Corporate and Viral Video Report


Throughout this report I will look at promotional and viral videos. It shall be both  market and product research and an analysis, providing what should be a detailed overview. To achieve this I will examine the production process and its constraints, the need and use of promotional videos, and examples of existing promotional videos, on both a professional and  amateur level. Both the clients needs and the restraints of the creators must always be considered and addressed. Promotional videos are made and watched by a huge variety of people, corporations and institutions. They come in many different forms, are created for different purposes and are made and distributed in a wide variety of ways. They have proven hugely successful in many different industries. Thier success has expanded and surged tremendously since the internet was introduced.  


(Task 1)

As I have said, there are different forms of promotional and…

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advertising tasks

Task 1


This is a poster for the second season of popular political drama series ‘House of Cards’. The entire first series premiered on February 1st, 2013 on the successful film streaming-service Netflix. Taking a denotative look at the poster we can see a man and a woman, sat back to back on either side of a blood stained chair. There are a few lines of text, including the title at the top. Next to it a mirrored USA flag with the stars missing.


The image is very low lit, and so as a whole looks very dark. This creates a very ominous or ‘moody’ overall feel. The people and the chair in the middle of the poster are also in black and white, making the atmosphere appear serious. The red blood and the flag are the only things in colour, meaning they stand out a lot. The seriousness exemplified by the serious look on the mans face. His face is also totally central in the poster, meaning your eyes and attention naturally gravitate towards it.


I think from this overall feel of seriousness and tension, we can estimate the target audience this poster and show have. I feel it targets an age range of about 18-50, and especially those with any political interest. It is also very clear I think that it is a drama, so those who like slower moving, but  more dramatic and intense viewing. Clearly, even despite the blood, we can tell this isn’t an ‘action packed’ or explosive or energetic series, but one that’s meant to have characters with depth and well thought out plots. So these genre conventions, combined with the fact that there is a lot of technical politics, sociology and psychology involves, I think at the least it is aimed at 18 year olds, and is suitable for anyone above that right up to maybe 50s or 60s, it could be called ‘sophisticated’ and will certainly be called clever. I think if you think there’s a stereotype that males are more into political themed creations, then it will be more for males, but I don’t think this is actually the case. The tall, short haired (to me short hair on a woman can sometimes indicate a certain ambitiousness and  not wanting to loom ‘made up’ or trying to be simply considered pretty) successful looking woman may give an extra appeal to a female audience.     


The chair that the man (who is actually the main character, Francis Underwood, a power hungry politician and possible anti-hero) is sitting in a very wide and chunky armchair. This set-up makes him look big, important and powerful. He is in a smart,  posh looking suit, with a chunky watch on his wrist, these things also connotate success and importance.


The woman (who is actually his wife) is dressed in an elegant dress, possibly a ball gown. She looks attractive and slender. The dress only covers one shoulder, leaving the other and a lot of her back exposed, and to me this could imply she may be wanting to look some what voluptuous. I also think it is interesting she is sat facing away from him. She is also actually higher up, which kind of provides a visual juxtaposition, as when you first see Francis in the middle on his great armchair, you think he looks like the dominant powerful one. THough when I looked up to her, I thought maybe she (perhaps more subtly) is actually the one in the position of power. She is facing away from the camera, so maybe this could also insinuate she is less direct with her controlling behaviour, and, with the possible help of her sex appeal, actually likes to manipulate passively rather than dominate openly. I think this is a very clever set up, and at the very least it creates an air of mystery and intensity.


So the representation of both these people are high-flying, high achieving, glamorous, sophisticated people. And we can get all of this from just the dimly lit picture of them both. It is certainly glamorized, as it is generally the sort of lifestyle many people wish to have, especially the sort of audience this poster and the show will appeal to.


I think the blood on the chair connotates that Frank’s ‘hands are dirty’. He is possibly willing to commit malicious acts to get his way. It could allude to actual blood getting split in the storyline, it’s something we won’t know as a viewer of this poster, until we watch the show. This is therefore effective because such a simple bloodstain draws us in, makes us want to know the depths of the darkness and sin these characters produce. It also combines effectively with the villainous set up of Francis in the chair, and the black and white. I am entirely sure what is supposed to be symbolised by the mirrored, starless USA flag, but it works well visually and once again creates an enigma.


The tagline to the left of the two characters reads ‘There are two kinds of pain.’ This immediately gets us speculating as to what is meant by this, what are the two kinds of pain? Again this fuses very well and amplifies the mysteriousness of the blood on the armchair. The text at the bottom of the screen lets us know when the show will be airing, and reminds us it is ‘only available on Netflix’. This is a good marketing ploy for a streaming service, to have exclusive and original shows. With all the intrigue bolstered into this poster, it is very likely people are going to want to at least try out watching the show, which to do you have to sign up for Netflix’s monthly subscription. I also expect what they hope happens is people sign up with only the intention of watching this show and then canceling, but when they are drawn in by all the other great content on the site, they just continue subscribing forever.      


Task 2

Narrative structure, is the way that a media product is ordered, the way the ‘story’ or sequence unfolds. Different mediums and genres will often use different narrative structures. Narrative structures can almost always be categorized into at least one of these groups:


open: Open narrative structures are ones that leave the story unresolved. Often it will indicate or mewan there is more content coming (the sequel, next episode etc.). The cliched open-ended narrative structure is called a ‘cliff-hanger’, meaning it leaves the characters suspended (like on the edge of a cliff) and we don’t know if they’re going to survive. It makes us want to come back to see it resolved.


closed: A closed narrative structure does just the opposite of open, it concludes the story. Closed will mean there are no longer any ‘loose ends’, everything has been resolved. News stories should always be aiming to be closed, unless more events take place that mean the story must be returned to. But generally they will want to wrap up all the details, and summarise all that has happened to conclude.  


multistrand: multistrand narratives are ones with multiple storylines, possibly with no clear ‘main’ storyline. They overlap, cross over and interfere with one another. They are often seen in long running soap operas, as there is no clear end in sight so there constantly need to be new storylines starting up in order for it to be seamlessly and constantly kept running. Hollyoaks is an example of one that uses them.    


alternative: Alternative narratives don’t fit in any of the other categories, as they don’t have a conventional structure. They may jump about in time or be ambiguous as to the order of the story. We may see parallel storylines but not know when abouts they fit with one another till the very end. A example of a film with an alternative storyline is thriller ‘Memento’, whose storyline is generally moves in reverse-chronology though also jumps about several times. It is a very unique structure and certainly would be classed as ‘alternative’.    


investigative: Investigative narrative structures are used for products that don’t follow a chronology. They are for things you ‘dip’ in and out of. A perfect example of this is the dictionary, you simply look up the word you need, when you need it. They aren’t intended to be read from start to finnish. Also things like encyclopedias, recipe books, informational DVDs etc.


I have chosen these two movie posters to compare, action epic ‘300’ and romantic drama ‘P.S. I love You’. Even at the initial glance I think we can tell the ‘personality’ of both of these posters. For 300 We can get an immediate sense of energy and action. We can easily tell this film is going to be a tour-de-force. The poster is almost completely red and golden brown, and from that I feel like this is going to be a gritty, bloody film, but also maybe one with themes of glory and honour. ‘P.S…’ on the other hand has a much softer, calmer personality. It is very white, which gives us quite a pure sense from the poster. The lighting on the two characters is also very luxurious, soft and clear. So these posters have a big difference in colour and initial personality,  one lusha and one gritty.   


If we take a closer look at the characters in these posters, in 300, denotatively he is a warrior. He is clearly also a warrior from a historical period, which invites us to see the genre is specifically a historical-action film. Someone with a particular historical knowledge may be able to identify the period, but for the most of us he is just a historical warrior. We are slightly looking to (low shot) this character, who is muscular and roaring. All this tells us he is brave, very possibly the main character and maybe a leader of the army. His arms are out in the kind of ‘bring it on’ fashion’, again telling us he is a fearless type. We can see some of an army behind him, though it is not clear if they are friend or foe. They appear much smaller than him, again reinforcing his superiority. The entire poster is splattered with blood, the title seemingly written in blood. So this is clearly a more gory, hands on sort of action flick.

P.S. on the other hand has a close up of the two characters lying on their sides. This combined with the title is all we need to be able to assume this is some sort of love story. The woman has her back to the man, who is looking down at her. This could suggest that in the film he may be the one chasing her, or trying to win her back etc. She has a ‘cheeky’ smile (she actually looks like she might be about to laugh or giggle), does actually suggest to us that this will probably be a more light hearted romance, possibly even a rom-com.


The tagline for 300 is written in beg dark red letters above the character, and reads, ‘Tonight we dine in hell!’. This is a brutish, cool and powerful statement. It would excite the sort of person who is into these action films. Despite the probable 18 age rating (if not certainly 15) I believe this will appeal to a lot of youngsters, who will want to get their hands on a copy of the DVD (though that may not be possible or allowed by their parents). Though that’s not to say this is the primary target audience, basically any age, so long as they like action, strategy and gore. I believe this to also be a very male aimed poster, the man being exceedingly masculine, and action/ war are associated with males too.


The tagline for P.S. is very small, and placed under the bigger red title. I think red (unlike for 300 where it meant blood and danger) in this case is used to suggest love and the heart. The small black tagline looks petite and maybe even cute, the exact opposite of 300s. It reads ‘sometimes there’s only one thing left to say’. I believe this simply alludes to the idea that love is both the most important thing in life and the main theme of the film. It takes an ;it all comes down to love attitude’, which I think appeals mostly to teenage girls. Possibly also girls in their twenty’s. As we saw it is the man who appears to be wanting the girls attention, and I think this theme plays on the idea that girls often want a man to love them/ give them attention/ ‘chase’ them. Though this is a very stereotypical approach, but I still believe that is the primary target audience, and the way this film is being marketed in this poster.  


Task 3

ASA: Advertising Standards Authority – The ASA is the organisation that ensures advertising in the UK complies with its specifically laid out advertising standard codes. It is self regulating, and ‘non-statutory’, meaning it cannot enforce legislation, though it’s codes comply almost interchangeably with statute law anyway. It is also not funded by the government but by a levy (tax) on the advertising industry. It’s main roles include investigating complaints about ads, sales promotions or direct marketing. Also (by it’s own words) make sure “no marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise”.     


Earl Grey is predominantly associated with an older age of consumers. To try and address a younger audience they would need to do some re-branding. The way to do this is through an advertising campaign of some sort. Especially in these postmodern times, there are an incredible number of diverse ways and mediums to take advantage of, so unique and clever campaigns can be thought up.


The main idea I have for the rebranding campaign, is to use product placement, in a music video. The use of product placement has become more and more popular within films and television. So to use it in a music video is a unique selling point, as it is almost a completely unexplored marketing tool. To access the vibe, and younger audience I am trying to target, I thought of using hugely famous and successful rapper and hip-hop artist Eminem. He and the genre/ style he represents have connotations of being ‘cool’, tough, and stylish. It would also be quite surprising and funny to see Eminem associated with Earl Grey, so it would certainly get peoples attention and draw them in.


In the music video, at the start before his song starts, we would see him and his friends hanging out, and doing the typical sort of thing we see Eminem doing in music videos. But then one of the gang would make them all a cup of Twinings Earl Grey, and we they would all compliment him on how much they enjoy it. Eminem is extremely popular among young people, especially the age group I’m targetting (16-24s). He is also see as very ‘G’ (cool), and so he would put a chic, trendy, gangster new vibe to the product. This vibe is somewhat a stereotype of rappers and hip-hop artists. Using this sought after image, we can encourage younger people that Earl Grey too is ‘cool’ to drink. Music videos are a huge, vastly popular medium, something I think marketing teams could take more advantage of.   


To further this campaign, . I thought we could have a picture of Eminem, with all his ‘bling’ and tattoos and ‘dapper’ clothes, on each box of Twinings Earl Grey. We could also have a competition, explained on the back of the box. To win a signed copy of Eminem’s latest album, as well as Eminem merchandise, you have to tweet why you love Earl Grey so much with the hashtag #EmLovesEG (meaning Eminem loves Earl Grey). This works perfectly for the campaign, as twitter (which is a social network) is now a whole new medium we’re operating on. It is also a medium that our target audience is famous for using profusely. It also gives the campaign a chance to go viral, as twitter has a ‘trending’ hashtags section, meaning if enough people tweet with that hashtag, it will come up. This would mean other people could click the hashtag and find out about the competition and the fact that Eminem is sponsoring Earl Grey tea.   


A possible third strand of the campaign, could be that every new Eminem album, has tucked inside a voucher to get one third off a box of Twining Earl Grey, at every major supermarket. This gives people an extra incentive to go and buy the product. It also informs people where exactly they can buy Twinings Earl Grey from (even though it is such a well-known brand). With this three part campaign, I think at the very least we would create some brand awareness in new areas, and get some attention and publicity for both the product and brand. I have specifically targeted things that are likely to be used by or appeal to the specific target audience, and spearheading it all is the catchy hashtag, #EmLovesEG.         



Task 1

In a general sense, censorship means banning or preventing certain material from being seen by certain others. In media terms, the most commonplace example s something being banned from being broadcast (on either TV or radio). However it could also include the prevention of a media product from going on sale, or not allowing newspapers or the news to print or reveal certain things. Censorship exists for a few different reasons, and people don’t always agree with them.


One reason for censorship is to prevent children and unwilling people from seeing inappropriate, harmful or shocking content. This includes things like sex, violence, swearing, and drug taking. The reasons for this are understandable, and it is why there are age ratings of films. However, you can’t simply use an age rating when it comes to television, as someone flipping through the channels may very well see something they did not want to. So as a sort of compromise there is what’s called the watershed, which is an official time that afterwards people can broadcast things with this sort of content.


Arguments against this sort of censorship tend to be things such as it ‘prevents artistic freedom’. The artists (script writers, filmmakers etc.) should be able to express themselves in any way they want, with any kind of content they want. However with the watershed system in place people are almost always able to create and broadcast their content anyway. Some things do get banned altogether, even from DVD release. This is fairly rare and it usually means the content is in some way ‘extreme’, such as a graphic depiction of a child being raped. On the whole people tend to agree it is acceptable that these things be banned. Another argument, usually referring to things on the news is that shocking videos that the news channels want to show are the truth, and nobody, not even children, should be kept from the truth. To not show this things would, in a sense, be ‘lying’. Unfortunately for people that think this, more people tend to think that children should be sheltered. They may be scarred emotionally if not, and/ or very disturbed and unhappy.     


Other than censoring material, the other main type of censorship is that of information. This means keeping info or files classified and secret from the general public. It is often the government that does this (e.g. the secret services and military understandably must keep some things classified), but organisations, institutions, companies and people can do, or attempt to do, this also. The reasons for this are sometimes to do with it not being ‘safe’ for the general public to have access to certain information. Sometimes it is simply because the current holder of the information doesn’t want it to be public (e.g. privacy reasons). Sometimes it is because the info is personal or private and it would either be morally unjust, or even illegal for it to be distributed. Finally sometimes it is because (the government in particular) wishes to uphold the ignorance of the people, and not allow them to know the horrifying truth about something they have done or are involved in (e.g. MK Ultra).


People are opposed to censorship of information for all sorts of reasons. Mainly it is that people have aright to know organisations and governments are getting up to behind closed doors. A good topical example of this is the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. He leaked files and cables from his position working for the NSA (National Security Agency). He did this for moral reasons, as the NSA were spying on millions of citizens and politicians all over the world. He wanted to uncover these atrocities and shed some light on the shady behaviour of America’s security agencies. He is now a wanted felon and has had to flee the country and take political refuge in Russia, something nobody should have to do. A lot of people believed what Snowden did was a good thing, as people deserved to know these things about the NSA, as it was a threat to our freedom. People believe that if a government is able to keep lots of things classified it will do immoral things for the ‘benefit of the people’. (As it says in Orwell’s 1984, “ignorance is strength”). It is in this vein of thought that conspiracy theories often arise.         


There are a small number of governing bodies that uphold the standards of the media to the general public’s officially set standards:


BBFC –  The British Board of Film Classification is an organisation set up to ‘classify’ and censor films in the UK. The responsibility it is most known for is selecting which age rating films should be, which is then reinforced by cinemas and put on the front of DVDs meaning nobody below that age may purchase them. It is a non-governmental organisation (so it is independant of parliament, and holds itself accountable). It is also funded by the film industry. The age restrictions they use are one from: U (universal, suitable for all), PG (parental guidance, generally suitable for all, some scenes may be unsuitable for young children, parents may wish to check the film first), 12 (nobody below the age of 12) 12A (this is for cinemas only, it means children below 12 must be accompanied by an adult), 15 (nobody below the age of 15), 18 (nobody below the age of 18), and R18 (can only be shown at licensed adult cinemas or sold at licensed sex shops, to anyone 18 or older. Films in this classification will usually contain genuine acts of sex or sexual activity as well as extreme pornography and anything deemed intended for sexual stimulation).     


OfCom – The Office of Communications (known commonly as OfCom) is an authoritative body that deals with the regulation and competition for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the United Kingdom. It was set up i 2003, is a statutory corporation (written into a Law and government approved) and based in London. It’s duties are to represent and protect the citizens by encouraging competition and censoring harmful material. They also handle licensing, research, codes and policies, complaints, competition and protecting the radio spectrum from abuse.       


Advertising Standards Authority – The ASA is the organisation that ensures advertising in the UK complies with its specifically laid out advertising standard codes. It is self regulating, and ‘non-statutory’, meaning it cannot enforce legislation, though it’s codes comply almost interchangeably with statute law anyway. It is also not funded by the government but by a levy (tax) on the advertising industry. It’s main roles include investigating complaints about ads, sales promotions or direct marketing. Also (by it’s own words) make sure “no marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise”.     


Committee For Advertising Practise -The CAP is what’s called a ‘sister company’ to the ASA. Cap are the ones who are constantly updating and revising the  British Code of Advertising, Direct Marketing and Sales Promotion (also known as the CAP code). The Cap code is in it’s 12th edition. The CAP is split into four main groups, the Code Policy team, Monitoring team, a Compliance team, and a Copy Advice team.    


Task 2

‘Violence On-Screen Causes Violence In Real Life’


With the surge in broadcast and online media in recent years, there has been a lot of debate as to whether the violence we are exposed to on-screen, has created more violent crime and a more violent society. There are many arguments for and against this, with the main debate usually coming down to how ‘passive’ we are as an audience, and how we take in things that we see on screen.


If we take took the ‘hypodermic needle model’ as the truth, then logically the portrayed violence would cause us at the least to have more aggressive or violent midgets. However this model is almost completely disregarded as the actual truth, because we now know that audiences are always on a spectrum, going from passive to active. The are are more passive viewers and viewing styles that mean people take in more, and there are more active viewers and styles that tend to think more about what they’re seeing, and not always ‘agree’’ with it or the ethics behind it. This is what’s called an ‘oppositional response’. If someone agrees with the violence they see (and the media product as a whole) it would be called a prefered response. Someone with this response may be more likely to be affected by the violence, as they have no problem with it or seeing it. There is also what’s called a ‘negotiated response’, meaning people agree with some parts of a product but not others. One example of this could be someone who likes a film, but thinks it is too violent, having this opinion is an active viewing style and very possibly again will mean less of an affect on said person.   


Many people feel exposure to violence is generally okay, but not when it comes to children (especially younger ones). This is because children are more passive viewers, as well as being generally more ‘sponge-like’ (taking in a subconsciously processing everything). Also children when the images are extremely graphic, gory or horror themed can become disturbed or even develop a nervous disposition because of it. Sasha Emmons reporting for CNN wrote ‘Age seven or eight is a turning point, what experts refer to as “the age of reason.”’ She explained how this tends to be the age were children can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, as well as clearly know that just because something is happening on-screen it doesn’t mean it’s OK in real life.


This concern about children is a big part of the reason why we have age ratings on films and games. Sasha Emmons went on to write ‘Researchers who study TV’s effect on kids say this black-and-white view offered by the TV world can cripple kids living in a gray real world. “If a child sees himself as the ‘good guy,’ then anyone who disagrees with him must be a ‘bad guy’ — and this black-and-white thinking doesn’t leave much room for trying to see it from the other side, or working out a win-win compromise,”’. So another thing to consider when it comes to children is that in the film world people are often categorised easily into good and bad, but in real life there is often a huge range of ambiguity on many subjects that surround morality.  


There have been a number of real life crimes that allegedly have been caused directly by media products, usually, almost always being films or video games. These are also quite often children, affirming the argument that children take violence in a lot more, and therefore should be sheltered or stopped from viewing it. One gruesome example is Daniel Barton, who was jailed for life at the age of 14 for killing his mother. He beat her to death with a hammer and then set alight her body using petrol, after seeing the same style of killing on coronation street. According to the Independant, Daniel had become ‘obsessed’ with the character John Stape, who committed them murder in Coronation Street. He also allegedly watched clips of horror gore-flick Saw (which features victims left in deadly traps they must escape from in time). Clearly the media had a huge influence her over the way  in which Daniel killed his mother. However, there is, of course, no way to prove that Daniel wouldn’t have killed someone anyway, even without any media influence. People have been around for centuries, and we have always killed one another. Broadcast media has only been around for a hundred or so years.


When a seemingly media-inspired murder like this happens, people (very understandably) become extremely emotive. They have a tendency to lash out at the media corporations, saying it was all their fault. JustTV posted an article by a parent that said ‘There may be some correlation between violent behavior and particular media consumption practices, and in some instances, violent media might be a contributing factor to inspire particular violent actions, but such linkages are so much lower than other factors (like poverty, drug/alcohol use, patterns of physical & emotional abuse, and access to weapons) that suggestions to curb violence by changing media are simply an impractical, ineffectual distraction.’ I think this person makes some really interesting and valid points. People, children included, are such complex beings that how can we decipher what the ‘main’ or even only cause of a murder was. Surely many factors need to be taken into consideration. It may also be worth noting that children who commit murders like these quite frequently have a history of abuse of some kind. So it is very ambiguous as to whether it is or isn’t the media to blame.     


It is also important, when looking at violence effects debates, to consider the context violence is in. Glorified violence in video games where say you are rewarded for killing the most people (as is often the case), seems that it would logically have more of a negative impact on someones mind, than a film which portrays murder as a heinous act. Also there is an argument that violence n the news should always been shown, as it is real and genuinely happening, and people deserve to see the truth of what’s going on.Again there is a counter-argument, that constantly showing real violence in the news creates a pessimistic, fearful society. Famous director Roman Polanski once said “You have to show violence the way it is. If you don’t show it realistically, then that’s immoral and harmful. If you don’t upset people, then that’s obscenity.” He makes  a very insightful point there, showing violence and murder etc. as something casual or fun could create real problems, as children and more passive audiences will not see the huge emotional, societal and legal implications of the violence. But when the huge consequential implications are shown, it will surely not create a violent society, but put people off of being violent. -overview article -dmagaing to kids? -opinion unimportant  


Task 3

Analysing a Music Video: ‘Ayo Technology’ by 50 Cent (Feat. Justin Timberlake)

In this music video there is clearly a very different representation of men and women. The two male singers and the couple of other men we see in the video are dressed in fashionable, expensive looking clothes (mainly suits). They are dancing and performing the song. Women in this video are also dancing although in a totally different style, which is totally sensual and erotic. The women are also dressed very ‘skimpily’, generally in bra’s and micro-skirts. Even near the beginning a women is seen getting into her car, in public, in these clothes. So clearly the creators of this video wanted to show off the womens bodies a lot, but the mens stay totally concealed. Many people would argue this is sexualisation of the women, and a very negative way to represent genders. The men are meant to look cool, and high-class whereas the women are meant to look sexual and objectified.    


What actually is happening in the video, is that Cent and Timberlake are using various forms of technology (night vision binoculars, rifle scopes, futuristic wall sized touch screens etc.) to locate, watch and arguably stalk these half clothed dancing women. This to some could seem pretty creepy, and I have a feeling the reason people just accept it is because it is two high-rolling, attractive respected artists doing it. If somebody made a video about two average men spying on women in such a way I think people would be quite shocked. So it is interesting to see that artists like these (and the creators of the video) can get away with so much more because of the artists status.  


The way the two artists are ‘stalking’ the women like this, I believe is also a negative representation of men. It is not particularly as derogatory, however it makes men out to be predatorial, and like they are obsessed with getting women and sex which is simply a giant stereotype that doesn’t fit huge amounts of men. So not only are they derogatory to women, but they represent men (to me) negatively as well.


At one point in the video Cent goes into a house full of women dancing eroticly, running their hands over themselves. Some of them are dressed up in ‘themed’ revealing clothes (for example, a ‘slutty policewoman’). I think this shows how the women are thought of as entertainment. This idea is emphasised when he then sats down, is blindfolded, then woman take it in turns to give him lap dances. I thought this was amusing as it confirms that in the video he doesn’t even care who is dancing for/ on him, so long as one of them is entertaining him. This again shows of how women aren’t actually thought of (in videos like these) as individuals, but instead as faceless sexual objects.


I think we can tell a lot about the representation through the shots used in this video. The shots on the two singers are predominantly mid-shots, so we can see there faces and their torsos, meaning their dancing is captured. However, with the women, often we don’t even actually see their faces, it’s just low angles of their bodies, often with their backsides centre screen. There are also lots of slow zooms onto their bodies whilst they dance. This suggests to me it is not the person that is trying be captured, but just the most sexual parts of that person. They are meant to look sexy, not like people. Again this is very degrading. When we do see the women’s faces, they are all (other than one woman we see briefly at the start) making gormless, lustful expressions. This continues with the stereotyped idea being portrayed that women are ‘always up for it’. They are sexual beings and not actually people.


All in all I think I can conclude I feel this music video is very degrading to women, and negatively stereotyping to both genders. I don’t think it would actually be that much of a problem, if it were a handful of videos and artists that did this, however this is not the case. It is the sheer quantity of music videos these days, that have such negative social aspects that I think is where the problem lies. I also believe if it were only a handful, we would see them more for what they actually are: derogatory, degrading and creepy. However because we see this all the time, and are desensitised to the negative aspects, we often scarcely even notice them. They sell well and make people money, but I think at a very damaging cost to our societies overall psyche.      


(Task 4) Sexualisation of Women in Music Videos  

There is currently a lot of debate and controversy in the media surrounding the issue of sexualisation. Sexualisation in this sense generally refers to the sexualisation of people, usually women. Sexualising people means making them seen as simply something to have sex with, or something to lust over and think about/ want to have sex with. The arguments arise because people feel this is degrading, and means we no longer see people as human beings but as sex objects. Though not everyone agrees it is a bad thing, and some people argue the artists should be free to create the content they want, without people complaining it is ‘inappropriate’ or damaging. Music videos are a prime place for such sexualisation to take place, and just like the rest the rest of the media industry more often than not it is women that are sexualised.


So the question must arise, what are the problems with sexualisation in music videos? Well it is a number of arguments that are usually brought up. The first I have stated already, it causes males to see females as nothing more than sexual. Of course women and men should be seen equally, as complex and having depth, rather than the superficial view of just their appearances that sexualisation creates. This could be particularly true in the case of younger watchers, as the connotations may diffuse more passively into their minds (as children are known to take more in subconsciously). So it is considered very degrading to women. Sexism has existed for practically all of recorded history, and the new found technology and power of the media should, if anything, be aiming to combat and help bring sexism to an end, not irresponsibly contributing to it just for the money. Though people may argue that man too are sometimes sexualised, so it is not ever sexist. Though this argument may lack validity seeing as it is so much more often females that are sexualised.  


Some people don’t just believe that sexualisation isn’t a problem, but that it is actually very positive as it empowers women. Women can now be free to act or wear whatever sort of clothes they want, whereas historically they have been repressed, and not allowed to express themselves as sexual beings or even having any sexuality at all. So they argue that now we live in a free society, where people have freedom of speech and artistic freedom, they can do and create whatever they want. It is liberating for both men and women to be empowered through sexually active material, as well as lifestyles (which are sometimes also criticised by the press). It is also the ‘right’ of the production company, as sexualised music videos sell very well, so it is a successful business venture. If pornography is legal sure people should be free to make ‘raunchy’ music videos, which are overall far less explicit?       

Along the lines of creating an unequal view of men and women, some would actually go as far as to say the effect contributes to societies problem of domestic abuse and violence towards women. The unrealistic sexualisation also contributes to ‘rape-culture’. Holly Dustin (reporting for IBT) says ‘There is growing evidence to suggest that a sexualised media, which includes music videos, provides a conducive context for violence against women and girls to flourish by portraying women as constantly sexually available and men as sexual predators. The way black women are portrayed is particularly stereotyped and sexualised in many videos.’ So passively people take in these messages that women are always sexualy available, and then men are constantly ‘chasing’ girls and sex. Also her point about stereotyping specifically black girls is interesting, as this is then possibly both a gender and race problem.  

Another issue people have is the effect it will have on young girls. The problems may be that girls may see these videos and subconsciously take in the messages that it is ‘cool’ or something to aspire to to behave in a promiscuous manner, or to purposefully look a certain way, possibly to dress in revealing clothing. For an adult woman (I personally think) it is entirely her choice if she wants to wear such clothes or act in this way, but I don’t think girls should be exposed to such things so early on, before they actually understand what they are doing and all the connotations attached to it. The BBC did a survey of 1500 parents and found that ‘Most (75%) of parents with daughters said very sexual pop acts were teaching girls they would be “judged on their looks, not their achievements or personality”.’ So it is a worry for parents, especially as music videos don’t currently use an age-rating system, and so children frequently watch them on YouTube and other places online. They are also shown on music channels on television, which have been criticised a lot recently for showing ‘inappropriate material before the 9PM watershed’. There is a possible counter argument to this though in that it teaches girls not to be repressed , socially or sexually. Some people (especially ‘sex-positive feminists) would say there is no problem in anyone being free and confident in their sexuality. They may also argue that girls can’t be encouraged to act and wear ‘inappropriate’ clothing, because they don’t feel any is inappropriate. They would say there is nothing wrong with a girl showing off her body, it is usually men or repressed women who have the problem with this.

The next problem to consider is that some people feel that certain artists simply promote their sexual image to make up for a lack of talent. It is a common saying in the business world that ‘sex sells’. But the music industry should be about talent and creativity, not who can ‘pimp themselves out’ the most. Anna Webster in her essay ‘Living in a Sexualised Society’ wrote ‘It is clear by watching various music channels that the female artists whom young girls are encouraged to look up to rely heavily on their sexiness, raunchy costumes and suggestive dance routines  to attract attention and most importantly to sell records.’ So clearly she thinks this is both a cheap and immoral business move. A simple money making scheme that damages society. She also again touches on the point that young girls look up to these people and so they have a responsibility to be good role models, but often aren’t.

The last of the main arguments against the sexualisation, is that the artists themselves are often allegedly exploited by the industry, the press and especially their managers and producers who very possibly push them towards things they aren’t comfortable with. This is seen as a problem especially when the artists are younger girls (or boys). Teen pop stars are frequently seen as exploited. The problem is that it is debatable, and we possibly won’t ever really know how much is down to the managers and how much of it is down to the artists themselves. A lot of the young female artists that appear in ‘skimpy’ clothing and act raunchily in their music videos claim it is all their choice, but not everyone believes this. Others do reveal they think they have been treated unfairly. Britney Spears is an artist famous for her sexualised image and music videos. This was especially controversial at the start of her career when many deemed her too young to be so sexualised. She was 17 when she made her first music video (‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’), and it featured her in provocatively revealing schoolgirls outfit. The Independant did an article on Spears, quoting her saying ‘’I am too sexualised by the music industry’. It goes on to talk about how she feels her songs and videos are too much about sex, and she wants it to be more about the dancing and the music. The article also reads ‘When asked whether her managers were pushing her further than she wanted to go, she replied “yes”.’ So from that it is pretty clear she doesn’t have the control over her image that she would like. She, in a lot of peoples minds, is being exploited.

However, some people think the industry/ managers can be blamed when an artist regrets her/his actions. Chris Wright (founder and chairman of recording/ producing/ distributing company ‘Chrysalis Group’) says, ‘Female artists who present a sexualised portrayal of themselves in videos and live performances are almost always in control of their image’. This is interesting, and it confirms that we just can’t know for sure when or how much artists have been ‘pushed’ and when it’s entirely their decisions to behave/ show themselves in certain ways. ‘If things go great, a lot of artists think it’s down to them as people; if things go wrong it’s someone else’s fault and the music business is a convenient scapegoat.’ So perhaps when artists complained they have been pressured, we should take it with a pinch of salt. I am sure though that pressuring does go on, and some artists are telling the absolute truth. Though very possibly some are exaggerating or even lying. -survey sexualised society essay Britney selfto blame article


Sexualisation Debate

Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ sparked a lot of controversy, amongst other things she has been getting up to in recent times. It has contributed to the ongoing debate as to whether or not sexualisation in music videos is ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate’.

Argument for the levels of sexualisation in ‘Wrecking Ball’ being unacceptable:

  • It objectifies women
  • The nudity is unneeded and doesn’t relate to the lyrics
  • Especially considering Miley used to be a Disney star with a young fan-base, she is being an irresponsible, terrible role model 
  • The song is about a break up, and the video may suggest you need to sexually empower yourself to deal with the emotions that follow. Some people however, would call this a destructive way to deal with the situation 
  • The media always showing ‘skinny’ or conventionally ‘attractive’ people is why so many girls (and guys) these days are not happy with their boddies 
  • She may have only been doing it for the controversy and attention it would get ghee 


Argument against the levels of sexualisation in ‘Wrecking Ball’ being unacceptable:

  • It is done ‘tastefully’ (there is no actual explicit, or ‘full frontal’ nudity, just strongly implied nudity)
  •  It promotes sexual empowerment, especially in women! There are n o males, just her, showing how she is independent, strong and emotionally/ sexually secure in herself
  • It is her artistic freedom to be able to put what she wants in a music video, be it sexual or not
  • Lots of artists have put far more explicit and inappropriate things in videos, yet she seems to be taking all the criticism
  • It is a tactical business move, and was a effective way to promote her song 


In conclusion it is hard to say exactly whether or not the video is right or wrong. I don’t believe there is one answer, as it is all subjective, opinion based, and depends on your point of view. I think there is much worse out there, and ultimately I don’t think the video does any real harm.  

Uses and gratifications/ reception of my tv show

Uses and Gratifications Theory Applied

When creating a media product it s always essential to think carefully about exactly who you target audience is. Of course ideally people outside of your target audience will also watch the show,  but it is good to be aiming it at a certain group. Some products I think are made to try and have as as wide a target audience as possible, but these can end up being weak as everyone enjoys it a bit but nobody enjoys it a lot (in my opinion). A media product should have a firm sense of identity, both in itself and in who it’s made for (again, my thoughts).


When it comes to age I think my idea (a spoof-sports discussion show) will be best suited to 16-26 year olds. I think 16 is old enough to understand the conventions of typical sports shows, and therefore find our ‘spoofing’ funny. I think any younger and the essence of our creation won’t be apparent. I then think the top of the range will be about mid-twenties as afterwards people may start to lose that sense of finding more ‘silly’ or comical things as entertaining. Also a spoof-sports show isn’t particularly enlightening or productive, and between 16-26 people have more free time. They may be bored with all this free time so watch more comedies as a form of escapism. After mid twenties though adults tend to be busier and may not really be in the mood for such light hearted gags and bits.


I don’t think there is particularly any connection between my idea and socio-economic status. In fact I prefer to stay clear of stereotyping different ‘classes’ anyway for ethical reasons. But if I was going to try and find some sort of possible link, I would say perhaps people at the lower end of the spectrum may not enjoy it as much. This is because to be able to laugh at sports show conventions, you need to not be taking them too seriously. And a possible trend is that lower enders may watch more shows (e.g. match of the day) with at times almost religious conviction. Not to say middle or upper class people don’t, but perhaps not as frequently. And because of this these people might not be able to laugh at such things, which is fair enough as to sporting enthusiasts it may not be a laughing matter. But as I said, there is no need in my mind as to draw socio-economic conclusions at all.     


If we accepted the stereotype that males like sport more, then I would say my show would be aimed more at males. However I do not. Then again, in my survey most of the people who said they would consider watching a sports-spoof were male. So based on this and not the stereotype, my show may be more suited to guys.


Another thing I noticed on my survey was when asked would you consider watching a sports-spoof show somebody replied ‘yeah I would ‘cuz sports sucks!’. This got me thinking, I remember there were a lot of people back in school who didn’t like sort or P.E., either because they were bad at it or it just wasn’t their thing. Sport was seen as a fairly ‘cool’ thing to be into, and maybe even those that weren’t into it were deemed ‘less cool’. This obviously wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. That is when I thought that maybe my show could be a sort of outlet for that built up contempt at sport or sporty people. In a not particularly offensive way, people who didn’t have a good experience with sport at any point in their lives could come together and moc the conventions and expectations we see today. The comedians used on my show would in no way need to know anything particularly about sport, or even like it. So this could create a ‘sense of belonging’ which comes under the Integration and Social Interaction section of the Uses and Gratifications Theory. All these anti-sport people can come together, and feel at home laughing at sport experts or athletes.


Other uses for my show I think will come under entertainment. People will watch it when bored, as I have said which happens a lot to the age I am aiming my show at. (They may also use it to procrastinate when really they should be doing their media work, but hey that’s up to them). They will use it to relax, and as it will be so light hearted and funny, it will be good to relax to. The age group may need to relax as they may be stressed from exams or just generally facing the anxieties of being lost/ in love/ late teen/ early twenties. A confusing and wonderful time for everyone. As well they may get intrinsic cultural enjoyment, as the show will remain up to date and topical. It will sometimes talk about genuine sporting events or players, and make jokes about them. There will be a sense of national piss-taking, (e.g. laughing at how ugly Englands football team is, or about how we always lose at cricket to Australia etc.).


Reception Theory

The purpose of my television show is to entertain, and to highlight conventions in sport or sports shows that people tend to just accept without questing or even noticing. But mostly it is just to make people laugh, and give some comedians a chance to come and be funny while on the topic of sport. Comedy can be interpolated into almost anything, and I think it should be. The show is also a chance to generally discuss sport but on less of a serious note than regular sports shows, and in less detail.  

I think my show will be interpreted quite quickly by people as the point of the show will be obvious almost as soon as you start to watch it. I think most people will have a preferred reading, as even though it does make fun of the sporting world, it wouldn’t ever be offensive to anyone. (Unless we get Frankie Boyle on the show.)  Despite this, I think some sport enthusiasts and fanatics will not appreciate taking sport anything other than seriously. These people will have an oppositional reading. They may also have a problem with the fact that it won’t be experts but comedians, who may frequently get things wrong about a certain sport or league etc. That will leave a few people who are kind of in between, who perhaps appreciate what we are doing although don’t really agree with it. There may also be people who are fine with the show morally but just don’t find it hugely funny. These will be negotiated readings. When we construct the show we will keep in mind that we want as many peple to have preferred readings as possible.  

TV Studio Audience Research (And a little Market research too)

To give myself a clear target market to aim my show at, I have done both primary and secondary research. It is critical to generate an idea in your head of your audience, as at the end of the day you need to decide things based on what they will appreciate. Doing this will ensure both that they enjoy the show and also that they come back to watch it again in the future. My resources were fairly limited, compared to say that of a production or broadcasting company. The invest huge amounts of money and resources into audience research. In this day and age though it has never been as easy to do on mass. My idea is a sports-spoof show, so I needed to know about attitudes to comedy and sport shows and how many people watch them. 


For my primary research I created a survey on ‘’. I had ten questions, and ten responses, giving me a hundred questions answered in total. This should give me a neat little insight into some consumer attitudes and trends. Out of the ten people, only one did not fit into either the 0-17 or 18-24 age group. This was useful as my show will primarily be targeting young adult audiences. None of them selected that they don’t watch TV shows, with the majority putting that they watch shows daily. This was interesting to see, as it suggests that younger people do tend to watch a lot of Television. It is therefore fortunate I am aiming my show at them.

In response to me asking what their favourite genres were, the majority said comedy. As my show is a spoof it will be a type of comedy, and there will be a real focus on the comedic elements. I was pleased when I saw this result. I then asked what their hobbies were. I got quite a mixture of responses, and a fair few creative hobbies like photography. I did also notice, that 4 out of the ten of them put either a sport or going to the gym as one of their interests. I would not have expected this to have been so high (perhaps because of the stereotype of the age group in question being lazy). Almost half were into some sort of physical activity. This could be a valuable asset considering my show is sport themed. When combining this info with the fact that the majority of them like comedy television, it is looking like my sports spoof should be rather popular.

Other things I asked them were where they were employed; their gender; their current favourite TV show; how they watch TV shows; whether they ever watched sports shows; and whether or not they would consider watching a sports spoof show. The majority of people said they never watched sports shows. 4 out of ten said they would consider watching a sports spoof show. That isn’t quite half but I was still fairly pleased with that. Sometimes ideas don’t seem hugely appealing but if you catch some of the show they’d see that really it is very funny. Hopefully anyway. I also noticed that three quarters of the people who said they would watch a sports-spoof were male. Now granted it is a fairly small proportion, but this could still suggest that more males may be interested. This would align to the stereotype that males on the whole are more interested in sport (or though I don’t see their being any real backbone to this theory). 


For my secondary research I looked at a few different places on the internet for information. I could not find any popular sports-spoof shows, as I don’t think there are many out there. I felt this meant there is a gap in the market for such a show. The is a sports based comedy panel show called ‘A League of Their Own’. I thought this would be a good place to start. On Facebook I found that over 116,000 people had ‘Liked’ it. I saw only 530 people were ‘talking about it’ however. So There wasn’t a particularly big amount of current activity. To get some perspective and a comparison I looked at popular-music themed comedy panel-show ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’. This show had over double as many likes, and 12 times as many people were talking about it. I checked ‘Mock the Week’, a politically  themed comedy panel-show. I knew ‘Mock the Week’ was very popular. Over two million people had liked it. So for some reason ALOTO wasn’t as popular as these other shows. Hopefully it won’t be because it is sports themed. My theory is that it is because it is on Sky so only people who pay for the subscription can watch it, limiting it’s market. Learning from this, I would hope to go in with the BBC (or failing that Channel 4) if I was to actually make my show professionally.

I searched YouTube for ALOTO. The most popular result was a ‘best moments’ video. It only had 15,000 views, and didn’t have any comments which was a shame as I wanted to analyse some to see what fans were saying about the show. There was a DVD on Amazon, a ‘best and unseen moments’. It only had nine reviews, all 5 star! When looking at what people had wrote I kept seeing ‘very funny, lot’s of laughs!’ and other similar comments. It seemed a lot of people had bought this DVD for a relative who liked either the show or sport generally. It was all positive things which was good, and they must have been fairly dedicated fans as their was a £20+ price tag on this DVD.  

I then looked on BARB, at the top 30 highest ranking shows on a number of popular channels. As expected, there were no sports-spoof shows. Just to get an idea though I looked at how many sports shows were on there. ‘Rugby Six Nations’ got nearly 6 million views. ‘Final Score’ got 1.6 million. ‘Splash!’ on ITV got 3.5 million, this is a show featuring celebrities trying to master diving, and there are comedy elements too. ‘The Jump’, following winter sports took places 4,5,6, and 7 on Channel 4 (different versions of the show). This surge in popularity is almost certainly because of the winter Olympics just starting. None of Channel 5’s top 30 shows were sports themed.

All in all I think I got a lot of insight both through my primary and secondary research. I have seen there is no one popular sports-spoof show dominating the market, and so there is room for mine. I have seen that a fair few people in the age category I am aiming at say they would be interested in a show like mine. I have also seen that regular sports shows are hugely popular, with multiple ones getting millions of views a week. I can use all of these findings when constructing and developing my idea.          






Some selected audience research from the Glossary

Qualitative: Qualitative data is data measured by the quality of something, rather than by a number or definitive multiple choice answer. Qualitative data is subjective and opinion based, and is often more detailed. It can be harder to analyse as it is usually impractical or impossible to create graphs to find trends. Questions aimed at retrieving qualitative responses are usually open ended. For example ‘How effective did you find the use of cinematography in the film’? The answers to these questions will usually be written out as a very mini-essay, outlining the respondents views on the matter. You can obtain qualitative audience research through things like focus groups, or by looking at reviews for media products. A specific example could be reviews for a box set on Amazon.  

Quantitative: Quantitative data is measurable or ‘quantifiable’. It either is a number or can be given number value. It is effective to collect quantitative data on mass, and useful for analysation. You can make graphs or charts with quantitative data. The questions you ask to retrieve quantitative data are closed-ended. Often they will be multiple choice, and if not they will require a number or one-worded answer. Sometimes when the range of answers could be very wide, the answers will be put into small groups with spaced boundaries. For example: ‘How much time do you spend on YouTube a week?’ and then the answers will be ‘0-9 mins, 10-24 mins, 25-50 mins, 51-100 mins, 101 mins+’. Companies could use social media websites like Facebook to collect quantitative data. (For example, looking at which films get the most ‘likes’). Surveys are also a cheap and efficient way of collecting quantitative data on mass.   


Audience classifications

Socio-economic: Someone socio-economic status means is their current financial situation. They are used to describe, measure and classify people of different ‘social grade’ and income and earnings levels often for market research. Some people argue there are links between a persons socio-economic status and lifestyle/ cultural trend/ attitudes/ behaviour etc, however it can be difficult (and at times, arguably, unjust) to fing concrete links between these things and someone’s financial situation or background. There is a commonly used and known table of classifications, where someone is put into either an A, B, C1, C2, D or E category, going from ‘richest’ to ‘poorest’ in that same order. It was devised by the NRS (national readership survey). It can be important for marketers/ companies/ producers to know an audiences socio-economic status, as those with no spare or dispensable cash aren’t going to be as worth trying to sell to. (There are always uses for each class and ways around a lack of cash but it is still helpful to know what grade of quality and expense you should be selling to who).        

Psychographics: Psychographics relate to the opinions and attitude of people, either towards a given subject or generally. Amidst these are also peoples lifestyles and choices, as well as interests and ideologies. Psychographics are very important in media, the way someone views the world may help form what kind of things they enjoy or want to consume. People may disagree with the message or theme of something based on ethical, moral or political reasons. Pschographics may be more changeable and inconsistent than other categories like demographics. Especially in modern times as people are tending to conform less, be more individual and this transfers into media as people consuming what thy may not be expected to based on their profile etc.     

demographics: Demographics means statistical data relating to a population and/or  specific groups within it. This can involve things like age, gender, sexuality etc. These things are often taken as an average. Demographics will make up part an audience profile.

mainstream: Mainstream means the ideas, attitudes and ideas that are seen as normal (or perhaps conventional). The mainstream of anything is by default the most popular, as that is practically what mainstream is: the majority, the bulk, the mass of minds. To be part of the mainstream will tend to mean you don’t stand out, your opinions are popular. Hollywood loves the mainstream market: it’s where the people are and the people are the money.


alternative: alternative contrasts mainstream, it is not the most popular thing. It is in some way ‘different’. Sometimes it isn’t quite as accessible to the majority of people (see radiohead). However alternative doesn’t mean unpopular, by along shot. It should not be confused with ‘indie’ which is usually more unpopular, and often more abstract or ‘out there’ in some way. Alternative is often the second most popular: it isn’t the mainstream big seller, but it quite possibly could be the next biggest thing. It generally entails some ideas or content that isn’t so straightforward or accepted on mass.

niche: Niche, or a ‘niche market’, means a small but clearly defined group of people who have wants (or needs) which others don’t. If a TV series is aimed at a niche market, it will have a small but dedicated fan-base. Not many people will fit into the right ‘category’ to enjoy it, but those who do will usually really appreciate that their small number is being catered for. Niche markets are often what lead to ‘cult followings’. Things made for niche markets often could be ‘indie’ (in the sense of the word that is linked to genre rather than meaning independently made/ owned which strictly speaking is what it actually means). However these niche, indie things often get more popular as the years go by, then arrive at being alternative rather than indie. Then  they got so damn popular they finish as mainstream! Crazy.

MultiCam Proposal

When my group was trying to come up with an idea for our multi-cam production, we seemed to gravitate towards some sort of spoof. We liked ‘spoof’s’, as they very clearly highlight the conventions of something, and then laugh at them while doing so. It (hopefully, of course) will result in a product we find entertaining and funny to watch back. We did think though however, often purposefully attempting to be funny is often a bad idea and leads in no way to the creation of a funny product. That, however, is when we remembered we had agreed to film a primary school football tournament. And with that we came up with the idea to do a ‘Match of the Day’ style sport talk-show. We would be discussing the matches and footage we get, as if it were a genuine professional tournament. This contrasted with the seven and eight year olds running about, we thought would look quite funny. However, we wouldn’t be trying to be funny we would be trying to be a professional and conventional as possible. The harder we try and be serious, the funnier it shall be. A wonderful paradox.

So the conventions and set up of course we can nick straight from ‘MOTD’. They present the show in a neat, professional-looking way and hopefully we can do the same. We will need to set up a green screen that we can use to show clips from the matches. Other than that, one or two sofas/ chairs shall be needed. We will plan out a rough script but in part make up the commentary as we go along, to give it that genuine, fresh, live sort of feel. We can make sure we familiarise ourselves with the jargon that comes associated with football. We will try and do the show in one live take, but a few re shoots and a bit of editing may well come in handy.       

Corporate and Viral Video Report

Throughout this report I will look at promotional and viral videos. It shall be both  market and product research and an analysis, providing what should be a detailed overview. To achieve this I will examine the production process and its constraints, the need and use of promotional videos, and examples of existing promotional videos, on both a professional and  amateur level. Both the clients needs and the restraints of the creators must always be considered and addressed. Promotional videos are made and watched by a huge variety of people, corporations and institutions. They come in many different forms, are created for different purposes and are made and distributed in a wide variety of ways. They have proven hugely successful in many different industries. Thier success has expanded and surged tremendously since the internet was introduced.  


(Task 1)

As I have said, there are different forms of promotional and corporate video. One form is what’s called a ‘promo’. This involves promoting an institution or corporation, often as a whole (as opposed to say one particular product or service). I will soon be making a promo for Bridgwater college. I will have to pitch my idea to the marketing department and stay in close contact with them throughout the filmmaking process. Colleges and Universities are prime examples of institutions that make use of promos. When looking at colleges and universities you will no longer often find one that doesn’t have at least one promo either on their site or on the institutions YouTube channel. There are clear trends and conventions for these videos. They always have professional look and feel to them (high production value). This will be because the college or uni wants to show itself to be of a high standard, professional, and even dynamic, all of which can be represented in a video. The videos always seem to have shots of the buildings themselves; shots of students at work; and students talking to the camera about how much they are enjoying their course(s). However, as every educational institution (after school level) seems to have a video like this, they may become unnoticed, as the vast majority don’t stand out from the rest. Because of this their value and even necessity could be debatable. Some people may feel the videos should be more creative. Student-made videos seem often to have less production value and a less professional feel, but have more creative ambition and scope.


Another type of promotional video, are music videos. Music videos use the song for audio, and usually contain no or very little of their own. They are usually just visual. They are used to get more attention for the song and the artist. They also mean songs can be played on TV on music channels. Without them people would just be watching a blank screen, so they enable people to watch as well as listen to the artists work (people can enjoy music on a new medium). Music videos have less straightforward conventions than say a promo, as music itself is more free, creative and expressive, so the videos reflect this. What is featured in music video could be absolutely anything. Having said that, there are some shots and forms that often recur. (E.g. shots of the main singer lip-syncing, shots of the band performing either on stage or in a recording studio, shots of the crowd dancing and so on.)


As I have said there are many other types of promotional videos, these include adverts, training videos and tutorials, information, expositories, public statements amongst others. All of them have some of their own traits and common practices. In a general sense however they mostly all follow a similar production process.  


First off, the client will get in touch with the video production agency (or possibly vice versa). They will tell the agency/ agent exactly what it is they want made. They will explain to them things they should and shouldn’t include. (In my case, the Bridgwater college marketing team explained how they want their video to be ‘quirky’ and even ‘edgy’, but not to show the college in a bad light in any way.) They will also give them any other info such as how long they have to create the video and preferred locations, props amongst others. The next stage is for the agency is then to go away and come up with at least one idea they think will fit the criteria and please the client. They must formulate this idea into a proposal. The proposal should sum up the idea be concise. They then have to prepare and give their pitch. After being pitched to the client will decide whether they like the idea(s) or not. They may like some parts of the idea but want to make some alterations.


When they have agreed on a final idea, it is time to sort out all the pre-production. They need to script and storyboard the idea (they may have already done this to use in their pitch). They need to gather actors and any actors or additional specialists they need (camera operators, runners, editors etc.). They need a production schedule that fits in the time they have been given by the client. Throughout this and all processes they must liaise with the client, to make sure they  are happy and content with the progress made. Eventually the schedule will start, and the production stage can begin. The footage is recorded. Finally it is time for post-production. This involves a number of things, predominantly editing. The footage must be compiled and cut down for maximum impact. Any sound, special effects, credits etc must be added. The client may want to see it then ask for it to be edited slightly differently, or some footage be cut. Finally when the video is finished completely, it just needs promoting. It will be uploaded to one or more websites, and promotional ads will often be sent out to social media or other popular websites.  


(Task 2)

When making corporate videos, there are many legal and ethical issues that the creators must be aware of. Rules and laws can change and become updated quite continuously, so anyone wishing to make a corporate video must make sure they are up to date with current legislature.


One example of a legal issue is the issue of copyright. This involves not using any copyrighted material without explicit permission from the owner and/ or creator. This could be any kind of media, music, sounds, slogans, names, (even fonts) etc. Not following conventions on copyright can issue in you having to ‘take down’ your video, fines and even a prison sentence! The creators of corporate video must be extra careful as even things in the background (or things included in shots unintentionally) can be liable to a copyright persecution. If there is media that creators wish to include they must get in contact with the person or company that own the rights to it. In some cases the people will simply allow their material to be used, in others however, the owners will want money or a stake in the profit for the use of their content. If this is the case, the people creating the corporate video must decide whether the media is worth paying for. If not they will have to remove it from their video or find a suitable replacement.


Privacy can be both a legal and ethical issue. Most people would think that filming someone unaware or without their permission is wrong. If a corporation were to release a video that included people been filmed without permission, it would reflect badly on the company. Most companies these days take ethics seriously and want to be seen as ‘moral’. That being said, it is not illegal to film someone in public, even without permission. (Filming someone repeatedly after they have asked you not to could be classed as harassment, but just filming people publicly is legal in the UK). Also there is the Right of publicity – also called “personality rights”, this is the right to control how your image is used for any purpose. (I.e., to keep one’s image and likeness from being commercially exploited without permission or contractual compensation.) Filming someone in a private place on the other hand is always strictly illegal, and anyone that does so may get into trouble with the law. This would also been seen as an even more unethical thing for a corporation to endorse. This is certainly an critical issue to bear in mind.


Another legal issue is libel. Libel means to publish or broadcast an untruth about someone which could be damaging to him or her (or his or her reputation). This is a serious issue, and something that must be considered if any particular individuals (often and especially high-profile individuals) are to be mentioned or portrayed in a corporate video. Even if what is said is ‘clearly’ meant to be humorous, or the makers of the video though their content was in ‘good taste’, they may well still be liable to libel claims and prosecution.


Another issue that needs to be considered, for both legal and ethical reasons, is representation. This means how you represent any ‘group’ of people. People can be ‘grouped’ in terms of ethnicity, religion, physical and mental ability, age, gender, sexuality and many others. It is important not to portray any of these groups in a distasteful way or in a bad light. This is called being ‘politically correct’. The general Great British public (on the whole) are very scornful and usually rather shocked when any corporation (even if by accident) releases content which is seen as discriminatory or stereotypical. With stereotyping, people should tread even more carefully, as stereotypes are often subjective, opinion driven, and not always known to everyone. Getting into disputes over discrimination and stereotyping can be heated, and sometimes ambiguous. If the negative representation was particularly severe, you could face legal action and be taken to court. You may simply be asked to remove your video from the site you uploaded it to, but this means all the money and time spent on making the video was a complete waste. The aim should be to portray everyone equally, and avoid stereotypes as best as one can.        


(Task 3 and 4)

Here is a link to a video college students made last year:

It is called ‘something different’, they made it to try and go viral. It is designed to be funny, and to parody the traditional college promotional video. The first few shots are ones of the college, or students walking along, gently panning to the side. Slow music is playing to ‘set the scene’. There is then a shot of a student with a mic being pushed into his face. From this moment on the audience now know for certain that this is a parody. These sort of things happen throughout the video, turning the idea of corporate professionalism on its head. A harsh, condescending voice asks, ‘what’s different about Bridgwater College?’ The student pulls a moronic face and simply goes ‘ummmmm’. Someone then shout’s ‘SCIENCE!’ as the word flashes up on-screen. There is a shot of two students in lab coats standing by a model skeleton. They raise their hands in the air and shout ‘science’ themselves. Then the camera falls to one side as two fireballs explode onto the screen. This is ‘random’, silly and funny. It is also exciting. It genuinely engages the audience. Next someone says ‘maths’ in an odd accent and again the word flashes up. A student stands by a whiteboard and points as he says, ‘this and this equals this!’. On the last ‘this’ the shot changes to a zooming close-up of a cat, and a meow sound is heard. Each of these subjects are only taking about 3 or 4 seconds of video to ‘show’, meaning the video is cut quickly. This gives it a lot of energy to it, and it can keep the audience engaged all the way through. Next is English, it shows a student reading a book, suddenly a foot comes out of the book and kicks him right in the face. Anyone ff a school-leavers age will find this hilarious. The following subject is IT (for each section the word still flashes up as someone says it in the weird, comical voice). We see a student sat in a darkened room, doing what appears to be computer programming. The text is green on a black screen, this could be some kind of reference to the matrix? Pop-culture references always please an audience. The student exclaims ‘Hah finally!’, we then get a clip on the screen of My Little Pony. The seeming initial seriousness of the scene sets up the comical realisation, that what he’s actually doing is simply accessing a kids TV show, this again works well and will be funny to the target audience. Next is mechanics, a student by a car waves his arms and the car turns to a skeleton (as in no body kit, or wheels etc, just a chassis and frame). This one is only two or three seconds, demonstrating scenes in these sorts of videos can be effective when they’re short and punchy. Next is beauty, a female student says ‘make me look beautiful!’. Text then pops up that reads ‘one beautiful later’, then it cuts to her covered in green and boils, she merrily concludes ‘I’m an abomination’. Music shows a college band playing on a stage, it then zooms over to the right (pans), where we see just one or two students, one of which is slowly clapping. This 180 degree pan is accompanied by a ‘whoosh’ sound effect. This furthers the impression that this is actually an ‘anti-video’. The video, which surely is trying to promote the college, is showing things as not going well, or even as disasters. However it may make it stand out more for this very reason. In ‘drama’, we see a student, a hand comes out (from about where the camera would be), and slaps him across the face. He ie then has blood from his nose down his face, and mundanely says to the camera ‘I’m sad now’. This comedic violence (the blood especially) is pretty surprising for a video that the college itself has uploaded to its own YouTube channel. Maybe this generates more interest and appeal, or maybe this reflects badly? It is for the individual to decide. Media came next, and the shots shows us some zombies walking towards the camera. The film has an old grainy filter on it and there is a black border at the top and bottom of the screen, gentle eerie music plays. A student walks into the foreground of the shot from the left, looks at the zombies, then turns to the camera and says ‘really?’ in an unimpressed manor. Immediately after he says that, an electronic woosh is heard (as if something had been turned off), the borders disappear, the music stops, and the filter turns itself off! What’s left is just some people that look like zombies stumbling around, which seems a lot less impressive now. This is a very clever idea, it reveals the seams of the way video can be edited and manipulated for effect, again turning something on its head, and again not portraying the college as impressive of accomplished. The final subject is art, it shows a college girl doing a painting. It then cuts to a shot from behind her, so we can see the only thing on her paper is a stickman, This is meant to be funny to the audience. It now returns to the boy from the start, shouting continuously, I think it is meant to be because he realizes there’s nothing good or conventionally good to say about the college, however it isn’t actually that clear.                                  

This video, of course, is meant to be funny. It isn’t particularly straightforward to analyse comedy videos, as different things are funny to different people. My personal opinion on the video was that it was funny in parts, and had a good energy to it. The video currently has just over 2000 views. It is the fifth most popular video ever uploaded by Bridgwater College. 2000 is a respectable boundary to cross, but all in all, it cannot be said that it went viral. Of course ‘viral’ does not just refer to a videos view count. It is more than that, it is the frantic sharing of (and communication about) a video over social media sites, other websites and possibly email, direct messages and text. But if a video does go viral in this way then a resulting factor will be that it has a high view count.


According to an essay on Viral Videos at Elon University (in which they took the top 20 most popular YouTube videos of all time, and analysed them for patterns) they found the majority of the most popular videos had titles that were three words or less, and had run times of less than three minutes. ‘Something Different’ complies with both of these trends. The essay concluded that people are drawn to media online that can be quickly and easily digested. I thought the fast pace editing of Something Different would make the consumption of it easy and passive for the audience, all the while being enjoyable.


So maybe even though this video did things right, it just didn’t do them well enough. In the comments you can see some people criticise it for being too alike to the content of successful viral YouTube vid maker ‘Tomska’. SO perhaps originality (or a lack of it) was the issue.













Task 2,3 and 4 of the glossary! -Laurie



There are certain ways a product is created to address an audience. This ensures the product will be appreciated and popular. The selection of content is critical, it is the thing the audience pay money for, the meat.


colours: The colours of a product are important, as it could be the very first thing that draws someone in. A magazine article, front cover, or movie poster must get people to turn their heads and notice it. This however, doesn’t necessarily mean bright colours or oldly used colours. ‘Deep’, ‘depressed’ teens will appreciate dark things, you must know your market.


images: Images tie in with colour, they may well be the thing that draws people in, to take notice and possibly read further. A well placed image can be very helpful. They need to be appropriate to your product, and appeal to your audience.


words: A choice of words must reflect the reading/ intellectual levels of your audience. For titles and tag lines etc. they may need to be powerful or punchy. Words are almost always needed in some shape or form.


The codes and conventions are often what shows exactly who a product is for. Audiences will see things they feel familiar with, possibly without even realising and be drawn in because of it.


technical:  Technical codes relate to th construction of media. Sometimes things can be aimed at people with a love for a specific medium. For example, some films are shot very masterfully, and so are technically pleasing. THis would appeal to lovers of film itself, as they understand deeply the language of cinema and the technical wonders that had to be worked to achieve whatever it is. There is always a risk that a product could be so technical it could miss out on some of the mainstream market.


symbolic: Symbolic codes show what is beneath the surface of what we see/ hear/ read. So for example a character’s actions may show what he is feeling or thinking. The symbolic codes are the meaning and messages behind what you create (with technical codes).


The construction of content needs to address the audience. When making content, you are making it for that audience, so they should be kept in mind every step of the way.


anchorage: Anchorage means creating meaning for pictures, text, etc by attaching them to other pictures, text, etc. For example, a picture used for an advert may be interpreted in different ways, but if it anchored  with a slogan or a few emotive words producers can control the effect and connotation it will give.


layout: the layout of a media product is key as producers will want to make it appeal to their chosen market. The levels of formality and clarity will depend achordingly.


narrative: narrative means how a sequence of events are put together (forming the plot) to put before an audience. Narrative incorporates a lot, amongst which are things like pacing. THe narrative must be constructed to best suit and entertain your audience. If it is not they won’t be your audience for long.

The Dark Knight   

The Dark Knight is part of the batman reboot trilogy that Christopher Nolan directed. A helpful way to start working out what kind of an audience a film is designed for, is to look at the age rating. The Dark Knight was a 12A, meaning effectively people of any age can watch it. Producers if they can will usually try and keep the age rating down, so as many people can go and see it at the cinema as possible. The fact that it is so action packed could mean that it was aimed more at males, as stereotypically they like action films more (this may no longer be true, times are changing…). I think also that the film was made and marketed to be very dark and more ‘solid’ than say the previous Batman films. This meant more of an appeal to older audiences. There is considerably more ‘talking bits’ than a lot of action films, which in some peoples opinion weighs up the action, and makes the experience more worth-while. So possibly, it won’t only appeal to an older audience but a more intellectual one. THe type of person that may see Die Hard as ‘below’ them. It also appeals to a ‘nerdy’ audience, fans of the comics and superheroes in general. But ultimately, like most things, there attempts to be ‘something in it for everyone’, that way maximum profit ensues.


Empire (Magazine)     

Empire is a movie magazine, so we can immediately say it will be aimed at ‘movie-buffs’, or at least people who like and watch films. It will be of no use to anyone else.  The mag seems to slightly favour action or adventure films, big new and exciting things. It may again be slightly aimed more at males. Looking back through front covers of old editions, you may notice the ones with a female on  often have her in a seductive pose of some sort. Each edition is over £4, not particularly cheap, so perhaps aimed more at people with a bit of disposable income. Young people for example. This may be confirmed by their choice of films to do the ‘big stories’ on. They definitely favour big Hollywood blockbusters, so from that we may conclude their audience is going to be ‘mainstreamers’. So putting all this together we come up with a mini profile: 17-30 year old male mainstreamers with some disposable income. Looking at the ads, I think this is a pretty accurate account, they advertise things like gaming PCs and Lynx shower gel.      


Audience Effects Theories

passive and active consumption: These two are ways of consuming media. Passive means you simply sit there and take it in. Active means you are thinking about it, evaluating it, being involved or interacting in some way. Whether a person or people consume media passively or actively is never usually black and white and there are debates about it. Many people feel that media is consumed now more actively than ever before, because with technological advancements and changing attitudes we are now more interactive with the media. This could be to do with things like review sites (where anyone can post their own especially), discussions online about media products, fanfiction, fan-theories (see Sherlock), cosplay, the internet (for example choosing which links to click on a news site rather than reading the front age as in the ‘old days’) etc.


hypodermic needle model: This is a theory that the media directly affects us. A message is put out, and we absorb it and accept it. It is kind of like passive consumption at the ultimate level. It is named as it is to suggest media is like being given an injection, people react achordingly to whatever chemical is in the syringe. This theory, if taken seriously, is immensely flawed. It completely ignores interpretation, the subjective way one individual may see something differently to another. In the hypodermic needle model there are no subtleties, no possible diversity of affects any media can have on people. It is almost as if we were robots with the exact same programming within us. However, some say no academic ever actually believed this theory, it was created to quash the research of media effects and audience effects theories. It was created almost for arguments sake.


uses and gratifications theory: This theory centre on the audience rather than the media itself, and breaks down exactly why people consume or need media. It looks at the individual, and shows what someone can use media for. This theory is contradictory to the hypodermic needle model which states that media is consumed passively.


Effects Debates

exposure to explicit (sexual or violent) content: This is one of the biggest and longest lasting media debates of them all! You certainly don’t need to be an expert, or even work in media to have opinions on this subject. People are always complaining or arguing about whether (usually kids)are exposed to too much in this day and age. This debate incorporates the ‘watershed’, and what time things should be allowed to be shown on television. It also involves the news, some saying more should be allowed to be shown on the news because it’s real and all people should know what’s happening in the world.    


censorship: There are lots of debates about censorship. A lot of it comes down to whether the government or a government body should regulate or have any control over what the media expresses and creates. There are lots of sides to it. Some say the media should be completely free, both artistically and in the sense that it can expose anything it finds out etc. Some people think children need to be protected and thought of (linking to the exposure of explicit content debate) so they say the media should be regulated for harmful or inappropriate content. These debates are quite topical, especially in the recent light of Edward Snowden and all the NSA files he has leaked!

effects of advertising: There are various reasons why certain individuals can be anti-advertising, or just have a problem with a specific part of it. Some psychologists believe we are ‘subliminally stimulated’, that is to be swayed one way or another subconsciously. This seems to some to have a dishonest, sneaky air to it. It could even bring into question whether or not we have free will. So subliminal messages is one possible negative aspect. Another, quite, simply, is that the huge volumes of advertising pumped into us all the time has led, and is further leading, to a consumerist society. A big fat, greedy, unhappy, uncontent, materialistic, capitalist, destructive (to the environment and to every aspect of our health), economically unfair and unstable society, that is totally controlled by corporations that were initially built to serve us. But that’s just one argument. Another is that adverts can create an image (for example, of women) that people feel they need to fit in with. This may not be exclusive to advertising though. Some people say though, that we don’t consume media so passively and that these ‘subliminal messages’ are not a problem as we are more active consumers nowadays.



preferred: this is when an audience member agrees with the message behind a media product. The person/ people ‘decode’ the message the producers have put in their product, and at least broadly, they comply.  


negotiated: This is where the audience (using pre-existing views, opinions or information) accepts, rejects, and refines different parts of the message. They may break it down more than someone who has a preferred response. They then, in light of opposition to the message generate a mixed response.        


oppositional: This is where, once the message has been deciphered, it is rejected. It does however mean the dominant message has been ‘decoded’ or understood, but for ideological, cultural or political reasons they don’t agree. They oppose  the views in question.











Firefly was a Sci-Fi/ Space-Western Drama television series that only ran for one season from 2002-03. The show follows a small renegade crew aboard a small space shuttle (Serenity, firefly class), as the journey across the galaxy, making money anyway possible, and generally finding themselves in dangerous or precarious situations, that tended to end it a show-down of some kind.

Firefly’s genre is interesting to look at, as it is a hybrid of two. The technical term is ‘space-western’. It combines elements from both the sci-fi and western genre. As I have said, it is set in a galaxy of planets inhabited (sometimes terraformed) by people. Though there are no aliens, there is lots of space travel, and various high-tech, futuristic gadgetry (for example, their guns shoot lasers). The sci-fi elements are more immediately apparent than the Western ones. It’s set in space, so people know right from the word go to expect sci-fi conventions. What is clever about this series, is that in Firefly’s ‘universe’, the central planets are all posh and high-tech, but the outer planets are often deprived and use a lot of basic things that would be considered low-tech (or obsolete) even by todays standards. This is what allows the western elements to come into play. Many of these outer planets use things like horses (or horse and cart), and some people live in cabins and the buildings generally look like the ones you would find in a western. The landscapes all have that familiar empty light-brownish surface that tends to immediately give you the ‘wild west’ vibe. There are stables, and barns, and despite the fact that peoples guns shoot lasers, they still look like old revolvers that traditional cowboys would have used.

It is also key to point out that the culture of the people in the Firefly universe is not just a combination of modern day technological materialism and wild-western deprivation, but also takes influence from oriental and Eastern places. Things like drinking green tea, and you notice quickly that everyone swears in Chinese. In the back-story of Firefly, this is because towards the end of life on planet Earth (before we used up all the non-renewable resources) China and the USA became the world powers, even more than they already are today. They are the ones that led the people off of the Earth and into space. That is why the main cultures to go forth were Americanism and Oriental.    

So there are lots of visual elements to both the sci-fi and western sides of Firefly. The western elements may go even deeper, however, than just iconography. The Captain of the ship, and what is probably thought of as the main character, Malcolm Reynolds, could be said to be quite a typical mysterious cowboy outlaw. It was even revealed he was brought up on a ranch!  Firefly has been called a ‘deliberate echo’ of post-Civil War America. Just before when Firefly is set, there was a great war in the Firefly universe, between the central ‘allegiance’ and the ‘independent army’ (or the ‘Brown-coats’). Mal fought on the side of the brown-coats, the losing side. This is another typical convention of Westerns, only it would be that the cowboy fought on the losing side in the Civil War. What the crew get up to is certainly western-themed. There is a train heist at one point, which involves someone being lowered down onto the train by the space-ship. This scene perfectly demonstrated the marriage between the two genres, there is nothing more sci-fi than a spaceship, and nothing that screams western quite like a train heist. Finally there are many ‘showdowns’ (also called duels, or mexican stand-offs). One of the biggest Western conventions, they come with particular over the shoulder and low-down shots, making them hit the nail exactly on the head.

Firefly is certainly episodic, meaning every episode is a complete story in itself. This means that the pace is consistently quite fast, as so that a full story can be told in each episode. There are some ongoing and overarching storylines, but these are usually specific to a character. The character exposition, and progression are things I think the show did fantastically well on. The first (and only) series was lengthy enough to reveal the surprising depth and the personal journey each character was on, in a bold and exquisitely detailed way. If only a follow up series were to have been made we may have seen just how much depth there truly was to these characters. Thankfully, a film was made to conclude the story.

Representation in firefly is interesting to look at as there are a fair number of ‘main characters’, that is the crew that boards Serenity. If we look at the representation of men and women, we can see initially the chief role, the Captain is a man. Mal is heroic and strong, a fairly traditional role for men in the media (and something some have complained about). However, the rest of the crew may not be so in keeping with such outdated personas. Zoe is second in command, and Mals most loyal and trusted member of the crew. She is fierce and e an excellent shot,Mal often bringing just her along for missions, negotiations etc. She is sharp minded and remains calm in situations more than any other crew member. She seems practically fearless. The other gun nut is called Jayne,and despite his cold, trigger happy nature he is a lot less sure of himself than Zoe. This is a slight role reversal. It applies again when looking at Zoe’s husband ‘Wash’. He is the ship’s pilot, and some-what of a coward. This is humorous because of the contrast with his own wife. The ships mechanic is Kaylee. This may traditionally be seen as a mans job. Summer was smuggled onto the ship, and is fleeing the allegiance. Se is some-what a child prodigy and psychic, with a mass intellect far surpassing any normal human abilities. Inara is a legal prostitute, known as a ‘companion’ in the universe. The remaining crew members are Book the shepherd (pastor), and Simon a doctor.   

To sum up, the mechanic, the most highly intelligent, and the most efficient combatist (and strategist) are all female. The only conventional role based on gender is Mal, the Captain. So clearly the conventions have been (possibly deliberately) broken down and left behind.

The representation of the ‘Allegiance’, that is the authority, the officials, the government, is on the whole a negative one. It was a government body, the Blue Sun organisation who had River held captive, performing twisted experiments on her brain. Joss Whedon has compared Blue Sun to companies today like Coca-Cola or microsoft. The alliance seems to be authoritarian, ruling with an iron fist. However Whedon has said it may seem that way because it is following the perspective of people who both oppose the alliance, and are constantly breaking the law. The Serenity crew is made up of course, of Anti-Heroes. But no matter what they do (even stealing supplies from a hospital at one point), they are so lovely and awesome that we will cherish and adore them forever! The alliance seem to show great bias towards the central planets, and fail to send proper aid or supplies or help of any real kind to the outer planets. Whedon also say. According to Whedon’s vision, “nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today”. So maybe the things going on in the Firefly universe do represent the same things that go on today.