The Hidden Myth
The Hidden Myth
I designed a brandless advertisement that was be displayed at Texas State University, it is called the Wall of Persuasion. It is utilizing the strategies of advertisement and using adjectives/nouns that we humans seek to identify ourselves with the advertising world. This was a year long case study for my thesis. It was displayed March 26, 2018.
The “Wall of Persuasion” expands upon Barthes concept of mythologies created through advertising. It demonstrates the extent to which humans seek an affirmation of emotional identity in the myth construction of advertising, even when it is operating independent of a tangible consumer product.
To kick off my research to my final design of my thesis I started with interviews. I interviewed a diversity of people here in San Marcos and in San Antonio, Texas.
Then like any other design it continued with sketches. I wanted to create something interactive and a guerrilla based ad. Personifying identity and the myth was the most challenging part.
After figuring out a way to personify my argument for my thesis. The construction began.
The Wall of Persuasion consists of a white wall, taller than an average human being and design to be located in the most crowded part of school. This will gear towards a disruption technique many ads companies use. Disruption techniques either focus on grabbing the target's attention or on changing their perception of the situation. This then “opens the gate” to further persuasion and compliance.
Another aspect of this wall is asking the students “What word(s) describe you? Feel free to take a button and share your story.”It was covered with buttons labeled with descriptive words in many visible and vivid colors. I’ve chosen specific colors and typography to enforce fluency throughout the message. It needs to be clear enough to grab the attention of the students and as well they can understand what is going on. Thus, choosing the right words, font, and color, can make all the difference in whether a message will have any persuasive impact
With the hashtag I was able to see their response in different modes of social media and one of them being twitter. Unfortunately, those who use social media do not have the control of what they see through media and advertisement uses that to their advantage to target more audience in hopes of getting more consumers. To my surprise I found that the consumers (the students) were advertising my own ad. They were basically doing the work for me.
In the End
And even when the wall was down the advertisement did not stop. By people wearing the buttons around campus they are calling attention to the product, which is still advertising my product.
In general, the success of advertising depends not on its logical propositions but on the kinds of fantasies it offers. Advertising appropriates things from the real world, from society and history and sets them to its own work. In doing so it mystifies the real world and it takes it apart and it help us have any understanding of it. We are invited to live this unreal life through the ads. Advertising helps us make sense of things. Ads may provide a magic which displaces our feelings and resolves our problems but only at a personal and social cost.
This is why it is important to be aware not just of the content, but also of the structure of signs in ads, the way meanings are exchanged, the way signifier and signified work, and the way it structure us into the ad and call upon us to create meaning. Only in this way we can understand the way semiotic works and ties advertisement to the existing conditions of society.
(In the end of Spring 2018 my Art History Thesis class hosted a seminar to present our case study at Texas State University.)