Blog Post #3: Hidden Messages in the Content

I chose key concept #4: content. Basically, all media have subdued messages, no matter the type, format, or genre. Furthermore, old standing social ideas,continually purveyed in the media, maintain a stronghold of current messages. By questioning the pervasive messages, consumers can make better decisions by considering several fundamental notions:

  • behaviours, consequences

  • audience that identifies the most

  • questions elicited

  • values

  • political, economic ideas

  • worldviews


Immediately after reading question #4, I searched “World Best Commercials”. Viewing mostly humourous clips, I started questioning the hidden messages, the subtle ones built foundationally in the story. For example, a popular commercial called “The Old Spice Guy” shows an African-American, fit man describe how woman’s man can smell better; during the shot, magical things happen like shifting from a shower to a boat, turning an oyster into diamonds, to ending on a horse. The subtle message, for me, said men need to have muscular bodies, provide rich opportunities (e.g. yacht trips), buy jewelry, and create romantic opportunities (e.g. horseback) to be in a successful relationship with a woman.

The Old Spice Guy
The Old Spice Guy

Teaching in a middle school, I find youth are most susceptible to these body image messages. For example, normal youth will body hair, that for health reasons are not encouraged to workout and lift weights until 16 or 17. Since most often my audience is middle schoolers, I want to be very aware of the key messages I am purveying through the digital content:

  • What hidden messages could be perceived?

  • How would a middle schooler react to this on a good day? a bad day?

  • How does one feel after viewing my digital content?

  • Are there any value systems that I am questioning by creating this content?

Using a tool such as google forms, a student survey (after viewing content) gives students an opportunity to share insights, feelings, and ideas about the content they have consumed.

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