Subtle messages

After watching the ‘Bounty’ advert several more times I noticed something I had missed the first few times of viewing, and that is that in the advert it is only Brenda and Audrey who are in colourful clothes all the other guests at the wedding seem to be in a very bland mix of white, gray and black. This could be me just looking to closely into the advertisements or it could be a subtle message that draws the viewers in without them realizing. (10-11-09)

 I believe the message we are getting form this choice to dress only Brenda and Audrey in colourful clothes, is that so us the viewers will clearly point them out when there is more characters on-screen and also to not let us get lost in the story. Without doing this the viewer could easily forget what they are watching as the advert is a comedy and not take on board the importance of the advertisement which is to sell Bounty kitchen roll.

Subtle messages:


  • Figure-ground reversals: Visual and auditory perceptions can be separated into foreground and background. The background however often goes unnoticed, hidden from the conscious mind. This is especially the case in the realms of television and the internet, where images and scenes come and go and change frequently. The unconscious mind, however, picks up the background as has been demonstrated in studies on hypnosis. What is the case for visual perceptions is also the case for sound.
  • Embedding: The insertion of words or images (often of the body) by use of shadows or shading. EKG and EEG changes were demonstrated in subjects who viewed objects with embeds in them.
  • Double Entendre: Double meaning
  • Low-intensity light & low-volume sound: Similar to embedding
  • Lighting & Background Sound: These are carefully structured to initiate a specific response such as suspense, laughter, anger, fear, etc.
  • Repetition: of jingles/songs, of product name, and of social engineering concepts such as consumption, etc.
  • Tight shots: Camera angles that provide close-up shots of a subject, focusing not on the whole, but a small part of the whole. Often used for emphasis &/or drama.
  • Metaphor: The blending of words, sounds, and images to suggest similarity between two or more otherwise different things.
  • Alliteration
  • Humor
  • Oxymoron

Cognitive Dissonance

Mouthwash commercials are not about bad breath. They are about the need for social acceptance and, frequently, about the need to be sexually attractive. Beer commercials are almost always about a man’s need to share the values of a peer group. An automobile commercial is usually about the need for autonomy or social status… (10-11-09)

They are, generally, unaware of the extent to which they are manipulated, managed, and conditioned by media, governments, leaders, and institutions that serve the vested interests of their political-social-economic systems.

Key, Wilson Bryan, The Age of Manipulation, pg 95

The people who watch more and know less don’t necessarily know they are being politically massaged or how media manipulation has become so invisibly institutionalized. They don’t know that dumb-ing down is not just an incidental effect of the way many media outlets operate but a reflection of conscious and calculated policies of down-market targeting.

Schechter, Danny, The More you Watch the Less you Know, pg 73

After looking both in books and online I have found many ways of teaching how to use subtle messages, and this to me has proven that the decision to have Brenda and Audrey in colourful clothes and the others in dull clothes was no coincidence.


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