SOSC 218

Week 4 Lecture

Analyzing Social Change, Sex as a Marketing Tool, and Privacy Policies

In Week 4 we'll analyze sex as a marketing tool, the role of social media / mass media in social change, and we'll review modern privacy policies.
Sex sells. Many of us have heard this saying time and time again. When watching television we often see ads that show provocative images in order to gain our attention. While the product might be something as benign as a cheeseburger the message often runs much deeper. For examples, Carls Jr. ran a successful ad campaign in which scantily clad women (often in bikinis) bit into overstuffed fast food items. Calvin Klein has had a variety of ads showing black and white images of male models in barely there briefs staring longingly into the camera. The message? That’s largely up to consumer perception. Some individuals see these ads as harmless “shock value” whereas others see lasting social implications. In your opinion, does using sex to sell a product subjugate or objectify? Do you think advertisers should be held to a moral standard?

Interestingly, in 2005 the Carls Jr. campaigns came under fire from the Parents Television Council (PTC). They felt that these ads were potentially corrupting and voiced that they would, “mobilize more than 1 million members to contact the restaurant chain and voice their displeasure” (CNN Money). While they followed through on their convictions, there actions were not effective….the campaign still runs today. Advertising of this nature is very effective in that consumers tend to focus on the presentation more than the product. Have you ever heard the saying “Sell the sizzle, not the steak”? That’s a keystone of using sex to sell a product. Do you see provocative advertising as uncomfortable, commonplace or both? In your opinion, why does it “work”?

For more information, click the following links.
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To connect to our earlier discussion of sex in advertising, we see that advertising geared to the LGBT population is often addressed differently than to traditional markets. A report concluded that, “with the explosion of national ad-supported gay and lesbian media, one feature has remained relatively consistent: the sequestering or removal of sexual advertising and editorial content” (Senders, 2003). In short, ad campaigns geared towards this population are often neutered so as to not ruffle the feathers of more conservative demographics. That said: Times are changing. Tiffany’s jewelry recently ran a touching campaign of two men getting engaged to one another. In your opinion, does the media reflect society –or- does the media shape society?

The media can play a large role in shaping public opinion. To some degree, this can be negative –but- it can also be positive as well. What is one social cause or social movement that is close to your heart? If more people were aware of this cause, do you think you’d see more action for it? Social change can occur in a variety of ways but one of the best igniters of change is awareness. As we discussed in earlier weeks, the average American adult spends nearly eight hours a day staring at screens (TV, phone, computer etc.). We are saturated with technology and have information right at our fingertips. When a major news event occurs, many of us go to our phones or laptops to investigate the matter further. In considering social movements we see the same thing occur: Once we light the spark of interest, a blaze of action often follows. Can you think of any recent social movements that have made the news? Do they have a presence on social media?

For information on media and social movements, click the following links.
Kent State Shootings - Ohio - Neil Young (1970)
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Each of the major social media websites has a privacy policy. A privacy policy is a document, paragraph or statement that describes the way the given party will use, share and gather user/client information and data. These are often drafted to protect consumer privacy –but- in some cases, these can be directed towards the advantages of the business owner. For example, there are some social media sites that gain proprietary rights of your photos once they are posted (i.e., they can use them without additional consent). In today’s technology rich world it’s difficult to circumvent the use of digital means. From purchasing clothing to applying for jobs, we’re often putting our information “out there”. In your opinion, how safe is this? That is, think about some of the websites that you use. How comfortable are you with their privacy policies?

Some of us are entering the workforce for the first time, others have left to pursue other endeavors, and others still are restructuring our career paths. In any event, we see that employers can often view items on our social media accounts to gauge “who” we are. Can you think of some ways that we can protect ourselves from this? When thinking about the privacy policies of some of the major social media sites, we see that Facebook has a section devoted to helping users with this quandary. You can read more here: https://www.facebook.com/help/282207828490074/ After viewing this information, are there any changes you might make to your social media accounts?

For information on privacy policies, click the following links.
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This week we analyzed sex as marketing tool, we explored the role of social media/ mass media in social change and we researched today’s privacy policies. We learned that mass media/social media can be used to manipulate the public in both positive and negative ways. In closing, reflect on the moral and ethical conundrums that were raised this week. Consider how they relate to your observations and encounters with the media.

Key Points

  1. Sex sells. Provocative images are generally effective in selling products or services.
  2. Some individuals see racy ads as harmless “shock value” whereas others see lasting social implications.
  3. In 2005 the Carls Jr. campaigns came under fire from the Parents Television Council (PTC).
  4. In advertising, consumers tend to focus on the presentation more than the product.
  5. Senders found that with the explosion of national ad-supported gay and lesbian media, one feature has remained relatively consistent: the sequestering or removal of sexual advertising and editorial content
  6. The media can play a large role in shaping public opinion
  7. Social change can occur in a variety of ways but one of the best igniters of change is awareness.
  8. Each of the major social media websites has a privacy policy.
  9. A privacy policy is a document, paragraph or statement that describes the way the given party will use, share and gather user/client information and data.\
  10. Privacy polices are often drafted to protect consumer privacy –but- in some cases, these can be directed towards the advantages of the business owner.

Challenge Yourself

  • Conisder the key points from our week. Which did you find to be interesting?
  • Locate two resources in our Virtual Library (or from an online source) that relate to the key points you selected.
  • Reflect on the connections you find between these resources and your own life/career goals.
  • Discuss your findings with a friend, family member, or co-worker.

References

Text:
Sender, K. (2003). Sex Sells: Sex, Taste, and Class in Commercial Gay and Lesbian Media. The Journal Lesbian and Gay Studies, 9 (3), 331-365.

CNN Money. Retrieved on September 9, 2016, from: http://money.cnn.com/2005/05/24/news/newsmakers/carls_ad/

Images:
Tex Avery Wolf. Digital Image. Becuo. Becuo. Web. September 9, 2016.

Andy Warhol. Digital Image. RevolverWarholGallery. RevolverWarholGallery. Web. September 9, 2016.

Ethics. Digital Image. IP2Consulting. IPConsulting. Web. September 9, 2016.)