Historical Advertising Study: “WOW! What A Radio!”

1st AD:http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adaccess_R0040/

2nd AD:http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adaccess_R0074/

3rd AD:http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adaccess_R0114/

In the first advertisement (Sentinel), the viewers’ eyes are instantly drawn to the big and bold “WOW!” text in the corner. It is written in all capitalized letters and is the biggest text in the advertisement (along with the brand name of the radio) to evoke a tone of excitement and surprise for the entire advertisement. The connotation here is “what you are about to read next will utterly shock you!” which plays off of the pathos of the reader by persuading them to feel enthusiastic.  The emphatic “WOW!” is then followed up with “What a radio!” to introduce the Sentinel Radio as the center of the enthusiasm.

Next, the readers’ eyes are instantly drawn down to the cartoon drawing of a family listening to the radio. Having a family in the ad, instead of an individual, gives it an inclusive feeling; it implies that the radio is not just for adults, but for the family. It also plays on the pathos of the readers by suggesting that Sentinel Radio is committed to bringing the family together and cares about the entire family. Using a cartoon, as opposed to a real life photo, lends a playful and animated quality to the ad which adds to the ad’s tone of enthusiasm. The radio is much larger than it would be in real life (almost larger than the family) which draws attention to the radio as the most important object. The family lends more attention to the radio by facing it (with their backs to the readers) which persuades the readers that whatever is being said through the radio is engaging. It also has sound lines moving away from it in a diagonal motion toward the family to indicate volume and clarity.

The text written beneath the visual is much smaller than the rest of the ad, but centered to still assert its importance. It is composed of dialogue from each family member explaining how great the radio is which also adds to the tone of inclusivity. Words and phrases such as “Reception-Perception … Sentinel will have what you want!” engages potential customers by using ethos; The ad proposes that the customer will not want more because Sentinel Radio is reliable and offers

every choice so that the customer is never lacking anything. Subliminally, the entire advertisement appeals to the ethos of readers in the 1940’s. During this time, emphasis was placed on building the perfect family and the appearance of a happy home. The ad caters to this desire by having a husband, wife, a son, and a daughter (known as the ideal family during this time) who appear well groomed and well-dressed. The overall message conveyed by the advertisement is that Sentinel radios are “wowing”, quality radios for quality families.

The second advertisement (Arvin) possesses something not present in the first – color. The reader is instantly drawn to the brand name “Arvin” written in very large, red letters across the top of the ad. No other text on the page is this large or written in color, which implicates that the brand name itself is the most important part of the ad. The combination of the brand name’s size, position, and presence of color lends the Arvin brand of radio an air of superiority and luxury, as color in media (even color television!) was just being introduced during this time. Beneath the brand name is the caption “Velvet Voice Radio”, suggesting to the reader that the radio’s audio quality is as luxurious and smooth as velvet.

Directly beneath the brand name and caption is a real life, red-tinted colored photo of a beautiful woman, tuning and listening to the radio. The woman is wearing a semi-formal dress with a low neckline, a broach, a tennis bracelet, neatly curled hair, darkened brows and red lips, lending the ad a tone of extravagance and seductiveness. A “dream cloud” with a man playing the violin inside floats above the radio as if to imply the radio has a dreamy, rich, and angelic sound adding more to the highbrow tone evoked by the advertisement.

Beneath the photo is the tagline “you can hear the difference!” written in a different font from the other text which highlights it as the main selling feature of the ad. Further down is the smaller text used to describe the radio and its many benefits and qualities, exclaiming that the radio has “perfect fidelity of tone … from the highest note of a famous violin to the vibrant bass of a tympani”. Key words such as “perfect fidelity” cater to the ethos of the reader by expressing an attitude of loyalty; not only are Arvin radios the best for their prices, but they will deliver glorious and unmatched sound always. The ad also claims that the radio’s “performance glistens like diamonds on black velvet” which perpetuates the tone of elegance and luxury.

In the bottom right corner of the advertisement is a colored picture of a different radio model against a red background. This ties together with all of the other red portions of the ad to accentuate the Arvin brand and the allure of a lavish lifestyle. The red color evokes a seductive and vibrant quality, suggesting that the radio adds life and color to its owners. In a more symbolic sense, the advertisement caters to the objectification and expectations of women during the 1950’s when much weight was placed on the appearance of women. The woman is placed in the ad next to the radio as if to say “the tone and look of Arvin radios are as consistently beautiful and elegant as the woman sitting next to it”.

In the final and third advertisement, the first thing the reader notices is the writing across the top that reads “Treat Yourself to the BEST with this Beautiful New Howard Radio”. “BEST” is written in all caps and utilizes pathos and ethos to engage the potential customer; the highly valued customer deserves the best (pathos), and Howard Radio is the company that can fulfill this request (ethos). Beneath it are the features of the radio written in tilted, compact rectangles with its main point in capital letters to emphasize the main selling points. The entire ad is small and uses this to communicate its compact nature to consumers as a likeable and positive quality. A picture of a Howard brand radio reserves a fourth of the space, making it the largest aspect of the advertisement to still assert the importance of the radio. At the bottom the words “America’s Oldest Manufacturer” is written in cursive to convey the prestige and reliability of the company using ethos. Overall, the ad takes the “no frills and thrills” approach, selling the product by implying that they don’t beat around the bush and neither do their radios.

Collectively, the ads speak a little about the time in which they were printed (1940s-1950s). In the first two ads (Sentinel and Arvin), the images are of Caucasian or white middle-upper to upper class Americans, letting the reader know that these products were not targeted toward minority races or working class individuals. The companies in these ads boasted of high quality radios that cater to every whim, whereas the last ad does not target any specific race or class and uses efficiency and size to sell. At large, the advertisements reveal how climbing the social and class ladder was critical during this time; each one vaunts to upgrade the consumer by giving them only the very best radio convincing them that quality people own quality radios. Jointly, the advertisements portray how regardless of the social strata that one may belong to, buying their quality radio is a way to declare that you are a quality person, and owning one could reinvent your social status.

Works Cited

Sentinel Radio Corporation. “Wow! What a Radio!” [R0040]. Advertisement. Capper’s Farmer. 1945. Duke U. Digital Collections. Ad*Access. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Arvin Radio. “Arvin: Velvet Voice Radio” [R0074]. Advertisement. Better Homes and Gardens. 1951. Duke U. Digital Collections. Ad*Access. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Howard Radio Company. “Treat Yourself to the Best with this Beautiful New Howard Radio” [R0114]. Redbook. 1947. Duke U. Digital Collections. Ad*Access. Web. 24 Nov. 2014

Soylential: A movie about super humans

In light of Lizzie Widdicombe’s article “The End of Food” about the nutritious and time efficient meal-drink Soylent, I began to ponder the many directions mass consumption of Soylent could go in and in what ways it could transform or impact humanity, how we perceive food, and we experience different things. The combination of my thoughts on Soylent and my love for sci-fi, conceived “Soylential”, a (potential) movie about a breed of near perfect superhumans.

The setting is in a postmodern world in the very mid 22nd century, where humans have suffered a slew of serious consequences such as global warming, overharvesting, deforestation, industrialization that runs into natural habitats, pollution, etc. At the zenith of what was viewed as a near apocalyptic event from the lack of sustainability and depletion of resources on Earth, a panel of cutting edge scientists and engineers are selected to find a quick solution to ensure the continuity of humanity. Rhinehart emerges with a solution – Soylent. By figuring out the basic chemicals, combinations, and building blocks of food – minerals, vitamins, macro nutrients, and micro nutrients – he is able to construct a drink capable of sustaining the human population using minimal resources. Frenzied and pressed for time, the drink is administered to the masses and proves to be wildly effective.

Fast forward to the year 2158, and an entirely different breed of human beings exist. Due to the highly nutritious nature of the drink, humans have become a hyper version of themselves. Whereas the commonly processed foods sold during the early 21st century lacked in nutrtional value, the consumption of Soylential has filled in these holes. Humans are better looking than ever before with clearer skin, stronger muscles, less illnesses, longer hair, clearer vision, and are more vibrantly colored. They can run faster and longer and think quicker than ever before. Their brains function at a higher capacity, and in just about every way their abilities have been heightened. These individuals are known as Soylentials.

However, a flaw exists within the Soylentials. Although they are pratically bionic beings, they lack sensation, especially taste. Drinking Soylent has dulled their sense of taste and overtime their desire for experience and ability to find beauty in flaw and error and emote. Soylent has created a brand of logistical humans who, as time goes, are becoming more and more void of feeling and sensation despite their outward perfection.

As America has replenished itself quicker than the other countries and is abundant in resources, its government is refusing to return back to eating real food, opting instead for the breed of superhumans to become a strong (and beautiful) militia to place it as the world power once and for all and control the other countries.

This gives rise to the Anti-Soylentials, a  large and growing coalition of normal humans who have been living sustainably on the countries resources secretly. They have discovered a chemical, Sensodine, only found in real food overlooked by Rhinehart that is responsible for creating taste and thus feelings of sensation within human beings. by disguising themselves among the Soylentials, they conspire to infiltrate the government and spike the main supply of Soylent with Sensodine, injecting emotion within the Soylentials to stir revolution. However this will be difficult, as government officials have been consuming a hyper nutritional version of Soylent that makes them much, much more powerful than the Soylentials. Who will win? Power? Or Passion?

Why Crowd Pilot is a REALLY BAD App

In light of today’s social media, CrowdPilot seems to take social interaction a bit farther than other social media apps such Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Facebook and the like provide a space for mini blogging of sorts (all of your life’s sentiments in however many characters or less). However, even within this range of space, one is allowed a certain amount of liberty and space to do whatever it is they please to – post pictures, comment, like, retweet, share. While much information is shared on Facebook, there is still a level of privacy maintained. A person will only know what someone chooses to post. There is also creative liberty; people put much thought into what they post, often choosing social as an artistic and expressive outlet. In whatever way people use social media, it requires level of thought and planning on their end to project the image of themselves they want the world to see. CrowdPilot ruins this completely. It is an app that allows another person to do all of another person’s thinking for them, down to what they should say in a conversation. Crowdpilot is the awkward third wheel peeping in on his friend’s date and offering advice because he can’t find his own. This app will create a generation of people incapable of dealing with the interactions and emotions everyone experiences in life because they will rely on the help of others to interact for them. I already believe social media is not great, but CrowdPilot (not really understanding how the name relates to app) will destroy social interaction altogether by blotting out genuine interaction with the opinions or “advice” of others.

Feeling “Tingly”

Having the shivers/tingles/chills is a sensation often encountered by people everywhere that we never pay any mind to, yet it has many meanings and superstitions attached to it. When someone says they feel tingly, he/she is describing an instance where he/she experienced a prickly, tremulous, and “cold rush” sensation all over or in one part of the body. In many ways the tingles symbolizes a feeling of forewarning or exists as a telling sign about any situation in which an individual experiences them; it can almost be thought of as the physical counterpart of a premonition and might even accompany a “gut feeling”.

I’ve postulated that there are mainly three ways in which the tingles translate into our society: the “warning tingles”, the “flirty” tingles, and the “lack of circulation” tingles. The warning tingles are the equivalent of your body saying “Hey! Something isn’t right, but I’m not really sure what it is….” For example, if someone walks by and stares at another person for an unusually long amount of time, the person being stared at may shiver and turn away and later tell his/her friends ” such and such gives me the creeps!” This feeling and judgment is deeply rooted in superstition; the person who stared at is assuming that the character of the individual staring is bad or dangerous or threatening based off of the “tingles” he/she experienced in his/her body.

In the very opposite direction, the tingles may be a sensation induced or encouraged by one person being in the presence of someone they like, love, or are attracted to to some degree. It is meant, in this circumstance, to be an “obvious” sign to the person experiencing them about how they feel about the person they experience them around. The tingles can also be a resulting sensation from a very light, almost “not there” touch, something I believe that symbolizes the sensation itself because it stems from believing something is there that may or may not actually be there.

Lastly, in it’s more literal sense, tingling is a sensation that can also come from cutting off the circulation to a body part, thus reducing the blood flow to that area, This makes the area go numb, so when blood circulation is no longer stopped from coming to the area, it creates a tingling feeling from the rush of blood. This is a weird sometimes painful feeling, and we even call a superstitious name; instead of saying “there’s poor circulation in my hand” we instead say “my hand went to sleep”, equating the tingling sensation with the idea of limbs waking up.

The “tingles” is an important sensation in our society because it speaks on behalf of basic human intuition. It is one of the ways in which we combine physical signs and guesswork to premonish what is occurring or might occur.

DisTRESSful Researching

My hair has always been massively thick and curly, and, growing up, I was never really sure how to do it or really what to do with it. My mother would keep it in braids or puffs or pigtails or beads – anything to tame my mane, really. However, as a symptom of her lupus, she developed rheumatism which made dealing with my grade and density of hair really difficult; now it was up to me to do my own hair.

I hated my hair. Looking around everyone had smooth, straight, manageable hair they could scoop into high ponytails with ease that never frizzed or puffed. My hair, on the other hand, took at least one hour to do every night, and that was on a good day. Then, one day (I’m not really sure when or from whom), I learned about the flat iron and its magical straightening powers. Although it was a long and tedious process that took much practice to perfect, within three hours (yep, that’s right – THREE) my hair was transformed into a waterfall of smooth and voluminous locks, straightened to perfection. To me, the flat iron was a God send; no more kinks and unruly curls and snapping brushes and combs trying to pull them through the mass of hair on my head. The flat iron was the best thing that ever happened to my hair, right?

WRONG. What I thought was helping my hair really was damaging it. About every 3 days, I would faithfully straighten the curls out of my hair, and as time went on I started noticing my hair getting thinner and thinner. I had bangs at the time (since I could wear my hair straight), and that was the area I flat ironed the most. I would pull on the hair in my bangs and it would snap easily. I compared it to the hair elsewhere on my head and it was much thinner. I knew this method could be trusted because the strands of my hair have always been thick allover, so seeing otherwise let me know what was happening. However, this still wasn’t enough to dissuade me. The damage I had caused truly didn’t hit me until one day, when I stepped out of the shower, I noticed my hair didn’t curl anymore but fell completely straight. All that remained was thin and brittle hair, and, surprisingly, my lack of curls actually saddened me. As much pain (and headaches) that my hair caused me, I realized that it was a part of who I was and being ashamed of it compromised the health of my hair and, on a larger scale, a part of my identity. A few months later from that moment, in February of 2013, I decided to cut it off and let it grow just the way it is – curly! I now rock the fro proudly and let my hair do what it does best. A change in hairstyle wasn’t needed, just a change in perspective.

“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”

I do recognize the character of Sherlock Holmes as a well-known figure in literature and A. Conan Doyle as a renowned author who creates literature that has been enjoyed by individuals of different ages from different times and spaces. However, I don’t believe that “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” meets my expectations as far as literature, short stories, and novels are concerned. The types of books and literature that I intake normally suggest something broader and more transcendent about the world and the nature of mankind, possessing themes that parallel the world we live in today. There is also much variance in the plot – they all keep me guessing until the end and some even require me to ponder the meaning of the content – not because it is difficult or dense, but because it is intricate with many aspects implicitly stated.

With Sherlock Holmes stories, I feel like once I have read one story, I have read them all. It has a certain monotony to the plots and characters. Although the details vary from story to story, the formula remains the same; Holmes identifies a problem, goes through the motions (in the pompous and matter-of-factly way that he does), and always ends up figuring out the answer to the problem in a way that others have overlooked due to his scrupulous attention to every little detail. Holmes character is extremely predictable and never changing. In the literature that I read in school, I am accustomed to the protagonist(s) undergoing an evolution of some sort. He/she/they is/are constantly being transformed by their experiences and encounters (i.e. Jack in The Lord of the Flies) and learn something by the end of the story, or (even better) teaches me something and gives me a different perspective and way of viewing something.

I believe I would be a fan of Doyle’s story “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” and Holmes character if I had read this when I was younger or had not been exposed to literature both in and outside of school that dealt with more complicated and morally trying matters. Sherlock Holmes stories are excellent for family reading time (even though the sophistication and formal nature of the words used by Doyle makes it read like a novel for older people or adults. It make for a great story to read for entertainment or for individuals who are into detective stories and things of the like. However, in school, the stories I read are meant to preface and relate to the subject matter that I am about to learn about in class.

“The Sandman” and Her: An Analytic Comparison

Although they are completely different pieces of work with varying plots, there are many parallels that can be drawn between E. T. A. Hoffmann’s short story, The Sandman, and Spike Jonze’s film, Her. In its simplest form, the plots include the protagonist of each piece falling in love with a female gendered robot and the consequences that ensue because of this love. While this is the most obvious link between the film and the short story, it is important to observe the more subliminal congruencies hidden in the plot and dialogue of each piece to gain revelation about what the pieces are truly saying. There is a main theme that is very deeply spun into the plot that cannot be overlooked: the fraudulent nature of technology disguised as love.

Within the first ten minutes of the movie Her, the viewer is bombarded with images and dialogue that effectively communicates the singularity and loneliness that exists within the life of Theodore, the protagonist. He rides the train alone, the background swirls with gray fog and people passing in one direction while Theodore walks in the other. However, Theo has his phone, which his eyes stay glued to the moment he leaves his job. Fast forward a little bit and we observe that less time Theo spends with his friends, the more time he spends with his Female OS1, a computer program with human like capabilities. Watching the movie, there is an essence of the blooming and cultivating of a relationship – the only difference is it is between man and machine. However, there is a more insidious subtext lying beneath the obvious. What is meant to be understood as love is truly speaking about how people of society are  actually prey to technology. In The Sandman, Olimpia appears to Nathaneal as the perfect woman, void of flaws, but Nathaneal does not know that she isn’t a real woman until later on in the story. Olimpia, symbolic of ever-progressing technology, is disguised as love, sent by evil Coppelius to undo him. It is an allusion to how, despite our love and appreciation for technology, technology has only consumed society, controlling people by appealing to their vulnerabilities. At one point in The Sandman, the author discloses how Nathaneal “thought only of Olimpia, and lamented out loud in a tearful voice: ‘Oh, light of my life’…” (Hoffmann  107). Olimpia has a world of meaning to Nathaneal, pulling him away from an actual woman in the flesh who loves him, Clara. This happening embodies how completely enthralled some have become in technology, belying its deception and predatory capabilities.

An implication can be made here: the love each man holds for technology and how completely that love dominates their lives is foreshadow for how technology is consuming and controlling those involved with it. The author and director are inviting us to read in between the lines of what appears to radical and progressive; they are holding a mirror to the society we live in to show us the Trojan horse technology is, appearing as a gift while being the enemy.

Works Cited:

Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. Perf. Joaqin Phoenix, Amy McAdams, Scarlett Johansson. Annapurna Pictures, 2013. Film.

Hoffman, E.T.A. “The Sandman.” The Golden Pot and Other Tales. Trans. Ritchie Robertson.

Revised Blog Post: The Accidental Wedding Crasher

I will NEVER forget one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life!!! One day I had to attend a wedding because I was hired for a babysitting gig – easy money, right? My job was to escort the few children who attended the wedding back to a hotel room where I would watch them. I felt totally awkward not knowing anyone there; the only person who knew me there was the mother of the bride because she hired me. I didn’t want to have to explain to complete strangers over and over again that I was the babysitter. So I decided that it’d be easier to just blend in with everyone and pretend that I was a family member, like a distant cousin or something, who no one has ever seen before. I didn’t even recognize who I’d become after some time around them! This group of wedding goers was from Philadelphia and were very social and chatty, so I couldn’t stand against the wall and be invisible. I listened to enough of their conversation and chit-chat to be able to feign my way through questions like “what part of Philly are you from?” and “are you on the bride or groom’s side?” I even managed to pick up on the accent! It was crazy how well I was able to get away with doing these things which made me feel like a pro (watch out J Law!). I spent the entire time there taking “selfies” with cousins and family friends, exchanging numbers since we were “family” now, talking to grandpa, dancing with Aunt Val. I even got to sit in on some juicy gossip (Aunt Val isn’t very good at holding in secrets, especially when she’s tipsy)!! It was really weird because after a little time I began to feel like I knew these people. Yet, I felt so strange and wrong because I was not being sincere and honest to everyone there. I began to question my actions and myself. Did I really get away with posing as a family member at a wedding? Did this actually work?! I started to turn the thought of what I was actually doing over in my head. That’s when I realized UH OH. BIG MISTAKE. My trying to blend in was in vain because I knew eventually everyone would have to know that I was the babysitter when it came time to take the children to the hotel. However, I still held firm to the end. I mean it was worth a shot, and I could make this work, right? Right? WRONG. It didn’t work at all. The lady who hired me told everyone I was the babysitter when the time came to take the children to the hotel room. I could feel my face burning with heated shame as everyone stared on, trying to process what happened. Needless to say, it was painfully awkward and embarrassing, and there was no saving face from that one. I’m sure they won’t be calling me to babysit again.

Sincerely,

Embarrassed in Georgia