Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skyy Ad Campaign Sells More Than Just Vodka

I think we can all agree with the statement that bad press is better than no press. The controversial advertising campaign behind Skyy Vodka is a perfect example of that. Skyy has a not-so-subtle, in your face approach with their print advertising campaign. They are constantly pushing the envelope, and I believe that they know exactly what they are doing due to the fact that they are constantly releasing similar ads with the same message each time.
The print ads behind this world famous vodka are in-your-face, provocative, and exude sexuality. Chances are you have seen one of Skyy Vodka’s print advertisements before, but if you have not, here are a few examples;

In doing some research, I found out that Skyy Spirits is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gruppo Campari. They are a major player in the global beverage industry, holding a portfolio of over 40 premium brands distributed in more than 190 countries worldwide.
Chad Farmer, Executive Creative Director of Skyy’s advertising agency, says of the advertising campaign; “We have always evolved the SKYY campaign but continue to maintain the core equity of sexy cocktail style. Through the years we have moved from a very stylized, glamorous version of reality to a more sleek and modern aesthetic. This change happened organically, yet methodically, to capitalize on current trends while being true to the SKYY brand essence.”
While Chad may think it is a “sexy cocktail style” approach, thousands of women, men, and feminist groups everywhere are in uproar regarding the campaign and how it symbolizes the dehumanization of women. There have been several campaigns to stop the ads from being printed, none of which have been successful.
Through personally evaluating and analyzing the Skyy vodka ad campaign, I found a pattern that proved to be true in many of the ads:
·         In each ad, the woman is portrayed as a mere sexual object, rather than a respectable human being
·         The woman’s body is often fragmented so that you only see a certain body part (most prominent example would be legs)
·         If there is a male in the ad, he plays a dominant role as a sexual aggressor over the female
·         The ads portray a materialistic, high-class, lavish lifestyle (for example—lush settings can always be seen in the background of these advertisements
·         The ads suggest that if you drink Skyy vodka you are desirable, and drinking this vodka will lead to sexual situations
·         Each ad uses bright, provocative colors and brand placement. The bright blue Skyy Vodka bottle is an important fixture in each ad.
At the end of the day, the message I got from this campaign was that sex sells. Skyy vodka has this infamous ad campaign that may be well-known for all of the wrong reasons but at the end of the day, their brand name is out there and they have accomplished world renowned recognition.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Media Consumption Inventory

In today’s society, we as consumers of media receive way more media then we might think we do. Media is everywhere and it is important to be aware of that. Too often we don’t stop and think about the content of the media we are consuming.
Through our introductory classes in media criticism this semester, our duty was to look at ourselves and the content of media that we as consumers receive. We learned that encoding media can be done in three ways;
1. Dominantly (Taking it in the way it was intended).
2. Negotiated (Taking it in, but there is room for critique).
3. Resistive (You truly understand but you apply your own understanding and see different meanings).
We learned in our first class that there are different stages of media literacy. In reviewing the stages, I would say I fall into the category of “Mid level of media literacy.” In this stage there is active processing of messages and constructing own interpretations as well as a narrow range of information and previous knowledge structure that prevents the understanding of messages from various perspectives. Also, there are limited choices of interpretation and understanding the messages due to a narrow range of previous information. I think that I am able to fall into the higher stages of media literacy once in awhile, but I would have to admit that I do not often question what I am reading or seeing on TV, especially when I am only reading or watching for entertainment purposes.
After our first class, we completed a media consumption inventory survey to help us see how much media we take in and where it comes from. The survey was completed starting Thursday, January 19 and ended on Saturday, January 21. I was working for the most part during these three days, so I’m sure that affected the survey in some ways. In reviewing my weekend, I realized that I use electronic media about three times more than I use print media. I used the internet and my cell phone (which has internet on it) for the most part. I used the two mainly for entertainment purposes such as checking social media websites like twitter and face book, and also to get information regarding the weather or using search engines like Google. I would say television came in third and print media was on the lower end of the scale. In total that weekend, I consumed seven hours of print media and twenty hours of electronic media: a whopping twenty-seven hours in all.

Perhaps the most difficult part of the course thus far was the weekend when we were to block out all social media and go without for a whole 24 hours. It was extremely difficult; I found myself subconsciously reaching for my phone several times a minute. Media was somewhat inescapable due to the fact that I was at work for the most part of that Sunday—I work at a bar and grille on Shrewsbury Street where they show sports on TV and play music throughout my shift. At the end of the day, I was happy to regain connection seeing as though I felt somewhat shut off from the world—as silly as that seems. This highlighted the fact that media is absolutely everywhere in this day and age, and I think it is safe to say that we as consumers often take it for granted.