Audience Behaviour Theory1) RICHARD DYER’S UTOPIAN SOLUTIONS THEORY This suggests states that people will respond to a message if it offers them compensation for the inadequacies in their own lives. This is his ‘Utopian Solutions’ theory:Inadequacy Poverty Confusion Exhaustion IsolationSolution Abundance Clarity Energy CommunityIf we tired to fit an anti-smoking campaign to this, there would be clear motives we couldoffer, based on theory, e.g. gain money, understand the facts, gain energy, join a quit club.2) ABRAHAM MASLOW … stated that we all have the same 8 basic needs. Therefore if your production targets these, you will have a greater chance of success. The top four needs are (in descending order):Biological- our need to survive, e.g. food, air, water, reproductionSafety- offering assurance of safety, to health, psychologically, and through qualityAffiliation- the need to belong to a groupEsteem- our need to feel good about ourselves.Can you present any of these to your audience in order to make them listen to yourmessage?3) BLUMLER & KATZ USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORYThey also agreed that audiences make active choices over what they view/read/listen toetc. They suggested that audiences are more likely to consume the media if it meets someof these needs: • INFORM and EDUCATE • IDENTIFY personally • ENTERTAINE • SOCIAL INTERACTION • ESCAPE
Different audience groups respond to different motives, e.g. teenagers are more likelyto respond to a message offering a loss (threat) or gain (offer) relating to image. Elderlypeople are more likely to respond to an offer of quality or simplicity. University studentsare likely to respond to a motive relating to freedom, individuality, enjoyment and so on.Similarly, different methods of delivering the message/motive should be used,depending upon the audience, e.g.: • Teenagers respond to shock tactics or humour more, as these take into account the extremity and focus of teens’ own lifestyles/experiences; • The elderly are more likely to respond to overt (clear and obvious) messages; • Women are more likely to respond to emotional material; • Men are more likely to respond to factual material; • Adults are used to being offered a choice and made to think; • Teens are more used to being told what is right and respond to instructions rather than choice; • Educated audiences respond to subliminal targeting, where the message needs to be thought about before it becomes clear.If your animation revolves around delivering a message based upon health, for example,you need to decide whether shock tactics are appropriate, or humour, or loss motives(negative- threatening, forceful), gain motives (positive, idealised, desirable), instruction(ordering the audience to follow your message), thought provoking (making the audiencethink about the information you give), emotional (playing on their emotions to make themact), factual (giving information to make them act) and so on. The choice of delivery stylewill depend upon the audience, but also the message.Audience Interaction with a text:Audiences are not passive- they are an active body, interacting with the texts andbringing their own experiences and knowledge to it. This means that they actively‘read’ the material they are presented with. Much of our knowledge in reading a textcomes from our experience of western societal images. For example, in western society,the colour black is associated with death, power and negativity. This is not so in othersocieties. We know this because the visual language of the media has taught us this froman early age. Similarly, nasty people are usually men (!) with dark hair and victims areusually petite females who are blond, etc. These are the conventions that we have grownup with and this is the language you need to use. Although every member of your audienceis an individual, you can deliver a dominant reading through your animation design. Adominant reading is the message that most of your audience will get from your techniques.To create a dominant reading, you need to use conventional techniques to encodeyour text. These will be read by your target audience, although most probablysubconsciously, and thus they will decode the meaning that you intend them to.
Additional Research:If you need to find out which techniques your target audience will respond to, you couldcarry out primary research using qualitative or quantitative research methods: • Quantitative- questionnaires based on specific design techniques, e.g. font, colour, camera angles etc and on the method of message delivery- e.g. do they respond to shock tactics, choice etc; • Qualitative- interviews in depth with a small sample of your target audience.Quantitative data gives you a wide-ranging response, but is only in surface detail.Qualitative data gives you a narrower field, but much more depth to your information.