english and media centre| September 2010 |
You should have gone to
Can analysis be creative? I would argue ‘yes’because it is so open. For me the great thingabout Media Studies is that it is open andinterpretive. It is not a natural science; thereare no set answers and conclusions. So myargument is that any analysis we do in MediaStudies is creative because it is open. If, as Mediastudents, we try to think creatively when weconduct analysis, it can be a much more positiveexperience. So, let’s be creative!When asked to analyse a media text we knowthat usually it needs to be conducted through theframework of the
, and this holdstrue for all of the A Level specifications. Here,I’m going to look at a contemporary televisionadvertisement for Specsavers, also seen on theinternet on ITV Player.
Analysing the Specs effect
, or what is signified, is arelatively unattractive man on a tropical beachspraying himself with a deodorant. Meanwhile,literally hundreds of young women in skimpybikinis start racing towards him. All are young, allare beautiful and all are slim. The camera followsthem running towards him in slow-motion. Asthey reach him, he puts on a ridiculous pair of glasses; and the women then turn around indisgust and run away. The camera follows themfor a little while. The caption reads: ‘The Shouldhave gone to Specsavers Effect’.At a
level, there is a great deal toanalyse within this advertisement. Firstly, I findit personally baffling that, even if the man wasa cross between Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, JudeLaw and Orlando Bloom, these women would beselling themselves short by mindlessly pursuinghim. I’m aware, though, that there is a directintertextual reference to the
advertisementsgoing on here. So, from a
we see a scenario where manhas power and women are mindless puppets.However, from a
itcould be argued that this text takes a playful andirreverent attitude towards traditional genderdivisions.Who is the
for this ad? I think thatit is trying to appeal to both genders throughhumour. There is a joke to be had on bothsides: that anyone who looks like the man inthe advertisement could attract hundreds of beautiful women; and that for women, theglasses are the straw that broke the camel’s back,giving women the last word. I would also arguethat it is aimed at a relatively young audience –18-30-year-olds – as it is playful and irreverent.Of course, all of this renders the text
as it is open to different readingsby different demographic groups. As an olderwoman I perceive it differently to a youngerwoman, and differently again to a man.
the advertisement troublesme, as I think it belongs in the same camp asthose who argue that the topless Page 3 Girl in
is ‘just a bit of fun’! Fun for whom? Thead assumes that the audience will find it funny,and of course humour is subjective and notideologically free. It is a very
ad, asthe women are all conforming to a stereotypicalfemininity, and the man is conforming to thestereotype that affords men ‘character’ if they lack conventional good looks.The
of the advertisement is quitetraditional in that it conforms to
model. The pre-existing
is anordinary day on a beach.
comes whenthe man sprays himself with deodorant, whichpropels the narrative forward, as it unleashes thewomen who run towards him.
comeswith the man putting on the ridiculous glasses,which sends the women back to where theycame from, closing down the narrative.
arguesthat with a bit of vision anda pair of silly glasses, textualanalysis can indeed be trulycreative.