterhouses, I would set up a video publicity stunt. I would visit the slaughterhouses beforehand and let the men in charge know that the cruelty done to the chickens has reached the media and presented McDonald’s in a negative light.

I would speak to the man in charge of the slaughter division and let him know that the media can cause severe damage to a restaurant chain with news like this and change needs to be evoked immediately. I would offer money from my public relations company in order to achieve that change and require him to sign a document promising to discontinue the cruelty of the chickens.

Upon agreement, with my public relations corporation, I would offer money in return for allowing a staged video documentary promoting less cruel slaughtering methods on location.

My documentary team and I would script and film a video proving that McDonald’s slaughter houses no longer torture their chickens with painful deaths. In the film would be video clips and imagery of healthy chickens carefully taken care of and handled before their deaths. There would be a description and explanation of the new painless deaths, such as decapitation before removing the feathers or cutting out the throat.

The video would be edited to promote non-cruelty in the McDonald’s slaughterhouses, featuring positive music and imagery, and interview sound bites with PETA representatives commending the change to non-cruel slaughter of McDonald’s chickens.

The video would be released on the web and the PETA website, exemplifying positive change.

It would also be sent to the creators of McCruelty.org.

This campaign involves risks, however, particularly risks that might backfire on me.

The slaughter houses could change their ways once the media coverage is over, particularly if the crueler methods are cheaper and more time efficient. My company could also be accused of bribery in return for non-cruel slaughter methods. Furthermore, my company could be accused of merely staging change in the slaughterhouses, rather than it actually happening. My goal is for it to actually happen, however.

Either way, I abided by the PRSA Ethics Code and hope my campaign is successful.

Valentine’s Day…Holiday, Film, or Just One Huge Advertisement?

After viewing the 2010 motion picture Valentine’s Day a second time, and with a critical eye, I was shocked to see so much product placement! With the help of the website brandchannel.com, I was able to find over 50 brands strategically placed in the film. Among the 50, 9 were car brands, 6 were shoe brands, 5 were technology brands, and 4 were websites.

Directed by Garry Marshall, who is best known for Princess Diaries, Runaway Bride, and Pretty Woman, Valentine’s Day is a romantic comedy about a handful of people looking for love. The day is Valentine’s Day, the location is Los Angeles, and the film focuses on about six main couples and their love lives. Each couple, young and old; is either searching for, embracing, or in one case, cheating on their significant other.  The trials they endure and the happiness they obtain are what make the film inspiring and heart-warming to chick-flick lovers nationwide.

However, the amount of product placement used in the film is absurd. Since the film focuses on upper-class, beautiful, Californian stars left and right, the producers of the film decided to coax the audience with products they should have in order to be cool like the celebrities in the movie.

Cars, of all the products, were the most overbearingly used. A lot of driving was done in this movie! Every time an actor was filmed driving, their car was featured too. The brands include Cadillac Escalade, Ford Mustang, Range Rover, Porsche, Chevrolet, Toyota, and Volkswagen Beetle.  Great attention was given to car brands.

A lot of attention was also given to sports shoe brands and apparel. Among the brands featured were Blazer, Quicksilver, Puma, Nike, and Adidas. One of the main characters is a football player, so the producers took advantage of advertising sports brands through him. Many of the other characters were filmed working out, also sporting these brands. In addition, one character is filmed drinking Gatorade.

Since technology is always advancing and the film focuses on the L.A. elite, the latest technology needed to be exemplified by them. Apple, Blackberry, Nokia, and Sony were all featured in the film. Websites facebook, evite, mapquest, and craigslist were all acknowledged as well. Television networks ESPN and the Discovery Channel were also mentioned.

In addition to cars, athletic gear, and technology, designers such as Marc Jacobs, Versace, Christian Louboutin, and Cartier were also featured in order to promote the fine apparel and accessories of the upper class.

Other products or companies advertised in the film include Scope mouthwash, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, American Express, FedEx, USPS, US Army, and Sharpie.

Wow. Now that’s A LOT of product placement.

I think the cars and sports apparel were most successful in gaining the audience’s attention because they were used most often. The second most successful in gaining attention was the technology brands and designer apparel. The reason these brands were noticed most often is because the film focuses on beautiful stars with the fine things they possess. Nice cars, designer clothing, and the latest technological trends are all symbols of high status and something that the average, middle-class viewer will come to desire upon observation.

Now that a think of it, the whole film seems like a huge advertisement. A lot of people went to see this movie because about 20 major stars were in it. The film even attracted older folks with names like Shirley McLaine, Kathy Bates, and Hector Elizondo. Other huge stars include Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, and Bradley Cooper. The movie attracted a teen crowd with stars like Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner. With a handful of Hollywood’s most attractive and successful pop icons, young and old, people around the world were anxious to see what all the fuss was about.

The holiday itself was advertised by the film, grossing $56.4 million Valentine’s Day weekend.

People went to see this movie because of the stars in it and because of the holiday it came out. Little did they know that during the 2 hours they were sitting in their seats, over 50 brands were coming at them left and right, begging for attention and an eventual purchase.

I’ll never view a movie the same way again!