International Communications Essay

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”Stephen Leacock

The role of advertising in the realm of global communications is multifaceted, and the most interesting aspects of advertising on a global scale has been the brand reorganization that we see in not just our home soil but around the world. Internationally, we recognize brands such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nike. Getting these brands to reflect to the ever shifting tides of the international world is a task that takes careful consideration and time and a great deal of research and mastery over design, language, rhetoric, marketing and cultural sensitivity.

I remember some of my first interest in this chapter was sparked by a few stories I read of marketing campaigns failing in other countries for instance, Pepsi had a difficult time in China during the 1970s because Pepsi’s slogan of “Come Alive with Pepsi” which in Chinese loosely translated out to, “Pepsi brings your relatives back from the dead”. Another interesting case comes from Gerber in some regions of Africa had a difficult time selling their baby food to the locals since in Africa it is customary to print food packages with the labels of what the product contains, since Gerber prints a picture of a baby on each jar, that did not go over so well.

One of the more interesting aspects of global advertising was clearly outlined in Chapter 15, “The biggest unresolved issues in global advertising is still focused around a historical debate concerning standardization of all advertising versus adaptation of copy as well as strategies to local markets and tastes.” (McPhail 335) this is an issue I saw mostly while abroad last summer, despite the logos and brands still looking the same places such as McDonald’s in Austria the food that was served there was radically different from what we knew as typical McDonald’s fare in the States. Also Coca Cola for instance was the same, despite being the same brand, Fanta, Sprite, Pepsi, Coke the taste was the same and often times in multiple languages and the advertising around it did seem to reflect more local and regional concerns as I travelled around the European continent than with these brands stateside that reflect broad generalizations that seem to apply to every average American.

Brand and ad placement is a key aspect of marketing and one of the most interesting concepts following the idea of the electronic colonialism is the appearance of brand material in the most remote of locations. Coca Cola can be purchased in Tibet, Pepsi can be found in the Middle East. Nike can be found in Dubai and The New York Times is still one of the most well-known and respected newspapers globally. This inundation via advertising has become the wave on which electronic colonialism spreads its influence. These brands are markedly Western yet their influence globally is undeniable.

The spread of these brands is entirely based on income and growing power of the company. For example, there are various local stores and brands but they simply do not have the brand strength to survive internationally, like Dad’s Root Beer, a regional drink that is very popular in the US but lacks the strength to make it outside of at times not just its region yet alone internationally. These companies spend billions of dollars annually to place their ads in strategic places, such as these new cultural centers such as Dubai and Hong Kong also Tokyo and European centers of business like Berlin, Stockholm, London, and Paris.

This placement also acts as an agent of electronic colonialism when Western influence, in being Japanese culture club president, I’ve studied a bit into Japanese culture and one of the most upsetting things to the older generation of Japan is the appearance of Western culture and that burying effect that Westernization has over their traditional ways. The younger generation is eager to abandon the more traditional ways in favor of the increasingly socially acceptable Western ways and a large part of this Westernization is Western brands and ads becoming more recognizable internationally.

The idea of electronic colonialism also comes in to play because ad placement is a form of cultural replacement. By supplanting cultural norms like soda drinking and certain fast food affinities, these companies are actively changing the culture of whatever region is then being taken over and influenced by the West. As more traditional activities are replaced by more Western activities cultures are then lost and then become subject to this cultural domination known as a part of electronic colonialism.

The other more interesting concept of the chapter to me was the influence of Dentsu Inc. in Japan. Dentsu got its start in 1901 by Hoshiri Mitsuguna and founded it as an advertising company. In 1951 the company began to incorporate radio and television. They now have offices internationally and has over 15,000 employees, 6,000 clients including “Canon, Sony, Hitachi, Bell Atlantic, and Toyota.” (McPhail 344). I know about Dentsu because they produce a great deal of the anime that comes in from Japan to the US and I wasn’t quite aware of their power until I started looking at all the titles they represent such as Bleach and knowing that anime is only a small aspect of their influence and yet it was already a well-known name by the American anime fan. I also appreciated Dentsu’s company statement as “’Communications Excellence’” (McPhail 334).

What I took away from this chapter was mostly the concern that international ad placement is the concern for social tact. For example, in certain countries and cultures images and words are taboo. In Muslim countries Allah cannot be depicted so any advertising that would attempt to depict a religious figure or make a remark about religion would not go over well in the Middle East. And we have noted before that many companies have employed the name of God or religious concepts to sell products as common as soda and toothpaste.

Language also becomes a major concern as stated with my study of Japanese, in Japan there are at least 3 distinct dialects within that country and that country alone. As we discussed, there is a similar issue throughout Asia with all the countries and the various ethnic differences within each country, also for instance with China, just between Hong Kong and the over various provinces and parts of the country language and culture attitudes are vastly different.

Another issue impacting global advertising is the delicate balance of cultural consideration. There are a vast amount of gestures and phrases that cannot be said in various other countries that to an American would have no issue being stated. It requires a great deal of time, research and information to get all of cultural taboos of whatever target culture “for example, these agencies employ the latest in research including surveys, focus groups, knowledge management, and demographic analysis, so that foreign customers look to these agencies rather than to local, frequently small firms, which do not have the arsenal of services, staff resources, or highly educated professionals with MBA or PhD credentials, they would need in order to compete effectively.” (McPhail 337).

In conclusion, the role of advertising globally has become an agent of electronic colonialism and a new agent of gatekeeper theory. These brands and ads keep us culturally very similar and with that similarity comes domination and control over other cultures. While placing and working with ads internationally, marketers must be tactful and considerate of various sociopolitical and cultural factors, not to mention the consideration with language and gesture views along with connotation and denotation of the advertisement. As we continue to promote the global colony, advertising will change and as Westernization continues to sweep across the globe, the role of ads will change as well.

Works Cited

McPhail, Thomas L. Global Communication. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.


Tone and Diction in The Scarlet Letter

Chapter 2 of the Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne uses deep imagery and strong diction to set the tone for this chapter and subsequent chapters in the work. The setting of a prison yard in Puritan Boston is established quickly in the beginning of the chapter and the almost content eagerness the crowd in the prison yard had awaiting the execution “The grass-plot before the jail, in Prison Lane, on a certain summer morning, not less than two centuries ago was occupied by a pretty large number of inhabitants of Boston; all with their eyes intently fastened on the iron-clamped oaken door.” (Hawthorne 54). Strong, solid images of a prison yard are created from the simple phrase “iron-clamped oaken door.” (54) Hester Prynne, the woman standing accused is made a public spectacle and as Prynne “stood fully revealed before the crowd” ( 57) such diction is a strong indication for the humiliation and vulnerability facing all people who stood before a group of their peers before a public execution.

The diction used to describe the scarlet letter itself is artful and powerful, indicating the power the letter had in affecting how the public viewed Hester Prynne “It was so artistically done, with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy that it had all the effect of a last fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore…” (57). The scarlet letter itself was a fabled mark of Cain to Hester Prynne marking her sin and crime of adultery and the letter branding her unto death as an adulterer.

The last paragraph of chapter 2, Hester Prynne realizes the gravity of her situation after reminiscing on her childhood and past up until her arrival in Boston. “Could it be true? She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast, that it sent forth a cry; she turned her eyes downward at the scarlet letter, and even touched it with her finger, to assure herself that the infant and the same were real. Yes!-these were her realities-all else had, vanished.” (62) The quickness of the meter and the direct pauses create a sense of dread and urgency.

In conclusion the tone, diction and imagery in the second chapter of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter create a tone and setting of dread, misfortune and mounting regret through the use of solid imagery and diction help set the mood for this chapter and the remainder of the novel. Such methods have been used by authors for centuries to set stronger and more concrete settings and tones. The Scarlet Letter is filled with robust images and foreboding language to help set the overall mood of suspicion, regret and intolerance in Puritan Boston.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, and Ross C. Murfin. The Scarlet Letter: Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical, Historical, and Cultural Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Boston, Mass. [u.a.: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006. Print.

Reader Response Criticism-Romeo And Juliet

Reader response criticism gained popularity due to its staunch opposition to the Russian formalist style of analyzing literature. Reader response criticism places power in the reader and takes into heavy consideration the reader’s feelings and biases entering and during the reading of a piece of literature following the formula “Reader+Text=Meaning” (Bressler 74). Implying that meaning subjectively comes from the reader I plan to take a critical look at William Shakespeare’s classic play Romeo and Juliet focusing on its views of love and view of life in the Renaissance.

Romeo and Juliet is said to be one of the greatest works of classic literature and the epitome of romance writing. . Though now personally I find the work a bit over-dramatic and an unrealistic view of love and life in the time period but can understand how depending on the age group reading this work and the personal experiences of the reader can drastically effect how the work is viewed.

I first read Romeo and Juliet my freshman year of high school when I was 14 years old, the same age as Juliet. I was with an older gentleman and I was convinced very much like Juliet that we would be in love forever and that only death would tear us apart. That was my first encounter with the work, and at the time I believed that it was exactly how love is and how love worked. It was my inexperience and naivety like Juliet’s that lead me to feeling that way. It took the harsh realities of living that showed me that love and life is not and cannot be like that. One relationship should not be worth dying for at such a young age. But I recall watching this play in high school thinking that was exactly what love was. This is how it should be. A girl and boy should easily be willing to die for one another and to protect their love.

I am now 21 years old, have been through a few more relationships have had a few more life experiences under my belt and reading Romeo and Juliet again it was only met with pained groans and a heavy amount of cynicism. What had changed? Why had my heart that was so willing to accept the concepts of love at first sight and a love so passionate that one would be willing to lose their life over suddenly turned to stone? Is it possible that this work is only effective when the reader is young and willing to accept these possibilities?

I personally do enjoy the play, I love the language and the diction and found the humor marvelous, but I also found it soppy and overly dramatic. Despite me having a current boyfriend I would never dream of dying for him yet alone to think of suicide if something were to happen to him. But the play also brought up several other personal correlations into my real modern life. In growing up with the Southern tradition of debutante the aristocratic society does not for me seem so far off. In fact, it was quiet familiar. Dancing with people that you do not know, being concerned for the family name understanding that rank is the only thing and that there are some people you are simply not to associate with. I understand the fear of being associated with someone the family considers to be a threat or just unworthy.

There are other concerns I had with looking at Romeo and Juliet the fact that this play happens in such a short amount of time, the play is said to take place in only one week. In one week this couple meets, marries, has sex, and die for each other. I doubt that was how things moved in the Renaissance, despite it being a much faster pace to courting than we in modern times are accustomed to. The courting process then and even in the Southern debutante tradition could be anywhere from weeks to months, formally about three months, still hardly enough time to form a relationship with someone worth dying over. Especially considering that the man is usually several years older than the female and the poor girl is often only marrying to make her family proud in both traditions, Juliet’s mother herself said she was married off when she was younger than Juliet to her much older husband.

I have a hard time stomaching the idea that a couple in one week’s time was infatuated enough to die for within one week. Though the people of the time especially in the upper class did believe in the concept of love at first sight, one week is hardly enough time to decide that this is the person worth spending the rest of your life with and then ending your life over.

Love at first sight was a concept I was willing to accept until recently. And even is talking with others about the topic some are willing to admit that they believe in it and others scoff at the very idea. Perhaps the issue is societal. That when we are young we are willing to entertain the notion of extremes in love and our society allows it. As long as we are between the ages of 12-16 years old it is perfectly socially acceptable to be infatuated in such a way and to fall in and out of love so quickly not only that it is almost encouraged. As if our society knows that all it will take is that first serious break up to snap us back to our senses and back to the reality that this is not how life works. We then snap out of it and our hearts harden. We then cannot accept the idea of love at first sight and a love so strong and so fiery that we are willing to die for it or cannot live without it.

In closing Romeo and Juliet is a fantastic work of literature written by the world’s most famed playwrights. This is considered to a classic love story but has been met with increasing cynicism and skepticism about its relevance in today’s society. Enjoying this piece through reader-response criticism allows each reader to draw their own personal conclusions and be affected by their own personal biases which create a unique reading experience from person to person.