I’m taking a break from racking my brain. My friend gave me the coolest gift ever:
It’s one of those old school Chinese books with blank pages in it.
The title is: Nien Liu’s Super Secret Wulin Art of Diao. I think it’s the perfect simulcast project. She hit on: the fact that I have an unnatural obession with this Diao thing; I like to write; and how I like those kung fu serials in a very neat and simple piece. It’s just too cool to keep to myself.
On my way to school today, some guy saw me, stopped in his tracks and busted some kung fu moves before continuing on his way. Like all the other incidents, I’m sure it was rooted in good old fun (until I start doing it to other people myself).
But, this reminded my of the simulcasting assignment I did a couple weeks ago. I ended up including Chinese on there, though I didn’t really want to because I don’t walk around thinking and saying I’m Chinese. Rather, it usually takes someone reminding me – sometimes with a dramatic interpretation.
The point is, the simulcasting assignment was about learning to define the multiple personalities and roles that people create for themselves. However, we’re forgetting that society creates personalities and roles for people by way of stereotypes and I think it would be just as important to consider those “anti-personalities” into the simulcasting mix.
In an attempt to teach myself to become more visual, I’ve started a Flickr account.
Also, all my brain power (and some of you would say “this guy has a brain?”) is being jacked by homework assignments and the perpetual need to “break through the clutter” and serve up “non traditional ideas” and so on and so forth with the parade of advertising cliches. Hopefully, this will allow me to still use my brain (again, “what brain?”) after school, but in a different way.
I tend to have these thoughts at the most inappropriate times.
A week ago, our class was having a discussion about ethics in advertising. The professor singled out a couple of students to present their papers. One of the students presented an ad from Burberry that, on the outset, didn’t look unethical at all. Then she would add that it is unethical because there were no minorities in the ad.
It was a sweet presentation because the whole class got into; arguing from both sides. The professor, playing Devil’s advocate, said that the brand belongs to the company and they can damn well target whoever they want to target (and exclude) and that was a business/marketing decision.
However, by saying that Burberry can do whatever they want because the company owns that brand and there is nothing wrong with it, ignores the cultural capital that advertising possesses.
This is a capitalist society where nearly everything has been monetized. The things we buy and the brands we associate with come together to form a picture of whom and what we are. Marketers realize that a person can have many different identities and have begun to target them by which tribes they belong to. These tribes, I assume, would have a brand associated with it and also come together to form the cultural landscape.
When Burberry excludes people from their brand or from joining their tribe, they are in fact denying those people access to culture. What that does is keep them on the fringe and subjects them to exclusion. What brands don’t realize sometimes is that while they are the gatekeepers to their respective cultures and lifestyles, they do not own it. When they start denying access, they are trumping the process of integration and the so called “melting” of our pot. For any other institution to do that, it would be illegal.
It seems to me that we are either unaware or ignorant of advertising’s cultural capital. Or maybe we do know and are just opportunistic about when we mention it. There is no shortage of buzz when a campaign becomes part of culture (Livestrong), but no one seems to talk about it when it goes the other way. Well, everyone except my classmate.
As I’ve just told someone else, I’ve been so busy that I’m bleeding out my eyes right now. However, in the interest of SEO, here’s a little update.
I noticed that quite a few of our assignments here are centered around discovering who we really are- the soul searching type of stuff. This is a rough draft of an assignment where I have to identify all my different identities.
I just liked the little guy I drew in the middle. =)