Ming the Mechanic:
Generative Ad Art

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Generative Ad Art2007-01-26 15:53
16 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

The Ad Generator:
The ad generator is a generative artwork that explores how advertising uses and manipulates language. Words and semantic structures from real corporate slogans are remixed and randomized to generate invented slogans. These slogans are then paired with related images from Flickr, thereby generating fake advertisements on the fly. By remixing corporate slogans, I intend to show how the language of advertising is both deeply meaningful, in that it represents real cultural values and desires, and yet utterly meaningless in that these ideas have no relationship to the products being sold. In using the Flickr images, the piece explores the relationship between language and image, and how meaning is constructed by the juxtaposition of the two.
It is kind of uncanny. Some of them are off, but a lot of them really work.

Now, sitting watching something like that, do you think that possibly might make you immune to the manipulation of advertising? You know, because you can see through it, or maybe because you can appreciate the beauty of random pushing of emotional buttons. I wish, at least.


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16 comments

27 Jan 2007 @ 07:10 by swanny : BS
Well like I sometimes say
theres good bs
and theres bad bs

swanny  



27 Jan 2007 @ 23:34 by Hanae @68.164.62.3 : The law of contiguity:

"When two things commonly occur together, the appearance of one will bring the other to mind."
— Aristotle

Any reflex can be conditioned to respond to a formerly neutral stimulus. This is the lesson of Pablovian conditioning. Men are no dogs, yet, what part of Man's behavior is reflexive and what part is voluntary, and to what degree? A young man who "reacts" to a picture of a nude woman (like here) is reacting to a symbol. When such symbols, this one, and other stimuli like it (like music, for instance, which can affect one's emotion in powerful ways) are paired to a neutral stimulus, the targeted audience’s hormones and limbic system (like the amygdala which plays an important part in imprinting emotions onto memories by releasing some of the same neurochemicals when an event is recalled as when it occurred) have been tempered with, to some degree (like as in a flipping of a switch, an emotional state has been conjured.) Does that constitute a form of classical conditioning? Does being aware of it makes one, if not less suggestible (change in emotional state), at least less receptive to the attempted pairing with the neutral stimulus being promoted (conditioning)?

This is the kind of stuff advertising is made of.

Not all of it is as nefarious as it may seem. Some are just attention grabbing. Some are about generating certain associations, but a movie director who calls upon a composer to write a score that will support the kind of emotions his or her movie is trying to impart, does the exact same thing.

Some movies like, Chariot of Fire, would lose much of their power without their musical score. But in this later instance, the audience is not being fooled, the audience is an active and willing participant in the process, people go to the movie to experience a mood changing experience, and the story, the images, and the music are all part of the writing that’s being told, and all three are serving the same purpose (e.g. : Writing: the protagonist is flying and feels elated about it. Images: the character is flying, he is smiling. Music: musical score expressing a feeling of levity.) When there is a disconnect between the three, or when the connection is contrite or artificial, it usually doesn’t work so well, actually. Oftentimes a movie director might try, vainly so, to compensate for the mediocrity of the writing in a movie by calling upon a musical score to ellicitate the kind of emotions the writing is failing to conjure (like you might have a musical score trying to convince the audience that things are getting very exciting, while the audience knows they are really seeing nothing to be very excited about.) Scary movies too have learned to rely on such techniques expertly (like The Blair Witch Project,) and there too, if there is a disconnect, or if that disconnect last for too long, the audience will eventually get frustrated over the fact that nothing is really happening or over the fact that what is happening is not all that interesting or particularly scary.

Amazingly enough, every year in America, people are as much looking forward to the Super Bowl as they are to the million dollars commercials that they know will be shown during the game.

In the case of advertising though, interesting issues have been raised.

How far is too far? Nudity and scantily clad women will generate in the targeted audience the proper mental state that comes with arousal. Images do that. What of scent? TV-screen do not yet come with the capacity to release odors. What if they did? Or what if it was done in stadiums or theaters? What about a little touch of pheromones in the air (unbeknown to most) during that beer commercial?

The Federal Communications Commission, for instance, has made it clear that it will revoke a company's broadcast license if the use of "subliminal techniques" is proven.

The following is from the FCC's Manual for Broadcasters:
We sometimes receive complaints regarding the alleged use of subliminal techniques in radio and TV programming. Subliminal programming is designed to be perceived on a subconscious level only. Regardless of whether it is effective, the use of subliminal perception is inconsistent with a station's obligation to serve the public interest because the broadcast is intended to be deceptive. [Federal Communications Commission Record, 2001]

Which is nice and all, except that “subliminal perception” is extremely difficult to prove in a court of law. Furthermore enforcement is not such a desirable thing as it threads on “free-expression” and flirt too dangerously close with censorship.

So, it all come to awareness, and informed consent, though informed consent (the awareness of what one is being exposed to, and one’s ability to subtract oneself from such exposure if such exposure is unwanted) is becoming less and less relevant as it is becoming nearly impossible to screen the ubiquitous influence of marketing techniques on society.

So awareness is paramount. And in that respect, so is EDUCATION (critical thinking, information seeking, catching as much information in as many subjects as possible, analyzing, etc.)

According to William Sargant, 1997 ( Battle for the Mind: A physiology of conversion and brain-washing) the people easiest to influence are usually young, trusting, gullible, and non-critical people or people who may be particularly vulnerable because of some recent unsettled transition [Various types of beliefs can be implanted in people after brain functioning has been disturbed by fear, anger, or excitement… or existential angst. These cause heighten suggestibility and impaired judgment.] Those more difficult to influence are likely to be individuals who have easy access to accurate, critical, or counterbalancing information.  



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Other stories in
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2011-11-03 16:51: Seeing the world through the Internet
2009-06-11 18:53: Blogging/Microblogging and work
2008-02-23 17:19: Web 1, 2, 3 and 4
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2007-09-18 22:54: Rethinking blogs
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