J2150U Blog #6- Strategic Communication

I found today’s lecture to be especially interesting because it was focused on strategic communication. I got my e-mail of acceptance yesterday and was thrilled we were going to be discussing it in lecture! Mark Swanson spoke a lot about the ethics of advertising. The four main advertising methods that were discussed were:

  • Appeal to hearts and minds
  • Use testimonials
  • Endorse with celebrity
  • Create characters

We were provided with examples from each of these. One of the advertisements that really stuck out to me was the one of Burger King which had a woman with red lipstick with her mouth open about to eat a burger and it said, “It’ll blow your mind.” I found that to be pushing the envelope and many students had negative reactions (everyone was tweeting about it it #J2150i).

Mr. Minshew tweeted asking the class what they thought strategic communication was, advertising, propaganda, manipulative, or simply effective. Personally, I believe that it is advertising and has potential to be effective. Overall, any form of journalism has the ability to be manipulative or use propaganda. Some people make the argument that strategic communication (PR and marketing) is more likely to use false advertisements and mislead their audiences with ads but I don’t agree. Magazine journalists as well as photojournalists try and capture their audience’s attention. Newscasters often edit clips that are aired on TV to hold the audience’s attention.

Photos and advertisements are extremely powerful. There were several examples of the misuse of photoshop in class today. I thought the most interesting was the one that involved Lance Armstrong. He posed for a photo wearing a solid plain shirt, but then, “38. B.F.D” (stands for 38 years old. big fucking deal) was photoshoped on his shirt. He tweeted it was bullshit and was very angry about it. I can’t even contemplate how a journalist or anyone would feel comfortable running something like that without the celebrity’s approval. That is only asking for trouble! Yes that ad was interesting and captured my attention, but it was unethical and morally wrong and caused Lance Armstrong to tweet (he has thousands of followers) something negative about the company.

Another photo that was shown in class today won a Pulitzer Prize. This photo showed an African child about to be eaten by a vulture. The photographer ended up committing suicide because he couldn’t even live with himself because of how this situation impacted him so much.

I am now beginning to pay even closer attention to advertisements and something I really value is meeting customer satisfaction. Someday when I (hopefully) have a job in PR, I know that is key and it is important to know your audience and to keep one’s morals and ethics in tact at all times.

“Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable”- Leo Burnett

I couldn’t have said it better myself!


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