Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Archive for February, 2013

Days of our Extra Lives

Posted by iamchipcore on February 28, 2013

In all honesty I am not an active soap watcher. I’m aware that these programs tend to run for VERY long periods of time, decade upon decade soap operas run. Before television these programs profited from radio spots from soap companies, household cleaning companies, and general household supply companies.

Our society has changed shape since the advent of the first soap opera. Today we see many more of these programs profiting from advertisements for products not necessarily targeted to women. This can be attributed to the change in audience for soap operas over the years, today there are many more men understanding and appreciating the literary and dramatic merit of these programs. In the field of advertising, companies produce different spots for different audiences and today we have evolved to a much more androgynous society from what we had at the dawn of these programs.

The soap opera was a program conceived to appeal to “housewives” that ran the home throughout the work day. In the post-WWII era, the social “norm” was for the wife to be at home to maintain the house with access to the existing broadcast media outlets. According to the state, I am considered an adult man. I am active in a serious relationship however I cook, clean, wash clothes, do grocery shopping, and do other tasks that were at one time considered the tasks of the “housewife” for both myself and my partner. In my opinion many the social norms of Post-WWII have broken over the decades and will continue to break as they are questioned and analyzed. Media companies will continue to adapt to these changes in our society.

When flipping through channels one day I saw a commercial for Nintendo’s Wii video game system during a soap opera program. Video games have always been considered a “man thing” however this proves how our media is adapting to the changes in our society.


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The first rule of Fight Club is……..

Posted by jonesnforart on February 28, 2013

Upon reading David R. Fosters address about the history of soap advertising,  I found that the initial efforts to make a housewife’s work easier very interesting.  Now, the struggles of the market and the company itself were also intriguing, there are always highs and lows in the market, and of course sometimes just bad luck or bad timing(stock market crash).  But the campaign for capturing the at home mom to stop making her own soap and buy theirs was compelling.  After many centuries of the changing times, it is astounding to watch advertisers change their approach.  I can only imagine what women’s opinions were to this prior to 1922 when they could not even vote in this country.  So times change, as do attitudes.  We have even mentioned in class that the “soap opera” was geared towards housewives to buy their soap.  I think that becomes the challenge.  We have talked about how shows can keep the audience engaged, so advertisers can peddle their wares.  But how do advertisers keep us engaged as well?

Ads have changed dramatically, as have gender roles.  I think that we can now refer to the term, “consumer”, without judgement in referring to the public that buys and uses soap.  But in looking at the new market, soap and its associated products are not only geared toward women.  There are the sexy commercials and humorous ones.  There are some directed completely at men, with the workforce changing.  There is aging cream, hair dye formulas, hair growth products, low-T, cleaning products, etc…, not to mention the list of possible side effects that accompany these products that we think “we absolutely must have”. There are those spokes people that we can’t forget.  Mr. Wipple, Madge the manucurist, or the lonely Maytag repairman become part of our culture.  Even the guy on horseback selling us Old Spice.  Its funny, its memorable but mostly for the classic whistled tune.(Unless the women next to you at the Mexican restaurant has it as her text alert and it keeps playing over and over……)

This brings me to my last observation of a reaction against consumerism, Tyler Durden.  Tyler is Brad Pitt’s character in Fight Club.  He makes and sells soap.  He creates it from a byproduct of our own vanity(some details are being omitted).  He then uses that vanity to sell the soap back to us.  This behavior evolves into “Project Mayhem”, a reaction against consumerism, advertising and all of its trappings.   Do we need everything that the advertiser says we should need.  “Can’t I get no satisfaction?”  I hope that I can recognize advertising for just what it is; a means to sell a product.  It can be entertaining, informative, and persuasive.  If it will make my life easier and I no longer have to make my own soap, then that can be a good thing. (They sell homemade soap at the Local Farmers Market, by the way.)  But as far as our association with the advertisers, do we follow the first rule….”you don’t talk about fight club”?


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What the flip is toilet soap?! and other gross stuff…

Posted by classypassi on February 27, 2013

I assume in the 70’s they just really meant to say, “cleaner.” And what’s with the term: Dental Cream?! Gross, 1975.

I am impressed with the Colgate speech article, however I cannot clearly find identify  the connection between the speech and gender-related material. At all. Perhaps I should reread it.

However, because we are listening to our Gender Studies guest speaker, Dr. Kristi Branham, who is currently studying the representation of women in advertisements, I thought I would roll off of that to write this blog post:

Women in advertisements have obviously evolved tremendously over time when focusing on sexual appeal. In the early advertising industry women were portrayed with a conservative attire, and now, barely wearing any clothes for something that shouldn’t be portrayed as sexual at all. Why is this? I’m not here to write a research paper.. but I would like to raise interesting questions and point out the inconsiderate reasons how women obtained the “traditional roles” that everyone now knows as being a solely dependent, stay-at-home-and-clean woman. Sexual appeal is indirectly shown in almost every kind of commercial and advertisement nowadays to attract people, mostly men, to products. Next time you watch a commercial or see an advertisement, look at the position of the woman. Is she laying down? Are her hands open or lightly holding an item? These are signs of being submissive and non-dominant. This creates a relationship between the targeted buyer, a man, and the woman in the ad making it more personal and a reason for the man to relate and buy the item. These are very subtle roles, but when they are continuously shown publicly across the nation, men and women start to believe that this is how they HAVE to be portrayed as well… which we all know is unobtainable and ridiculous. This is why people are depressed, go tanning, smoke, etc. Arguably.

Rolling off of the way the hands are positioned in ads can be represented in many ways… when a female presents an item, her hand is naturally placed under the item, not holding it, showing non-dominance. When a male is representing an item in an ad, he usually holds the item tightly in his hand, proving his dominance.

No matter the point, each advertisement can be analyzed by gender dominant and depending on what channel and time the commercial, who the target audience is. It’s very fascinating to me and I enjoy analyzing gender differences and roles in advertisements.

I typed in “Women in Advertisements” in google.com/scholar-Images and I found this picture disgusting. And also interesting that it is from ESQUIRE, a men’s magazine.


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Very Meta

Posted by colleencourtney on February 27, 2013

I watch the ABC show Castle, which is about a famous writer who follows Kate Beckett, a female detective for the NYPD, as inspiration for his next set of novels. In the show, Rick Castle, played by Nathan Fillion, writes these Nikki Heat books and each season he writes a sequel following Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook. The cool thing about it, is that these Nikki Heat books are real. You can go out and purchase the novels and it has Nathan Fillion’s picture as Richard Castle on the back of the book. The acknowledgements in the book give shout outs to other fictional characters in the show like Kate Beckett, who is his “muse”. The books also reference certain plots from the show to give it a more authentic feel.

On the show, before Richard Castle started writing about Nikki Heat, he had a popular series about a character named Derrick Storm. They would reference Derrick Storm many times throughout the series. Well, you can also buy some Derrick Storm novels in the form of an eBook. Marvel Studios also teamed up with ABC to release a comic book series based on Derrick Storm.

So, you can read a fictional book, by a fictional author, based on a fictional show; it’s all very meta. It’s definitely an interesting marketing tool to not only make more money off of merchandizing, but also to enhance the viewing experience.

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Advertisements as Far as the Eye Can See

Posted by samanthadeering349 on February 27, 2013

I have always advertising was very interesting. How it had a certain science to appeal to a certain demographic of people. In the Colgate article, it talks about how he had to advertise to housewives, but how they were the biggest competitor. Obviously, they wouldn’t want to try to appeal to the male demographic, because women usually do the dishes.

This article and something I am doing in my English class has really made me think about how many advertisements we are exposed to everyday. I think the number of ads has grown a lot since the internet has become so useful. Ads are everywhere and the internet can keep tabs on what you search for and what you visit and use certain ads that advertisers know will be beneficial or get your attention the most. I personally think that has revolutionized the advertising world.

I used to think I was the kind of person who did not fall into the hands of advertisers, but the more I learn about it, I do. I don’t look at an ad and immediately want to go buy that thing, but if I see the ad enough I’ll want to. I will just assume the product is worth it. If it has my favorite celebrity endorsing it, I used to not believe they necessarily used that product, but when I was younger I thought it was the cool thing to do. I just find it really ironic the way advertisements do influence us and we do not even know it.

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B and N can be saved!

Posted by msbeck14 on February 27, 2013

After reading the Foster Colgate Speech, this has further more made the whole Barnes and Noble situation more relevant to today’s society. The newspaper was so significant back then and but has lost some value today. As time has progressed, the book store started to take the spotlight. Now the bookstore is taking the back seat to digital publications.

This article has inspired me to come up with three solutions to the B and N’s problem….

There are 3 solutions that could slow down the closing of a third of its Barnes and Noble stores. Solution one is called Barnes and Noble goes bold and new. This solution will focus on the exterior of the business. This includes creating book stores that are more high tech. New smart systems in the book store would be the first step. New touch screen monitors that offered books, magazines, and music, all at the touch of your fingertips. These high-tech monitors will be available upon arriving in the store. There will also be personal monitors attached to a set of ear phones (BEATS) where customers can enjoy a little alone time.

Barnes and Noble is known for its green and tan exterior. Let’s propose changing the color scheme up! We will focus on the hottest colors this year. These colors include orange, different shades of blues, neon, and greens. By stepping outside of our comfort zone, we have challenged people to wake up and read a book. These colors are engaging and inviting. The goal is to draw the crowd in and get the buzz going around about the new environment. Word-of-mouth is the fastest way of communicating and a key contributor to marketing. Once we get the buzz going about how Barnes and Nobles has remolded, we have lured the customer in a little bit more.  

Solution two includes “B and N have gone virtual”. Virtual in a sense that books are coming alive. Barnes and Noble will make the pages of books come ALIVE. Books will now be offered on screen, projection, or in 3D. This will encourage customers to get excited about reading but with a twist. This aspect offers higher learning at the click of a button. The “B and N virtual learning” aspect will be offered in a small section of the book store. A place where customers can come and actively engage in activities that correspond with the reading.  Our target market is children, teens, and people with disabilities. Those disabled customers would be able to actively participate in reading with no restrictions.

Solution three will further more influence higher learning. Barnes and Noble will partner up with higher learning institutions to offer reading materials. Barnes and Noble would get with colleges and universities to make reading materials more affordable, convenient, and advanced. College students are struggling to afford the cost of college textbooks. More than 70% of students are not even purchasing the necessary material because they simply can’t afford it. This solution offers reinforcement, encouragement, and stands behind the idea of higher learning.

What do you guys think???




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Nature’s simple rule to keep that school-girl complexion.

Posted by violetknot on February 27, 2013

The above title first appeared in an ad in England (1924) and is a slogan that Colgate still uses in many countries. I understand from a business standpoint that companies want to sell their product, no matter what they have to do. However, at what point do advertisers cross the line, from trying to selling a product into gender biases?

This slogan places expectations upon woman that they must look a certain way. This is a trend that can still be found today. In makeup commercials, actresses and models represent these huge companies. Consumers see these commercials and subconsciously want to look similar to them, which makes them want to buy their product. This is great for the company; however it makes normal women feel inadequate because these expectations to be flawless are forced upon them.

On the other side of the coin, men also have gender roles placed on them through advertisements. In most commercials geared towards men, they are expected to be masculine, provide, and not show emotion. Furthermore, ads almost always show heterosexual relationships, which makes it appear that it is the norm.

All of this media influence begins in the early stages of life. During children television shows, advertises display the latest and greatest toys that are a “must have.” However, each gender is depicted in completely different lights. If you’re interested in more information on this topic, FeministFrequency has a wonderful video called Toy Ads and Learning Gender (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZn_lJoN6PI).

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Superheroes and transmedia

Posted by jelisacc on February 27, 2013

So now that we have an understanding of transmedia, there were a few examples that started to come to mind. I think one of the greatest examples of transmedia is Marvel comics. Believe it or not, I’m a HUGE X-men geek. My whole family is. My father use to own a comic book store and he saved all of the X-men comics and still grabs some today. We’ve got a separate shelf in our living room for x-men action figures only, we own the DVD sets of the 90′s cartoon series, EVERY x-men game since SEGA, and we even own an X-men encyclopedia. I even have the 1993 Barbie doll of Storm. I know, we’re crazy.

With this being said transmedia obviously plays a large role for insane superhero fans like myself. Marvel not only takes advantage for X-Men, but for all of their superhero series. We all know Spiderman, and of course, The Avengers. I think transmedia is so popular within comics and superheros because it’s so simple to promote the story through a video game or movie. Good guys try to prevent the bad guys from doing, well, bad stuff. That’s not difficult to make a movie about. For what I know, at least in the case of X-men, most superhero films follow the plot of the original comic book.

If you think about it, this can also be applied to drilling. People who are really into the plot line follow every story, movie, book, cartoon (etc) 

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Posted by daniellecraig462 on February 27, 2013

The article Mr. Ford sent us today was pretty insightful! Since it started with some of the earliest companies that used mass production and told about their advertising tactics, it really gave me an idea of how it all started. Another thing that was interesting was how the different companies teamed up to generate more power and, more importantly, money.

A lot of companies from that time period used the newspaper to get the word out about their product and sales. This was very common for that time period considering that was about the only thing everybody saw on a daily basis. As time went on and new products were developed, companies like Palmolive was one of the first to use the “buy one get one free” strategy, which, clearly, is very effective. 

All of the companies mentioned in the article worked very hard to get their name and product out there to show people how much easier they could make for a busy housewife or a husband who is constantly working. Companies do the same thing today. They make us feel like we need and product and show us how convenient it is, and most of the time it works. Everyone is all about saving time these days, and probably back in the 18 and 1900’s as well. Advertising has come a long way, but still the same basic methods are used.

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Near, Far, Wherever You Are; You Probably Think This is a Bad Idea

Posted by xautumndanielle on February 27, 2013

I think it’s safe to say that everyone knows the story of the Titanic. If not the fictionalized James Cameron version than at least the basics but just in case anyone is reading this who isn’t aware I’ll elaborate; it was a cruise ship in 1912 that, spoiler alert, hit an iceberg and sank. The Titanic has undoubtedly become a major fixture in popular culture, mostly due to the aforementioned film. Imagine my surprise when I saw Titanic II trending on Twitter this morning. Being overly bored and curious I clicked on it, imagining that someone was going to attempt to make a sequel to the movie and fail because that’s just ridiculous. What I found out was probably more ridiculous than my original thought, though. As it turns out an Australian billionaire, Clive Palmer, is having a replica of the Titanic built. Not only that but it will also sail the same course that the famed ship did in the 1900’s, going from Britain to New York.

The lovely people of Twitter were giving one collective response: Why? I also thought the same thing. Why this particular ship that is so deeply rooted in history and pop culture? I read an in depth article about this lovely event on CNN and begin to understand a little better why he’s doing what he is. He made the comment that the passengers will be separated by class, as originally, and he would stay in the lower quarters with the third class because that’s where the party is. This was very clearly an idea shaped by the movie when prim Rose joins Jack in the lower quarters and has the time of her life. Palmer is an example of someone deeply connected to pop culture.

While reading the article about Colgate in preparation for class tomorrow I undoubtedly connected aspects of it to this ship in a roundabout way. How exactly was this guy going to advertise this? He’s already a billionaire so it may not exactly cause a huge hit to his bank account, although he refuses to disclose the amount it’s going to cost him to build, but he still wants this voyage to happen in 2016 and there are going to have to be people on board. Palmer seems to know what he’s doing, though. He’s reassured the public that there will be enough lifeboats on the ship, a major design flaw last time. He also went so far as to have the descendant of a survivor of the original Titanic to tell how she feels about Titanic II. Still, I believe while Colgate had a battle with housewives, Palmer will have an even bigger battle with the public.

I’m certain this will grab tons of attention when it goes on its trek through the Atlantic in a few years and it’ll be interesting to see how things work out for Palmer. If there’s one thing I hope, though, it’s that they will ban anyone on board from playing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”.

The CNN article I mentioned: http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/27/travel/titanic-2-to-sail/?hpt=tr_c2

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