Wednesday, 16 December 2009

contemporary advert

I decided to use the comapany's, Abercrombie and Fitch advertisement as an example of an contemporary consumer item. The company originates in America and began in the 1980's. The reason i chose this company and this advert was to demonstrate the views that are held in america and the world today. This advert seems to put across the idea that model-like people should be wearing this clothing. The image of a young, atheltic male and female modelling the clothing gives the impression that people of similar shape and statute should be wearing the clothes. what isnt shown in the advert is how expensive the clothing is. As such the advert is appealing to the young, middle class, 'acceptable sized' people of america and europe.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Grand Theft Coke

I've decided to post a contemporary Coca-Cola commercial as since the 50s, Coke's advertising has significantly affected American culture. From humble beginnings incorporating I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing in the 50s and I am the Future of the World in the 80s, the inclusion of pop music has been a recurring theme in Coke commercials and it is notable that there are reflections in regards to the decades in which they were made. Another recurring theme is a worldly message coming across; the commercial I have chosen continues this theme in both respects but presents it in a unique way.

First aired during the 2007 Super Bowl, the commerical is entirely computer generated and is a carbon copy of a scene from the violent Grand Theft Auto video game series. However, when it appears as if the protagonist is going to attack innocent people, he gives them a bottle of Coca-Cola, stops thieves and spreads the all-round "happiness" of Coke around. The community all end up celebrating together to a male cover of "You Give a Little Love" taken from the film Bugsy Malone. This is almost a direct reference as at the end of the film the child gangsters stop fighting when Razmataz starts playing the piano and everyone sings together realising they could be friends. This theme continues the peace theme that recurs throughout Coca-Cola's advertising but with an edgy twist. While it is suggested that maybe this commercial was directed at a specifically male audience by being aired during the Super Bowl, I remember watching it during the advertisments before a film at the cinema and I personally found that a universal message came across.

Horatio Alger in contemporary websites

The use of the phrase "Horatio Alger" is used in a variety of contexts in contemporary websites. The website Asian Topics has an article that explores the "Horatio Alger Myth" in relation to Japan. It explains that in the United States the myth means that anybody from any background can become a successful businessman through hard work. In Japan, the myth is slightly more modest and means that through hard work a farm boy can become a bureaucrat for example. There is a difference between the Horatio Alger myth's meaning in both countries as becoming a bureaucrat is not considered as a way to become a great success in the United States yet it is considered to be a prestigious career in Japan.

In The Real Horatio Alger, the phrase "Horatio Alger Hero" is discussed. It has a similar meaning to the Horatio Alger myth as it is described as "referring to the person who achieves success by his own effort in the face of great obstacles". However, the article focuses on how despite the fact that some of today's successful businessmen refer to Alger as an inspiration, his books are difficult to find and he is described as "a cross between ancient history and amusing turn-of-the-century nostalgia".

Another website that discusses "Horatio Alger" is FishbowlIDC, a site that publishes interesting news stories. This article covers the 2009 Horatio Alger Assosiation Awards and explains that "the association was founded in 1947 to honor the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education." It mentions that Hollywood star Denzel Washington was inducted into the association at this year's cermony.

After searching for websites featuring the phrase "Horatio Alger", there appears to be more negative implications of Alger as most of them refer to him in regards to a myth. In relation to Ragged Dick, this symbolises the demise in popularity of Alger and the concept of "rags to riches" in America. However, it is clear that the Horatio Alger success idea is still celebrated by some as exemplified in the awards ceremony in his name.