The advertising industry plays an important role in conveying messages to different societies. While advertising is referred to as an “archetypal American service industry” (Faulconbridge et al, 49), it's now become an important element in any society. For instance, many organizations around the world have been using advertisement to advance their cause. An example of which are women’s organization that aims to achieve equality for women from all over the world, one advertisement is exemplified in Image 1 which can seen at the end of this paper.
There are many public campaigns about the social issue of women’s rights, but this advertisement is simple yet has a very strong message. At first glance, one is drawn to a pair of a woman’s beautiful eyes, and the white letterings which read, ‘some things can’t be covered fighting women’s abuse together’. And a second look at those beautiful eyes showed that the woman had a bruise in the left eye. The woman wore a veil that showed only her eyes, yet the veil was not enough to cover her bruised eye. The reader is left wondering how many more bruises were inflicted on the woman’s body, and how long had she been suffering and had it hidden under her apparels. What made this advertisement attractive is its simplicity, yet it was able to convey a thousand messages about women’s sufferings and how we should act towards it.
A closer examination of advertisement leads one to realize the meaning of the black veil. It has an important cultural implications, especially for Muslim women who were required by their culture to wear them in most occasions. However, for some audiences, it represented women’s lack of freedom, for instance, in some cultures, some women were required to wear either a black or a white colored veils. In the examination of the advertisement, the veil, or the hijab exemplified women’s lack of freedom in some societies. For example, some cultures forced their women to wear hijab, thus violating their basic human rights to decide for themselves.
The words, ‘something can’t be covered’, fighting women’s abuse together’ clearly showed the call to act about stopping violence against women. It can be inferred from the overall advertisement that violence against women are often not visible, especially in societies where it was customary and accepted for husbands or men to beat women.
The Poison Tree
The poem entitled Poison Tree poetically described the feeling of a person who was angry with a friend. The angry person opened up about his feelings towards his friend and the anger eventually faded. This line of William Blake’s poem showed that effective communication is important in settling misunderstanding between individuals. There are many relationships that disintegrated because of the failure of people to communicate.
In another aspect of the poem, the concern is different because it described a situation where the person is angry with an enemy. What made it worse is that the person did not talk about his anger. While some people might say that it is understandable that a person will not talk about his feelings with an enemy, the silence further aggravated his rage. This shows that anger, should still be expressed because an unexpressed rage can harmful as can be interpreted on the next part of the poem.
In the second quatrain of the poem, the writer made a comparison of anger and the poison tree. At this instance, the narrator explained that he allowed the anger to grow and even took the time to cultivate it, even without communicating with his enemy. The act of nurturing the tree is compared to allowing the anger to grow more. Metaphorically, the narrator’s anger turned out into an appealing apple, which the enemy so desires. In the final part of the poem, the enemy ate the fruit of the poison tree and died. What strikes the reader is the fact that the narrator felt good about the death of another human being. The poem serves to tell us that nurturing anger is not good, and people should not allow feelings of resentment stay inside them for long. That is, feelings of anger should be expressed positively and this can be done through an effective communication.
Discussion of the Image and the Poem
Advertisements can be interpreted according to the cultural perspective of a person. For example, in image 1, a quick glance at the image would lead the viewer to think about women in Arab countries. While the advertisement speaks of fighting abuse against women in all parts of the globe, using a woman’s image covered by jihad stimulates more attention because of the idea that women in most Arab countries do not enjoy as much freedom and equality compared to women in western countries. Accordingly, image 1 can be referred to as a high context form of communication because by just looking at the image alone, one can immediately recognize the message or information based on the physical context (Lin et al, 435).
Creativity is expressed in many forms of advertisements, and often, the creativity used in poems can be observed in the manner by which advertisements are developed. In the case of the Poison Tree, the narrator artistically compared anger to that of a tree. For a non-poetic person, that comparison does not come as easily. However, there are people such as William Blake, who were just gifted with the ability to come to craft a meaningful poem effectively. The creativity used in constructing a poem can be compared to that if the creative ability in coming up with a persuasive advertisement. The manner of interpreting advertisements and poems are said to be similar. That is, we as viewers “are affected and stimulated before we intellectually process experiences and events” (McStay, n.p). For example, in reading the Poison Tree, the reader is generally more concerned about the message of the poem than the letters composing it. This is similar in interpreting advertisements, where people are usually stimulated foremost by the message. There are instances, however, when works of art, such as those used in advertisements “are not accessible at all times to all viewers; sometimes what they communicate simply doesn’t seem important and at other times it doesn’t register” (Rissatti, 77). However, in the case of image 1 as exemplified in this paper, it was able to stimulate emotion, especially so on the concern about women’s welfare. According to some studies, the aesthetic meaning of an image is a product of mental images which are generally “composed of a complex web structure of neurons in conjunction with emotional reinforcement” (Xenakis et al, 2). That is, aside from the cognitive analysis of an image, there is also the emotional feedback that makes the message of an image lasts.
While poetry and advertising are thought to be a different element, both are aimed at conveying a message. The poem The Poison Tree was intended to let the reader realize the negative impact of unexpressed anger, on the other hand, image 1 wanted to encourage cooperation and unity in fighting abuse against women. While poetry only needed the letters to communicate its meaning, advertisements needed the combination of many elements such as words, colors, and images among others. Accordingly, poetry is an expression of verbal art as well as the writer's emotions, while advertisements carry diverse meaning that may not be associated with the creator of the ad itself.
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Faulconbridge, James, Peter Taylor, Corinne Nativel, and Jonathan Beaverstock. The Globalization of Advertising: Agencies, Cities and Spaces of Creativity. Routldege, 2010. Print.
McStay, A. Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process. Routledge. 2013
Risatti, H. A Theory of Craft: Function and Aesthetic Expression. University of Carolina Press. 2009
Xenakis, I., Arnellos, A., Spyrou, T., Darzentas, J. Modelling Aesthetic Judgement: An Interactive-semiotic Perspective. Cybernetics and Human Knowing 19 (3)