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One of the main factors contributing to the destruction of our environments
is the extreme amount of consumption.
I believe that a big factor behind this is the abundance of commercial
advertising, and the corresponding lack of education about how it works.
The most effective commercials attempt to create a connection between a
pleasing emotion and a product. Many of the elements of art, such as
lighting, color, composition, juxtaposition of images, are used to
However, the main element is the quickness with which the images and sounds
are presented. There is little time for critical analysis before the next
stream of images and sounds presents a different message.
Therefor, the simplest way to discover the different messages and how they
are reinforced by the elements of the medium, is to tape a few of what you
think are the most interesting commercials. Then play parts of them, stop,
rewind and watch them again. Look at how each element, such as lighting, is
used from beginning to end. What connections are being made? What emotions
are being played upon to make the product desirable?
Then take the tape in and show the commercials to your students. Ask what
they think. Then break the commercials down with them and see what they
think is going on. I have a feeling they will catch on pretty quick.
I did this in a film class at the University of Arizona, and found it quite
interesting. To this day I can't help but look at commercials differently.
The object is to give the students a different perspective on the stream of
images that flash before there eyes on a regular basis. Maybe they will
think more about why they are considering making a purchase. And maybe they
will realize that they don't really need all the things want.
arted university of arizona