Dominant American Values
Advertising Analysis
America: United by Individuals?
Melissa A. Mudd
Media Literacy
FS 2009 - Pri...
Dominant values defined:
individuality vs. conformity
Individuality
We protect our individualism by laws and
by the belief in one's own worth.
Americans pride themselves on bei...
External Conformity
Americans believe in adherence to a
group, especially for success. We are
often economically, politica...
Advertising plays on the
dominant value of
individuality in order to sell
products. The individual is
often co-opted as th...
When conformity and
individuality combine…
Scion: United by Individuality
How is it a cultural artifact?
The Scion advertisements are appropriate cultural
artifacts for today because they seem to ...
What historical, social, cultural, or
political events could it reflect?
These ads seem to reflect the delicate balance be...
What does it tell us
about society’s beliefs?
I think that one of the most important things viewing
these ads reveal is th...
What other artifacts from
the time period support
and complement the
artifact?
flashmobs: individuals
uniting in a group (aka
“conformity by surprise”)
T-Mobile Station Dance
Flashmob orchestrated to promote the idea of connectivity
in order to boost T-Mobile’s sales. The v...
T-Mobile’s flashmob can be
seen as “conforming” to
the individuality of these
two examples.
Antwerp Terminal - Do Re Mi
Stockholm Michael Jackson Tribute
Large crowds, though
not seen dancing in
unison, are also used
in the marketing of
many products
The Verizon Network Phenomenon
Television Ad Real life TV?
Apple, continually a
trendsetter even today,
caught on to the need to
sell “individuality” and
“thinking different” quite
...
Apple Advertising
Apple 1984 Think Different Campaign
So, if you buy a product from
a company who’s mission is
to be an individual and think
differently, and so does your
neigh...
Sub cultural assimilation:
the outsider individual
phenomenon
The Exactitude Series
Exactitudes: a contraction
of exact and attitude.
By registering their subjects in an identical framework,
with similar po...
Individuality: brought to you
by mastercard
James Dean,
Marlon Brando:
rugged individuals
who wore leather
to look tough and
not conform…
Hollywood Hotties
wearing leather to
look like they could
channel Brando or
Dean – conforming
to the point of view
of thei...
Even the most original,
individual, anti-
establishment looks…
. . . are eventually co-opted and
transformed for conformist
production by marketers.
Many questions remain. Perhaps some of the following
would be interesting prompts for students.
How do we tell who truly i...
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis
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Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis

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A presentation I did for my graduate media literacy class considering the opposing dominant american values of the individual and conformity. If you use this please credit me. Thank you!

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Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis

  1. 1. Dominant American Values Advertising Analysis America: United by Individuals? Melissa A. Mudd Media Literacy FS 2009 - Price
  2. 2. Dominant values defined: individuality vs. conformity
  3. 3. Individuality We protect our individualism by laws and by the belief in one's own worth. Americans pride themselves on being self- sufficient, strong, and rugged individualists.
  4. 4. External Conformity Americans believe in adherence to a group, especially for success. We are often economically, politically, and socially dependent upon each other, and interdependence calls for some conformity.
  5. 5. Advertising plays on the dominant value of individuality in order to sell products. The individual is often co-opted as the trendsetter, initiating group conformity.
  6. 6. When conformity and individuality combine…
  7. 7. Scion: United by Individuality
  8. 8. How is it a cultural artifact? The Scion advertisements are appropriate cultural artifacts for today because they seem to blend these two values (individualism and conformity) so seamlessly. Consumers are accustomed to having say in their product, so much that the term “prosumer” (producer + consumer = prosumer) has been coined to explain this phenomenon. Drivers need to personalize their vehicles is a great example of this in action, thus elevating these advertisements as culturally resonant for today.
  9. 9. What historical, social, cultural, or political events could it reflect? These ads seem to reflect the delicate balance between leading the way to something new (the individual value) and the comfort of knowing that someone else is also doing this (the conformity of the “united” or en masse). I think this can be seen as a mirror to America in the way that we, as a culture, seem to be driven to innovate and step outside of the box, but only within bounds which will lead to widespread financial successes. On a social level this expression of personalization may also be compared to the need for subcultures or groups to personalize or differentiate themselves from the masses, yet look the same amongst the group. More on this later!
  10. 10. What does it tell us about society’s beliefs? I think that one of the most important things viewing these ads reveal is that conformity and individuality (beliefs that are seemingly opposite) are oftentimes intrinsically intertwined. As educators it is important for us to help students understand how the concepts of “individual” or “conformity” are marketed so that students are truly empowered in making their own decisions.
  11. 11. What other artifacts from the time period support and complement the artifact?
  12. 12. flashmobs: individuals uniting in a group (aka “conformity by surprise”)
  13. 13. T-Mobile Station Dance Flashmob orchestrated to promote the idea of connectivity in order to boost T-Mobile’s sales. The video went viral exponentially increasing T-Mobile’s visibility.
  14. 14. T-Mobile’s flashmob can be seen as “conforming” to the individuality of these two examples.
  15. 15. Antwerp Terminal - Do Re Mi
  16. 16. Stockholm Michael Jackson Tribute
  17. 17. Large crowds, though not seen dancing in unison, are also used in the marketing of many products
  18. 18. The Verizon Network Phenomenon Television Ad Real life TV?
  19. 19. Apple, continually a trendsetter even today, caught on to the need to sell “individuality” and “thinking different” quite early on. Consider these advertisements…
  20. 20. Apple Advertising Apple 1984 Think Different Campaign
  21. 21. So, if you buy a product from a company who’s mission is to be an individual and think differently, and so does your neighbor, and his friends, and their friends… are you still an individual? Let’s investigate this further…
  22. 22. Sub cultural assimilation: the outsider individual phenomenon
  23. 23. The Exactitude Series
  24. 24. Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people's attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element. view the book here
  25. 25. Individuality: brought to you by mastercard
  26. 26. James Dean, Marlon Brando: rugged individuals who wore leather to look tough and not conform…
  27. 27. Hollywood Hotties wearing leather to look like they could channel Brando or Dean – conforming to the point of view of their stylists and salivating fans.
  28. 28. Even the most original, individual, anti- establishment looks…
  29. 29. . . . are eventually co-opted and transformed for conformist production by marketers.
  30. 30. Many questions remain. Perhaps some of the following would be interesting prompts for students. How do we tell who truly is an individual? Who decides? How can individuality be protected from marketing? Are all individuals simply expressing an alternative form of conformity?

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