GRSJ 300: Culture Jamming Assignment

Original Ad

Original Ad Analysis

Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light brand released a campaign in 2015 called #UpForWhatever that seemingly aimed to promote that the consumption of their Bud Light beers will ready the consumers for a night of carefree fun. As a brand that attempts to encourage consumers to drink responsibly, such as launching the Bud Light Party Code that gives people tips on drinking responsibly, this campaign is controversial to their usual messaging. During the #UpForWhatever campaign, Bud Light also introduced revamped labels on their products with different short messages. The label that garnered the most negative attention read “The perfect beer for removing “no” from your vocabulary for the night”. This particular label is attached below. If #UpForWhatever leaves room for controversy to start with, the additional label messages further solidify what type of reckless “fun” Bud Light was promoting. The hashtag as a standalone campaign could have depicted the messaging to be of innocent fun. However, in conjunction with the labels, the hashtag now becomes problematic. Instead of promoting responsible behaviour, Bud Light is suggesting that consumers can be open to anything after drinking the beer. Given that the brand’s main consumers are young males, this campaign could contribute to the “boys will be boys” meme that is used as a prevalent excuse for “whatever happens”. With alcohol being abused by many people, especially in America where Bud Light is the number 1 beer brand nationally, there should not be more reason given by a beer giant to take consequences lightly. The concert crowd used in the advertisement appears to be an attempt by Bud Light to hide the implicit meaning of the campaign, which is much darker than a crowd enjoying alcoholic beverages in a controlled environment.

 

Jammed Ad

Jammed Ad Analysis

The jammed advertisement using the same message and hashtag aims to depict what popular scenarios result from irresponsible drinking. Sexual assault, aggression, and drunk driving are consequences that have long been associated with alcohol. Unintentionally, Bud Light is giving an avenue for such behaviour by saying its beers will help ready someone for “whatever happens”. This alteration will hopefully bring light to real, troubling consequences that stem from people having mindless fun after drinking irresponsibly. More often than not, mindless fun do not result in tame concert crowds like the original ad illustrates.

In rape culture, victim-blaming is a dominant reaction to sexual assault cases. This places the blame on the victim instead of the perpetrator. Using Bud Light’s main consumers to illustrate, even if sexual assaults could be initiated by women or men, “boys will be boys” if they have lowered self control from drinking alcohol and see a girl “dressed in a way that makes her deserve sexual attention”. He is up for whatever with the girl and Bud Light removes “no” from people’s vocabulary. For the boy, he won’t hear “no” as an answer. For the girl, “no” is not an answer.

In the crowd riot portion of the revised advertisement, I hope to reveal that people become more aggressive with the influence of alcohol. Bud Light is unwittingly giving people an excuse to blame it on the alcohol when they commit unacceptable acts.

Lastly, the opposition against drinking and driving is a longstanding conversation amongst alcohol companies and other societal organizations, such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). Unlike previous attempts by Bud Light to encourage drinking responsibly and not driving while under the influence, this #UpForWhatever campaign appears to work against their advocacy.

Be Careful What You “Tweet” For

Twitter logo.

Beware, people who tweet, your company can be using your recent tweets to decipher what kind of personality you have and it might determine whether you get the job or not! In the article, it is said that a people will be sorted into one of the Big Five personality traits and the words people use in their tweets will be used to determine the type of person they are.

The Big Five Personality Traits table.

For example, if someone uses the words “we”, “friends” and “family” frequently, then it is likely they are caring. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508757/Employers-use-personality-profiling-technology-analyse-tweets.html> Using this technique to screen potential employees could be very beneficial to the Human Resources sector as it can save time from extra interviews and it will allow employers to potentially do a “personality check” to see if the person will fit into the company’s culture.

Meryl Streep’s character interviews Anne Hathaway’s character in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”.

However, while this can benefit companies to hire better fitting employees, would opportunities be missed if a potential employee’s social media persona does not appear to match the company’s ideal employee persona? Granted nothing posted on social media is private, is it really ethical to sort through the employee’s private tweets? Utilizing this software can also help the company determine how to retain talents or appeal to potential employees; by understanding their personalities, the companies can ensure valency with their offered intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

All in all, with the MIS and BTM sector becoming more prevalent in the business field, everyone should be careful about what they post on social media; anything we say or show “casually” on these sites might determine our future!

 

Eye on the “Target”

A Target shop posing with a Canadian flag to signify it opening in Canada.

As Rachel Chan mentioned in her “”Target”-ing the right thing”, Target has not been satisfying Canadian customers as much as expected. Rachel has noted that one of the dissatisfying issues that customers have with Target is their “noncompetitive pricing”. However, a spokesperson from Target has declared that their prices will “be very comparable” against Walmart, their biggest big box store competitor. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/24/target-in-canada-clothing_n_2541766.html> Therefore, we must ask, is Target lacking points of parity with other big box competitors such as Walmart and Costco, or is this wave of customer dissatisfaction due to it being an American company entering a Canadian market?

One of Target’s biggest big box competitor- Walmart.

We must also consider that Target isn’t the first American company to receive resistance in establishing its brand in the market on Canadian soil. Walmart is a great example to illustrate this point. In fact, the Vancouver council originally voted against allowing Walmart to open store in 2005! <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/no-wal-mart-for-vancouver-1.543224> Despite the rough beginning, Walmart is now a successful company as well in Canada and is one of the reasons Target is experiencing a barrier to entry due to how successful Walmart is. To increase its presence in the market against Target, Walmart is opening “at least 37 additional supercentres” in Canada by the end of next January. <http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/walmart-to-open-37-supercentres-in-canada-as-target-enters-market-1.1124643> Against all this competition, Target does have its own points of differences, such as offering products that have never been on the Canadian soil, including: Nate Berkus’ decor line, designer collaborations, and their own Archer Farms food line.

The interior of a Canadian Target store.

Time will tell whether Target can prevail against all these obstacles posed by Canadian consumers and market and be as big of a competitor as Walmart Canada deems it to be.

Sex Can Sell, But Whose Pleasure Is It?

Picture from posters of the Broadway-hit turned movie “Chicago”. The intention of this photo shoot is to imitate the red light district where women display themselves in windows.

As Justin Uyeno mentions in his blog post “Sex sells, but is it ethical?”, he has said that the prostitution industry can be ethical if “[sex workers] exercise their own free will to join the industry”. <http://blogs.ubc.ca/justinuyeno/2013/09/11/sex-sells-but-is-it-ethical/> However, it should be questioned whether that statement is true, if the majority of sex workers truly do join the profession in their own will.

Globally, there are many “red light districts” located around popular cities, such as France and Amsterdam. Women sell their body to make a living. In a way, this is not an “untapped market” as Justin Uyeno has said, but it is true that prostitution is illegal in many parts of the world as well.

Women posing in windows in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

In a recent event, a campaign group against modern slavery (and human trafficking) pretended to be sex workers in Amsterdam’s red light district and brought on a performance in the windows that shocked many onlookers. The audience at first thought it was a nice treat, but were stunned when a projected message that reads “Every year, thousands of women were promised a dance career in Western Europe. Sadly, they end up here” appeared. The article and video can be found here <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2411812/Men-cheer-dancing-half-naked-women-Amsterdams-red-light-district-shocked-anti-trafficking-ad.html>. This brings us to ponder about whether prostitution can truly be ethical. How many “willing” women enter this industry due to their own free will without having reached an unpleasant ultimatum or without deceit? The demand will always be high since sex is “one of the oldest professions” as stated by Justin, but we have to consider many factors of why the supply is remaining high as well.

Here is a video clip from the movie “Moulin Rouge” that was filmed in the actual Moulin Rouge in Paris’ popular red light district. Can Can From Movie “Moulin Rouge”

Too Much Ivory, ” Western Black Rhino Is Officially Extinct”

A western black rhino photographed with her calf. A picture that can never be taken again.

Due to poaching over many years, the population of rhinos have been declining drastically, with numerous species now extinct or near the brink of extinction. One of the most recently extinct species is the Western Black Rhinos. This specie was heavily hunted in the early 20th century for their horns (ivory).

<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2490777/Western-Black-rhino-officially-extinct-Northern-White-Javan-rhinos-follow-unless-conservationists-warn.html>

A dead Western Black Rhino with its horn removed.

It has been said that if more effort were put in for conservation, perhaps the fate of these extinct/near extinction species could be very different. However, the root cause is due to poaching. As business people who believe in creating shared value, there are things that we can do to help animals who are poached for their ivory. For example, ivory are mainly used for jewelry, medicine, ointment, or simply decoration. (http://www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/threats_to_rhino/poaching_for_traditional_chinese_medicine) Those are things that can be substituted with a multitude of other products that contain similar “ingredients”! Entrepreneurs can see this as a “painkiller” start up idea and come up with ways to replace the use of ivory in the aforementioned products; this is an issue that is bugging the world right now, and horns will be missing in the future if the extinction of rhinos keep increasing. If entrepreneurs can provide a commendable solution to this issue with products that will satisfy the same customer needs, the market can become more sustainable and ethical.

Are Disney’s Female Employees Really Living In a Place Where “Dreams Come True”?

Walt Disney’s logo, picture version.

In a public article that gained the attention of many over the summer, a female Disney employee told her story where she was blamed for being raped by a male employee by a certified counselor and a personnel in Employee Relations from the company.

<http://www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/disney-rape>

As a company who prizes its culture to provide a rewarding, inclusive, and supportive work environment (http://disneycareers.com/en/working-here/culture-diversity/), Disney’s treatment of this incident certainly causes controversy. With the company’s Human Resources division appearing to trivialize sexual harassment towards the female employees, this can lead to the reduction of employee’s affective commitment, job satisfaction, and lead to the creation of employee deviation and unethical practices in the workplace. On another angle, such dismissive actions by the counselors and personnel from Employee Relations may not reflect the overall attitude of Disney’s treatment of such cases. Their actions could have been influenced by their own cultural background, beliefs, values, and experiences. However, it is disappointing that Disney did not take more measures to help this victim.

Additionally, this blogger commented on the above case and also compiled other situations where it shows that Disney does have a tendency to put sexual harassment blames on victims. Her input is useful as it validates the original article I found and adds more insight into the situation. <http://bellejarblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/disneys-rape-problem/>

“Anonymous” Hackers Target Town After Dropped-Sexual Assault Case

http://nation.time.com/2013/10/14/hackers-target-town-after-dropped-sexual-assault-case/?iid=tsmodule

A 14 year-old girl, Daisy Coleman, was raped by a 17 year old boy, Matthew Barnett, who comes from a prominent family in Maryville. Astonishingly, although non-consensual sex was proven, the court dropped the case and the entire town turned on the Coleman family, resulting in their house being “suspiciously” burned down. When hacker group, “Anonymous” heard about this incident, they decided to target Maryville with the intention to “stand for the victim”.

This is the logo of the Anonymous hacker group. Another incident they are famous for is their threat to hack the Westboro Baptist Church which could be found here <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359376/Hackers-threaten-Westboro-Baptist-Churchs-website-spewing-hate.html>

Hacker groups are great threats to any database, whether it be a town’s or a company’s. With the growing MIS and IT sector in business, it is in a company’s best interest to keep the databases protected. Like natural disasters, hacking incidents are unpredictable and extremely corruptive. Although companies can create backup storage for data to minimize damage from natural disasters, how can they shield themselves from hackers? However, it does appear that after companies, such as Apple and Adobe, are hacked, their stock value rises, showing that customers who are loyal to the company do not seem to sway even after a hacking attack. <http://www.danielmiessler.com/blog/how-does-getting-hacked-actually-affect-company-value>

Couple Incensed as Air Canada Overbooking Continues

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/couple-incensed-as-air-canada-overbooking-continues-1.1894951

An airline makes profit by selling its services to satisfied customers, and in such a competitive industry, Air Canada’s lack of ethic in regards to treating their customers and their agents puzzles me. In a service oriented industry, where is Air Canada’s parity when their customer service is deemed appalling? With West Jet and many other competitors thriving and offering similar travel routes, Air Canada does not offer unique distinctiveness that cannot be paralleled. By mistreating its customers and neglecting the consequence of their actions, whether it is to the company itself or to the lives of the customers, Air Canada is endangering its reputation among its target audience that will prove difficult to salvage. As a pilot, I have “insider knowledge” about the dissatisfaction among the Air Canada pilots, especially in terms of pay and length between promotions. A company’s personnel are their most valuable assets, yet Air Canada does not appear to be particularly concerned about their satisfaction. Further strengthening my point, the article states that agents are upset by the company’s act of overbooking and turning passengers away due to its own indiscretions. How does Air Canada expect to be a leader in the airline industry when they offer such poor service to customers and their own employees?

Rainbow Oreos Sparking Internet Outrage

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/how-this-gay-oreo-sparked-internet-outrage/article4374318/


Last year, Kraft’s Oreo sparked an Internet outrage when it replaced its white icing with rainbow coloured ones to show support for world Pride in its advertisements. Many homophobic consumers expressed their apparent disgust and anger towards the colourful fillings on social media, primarily Facebook. 

 

However, instead of thinking that the Facebook uproar has caused detrimental effects for Oreos, I agree with the author of the article that it was a brilliant marketing strategy. Like the old saying: “any publicity is good publicity”, Oreos was able to gain the attention of many people who may not have originally been interested in the sugary cookie. By showing its support of a global celebration/issue, Oreos, and its mother Kraft, can create a deeper sense of relation between customers and producers. A disappointment that I found was that Kraft does not actually plan to sell rainbow coloured Oreos in the market; it was purely a marketing campaign. Creating this much fuss over a proposed product is a great opportunity for the company to expand its product line, especially when the cost to producing extra coloured icing is presumably small and the it can further distinguish itself from other cookie brands by showing its support for equality every time someone sees a pack of Oreos in an aisle.

Harvard University Offers Free Tuition to Low Income Families

http://politicalblindspot.com/harvard-university-offers-free-tuition-to-low-income-families/ 

 

As one of the most prestigious Universities in the world that has been competing for the global number 1 spot for years, Harvard is finally matching its biggest American competitors, such as Yale and Stanford, in offering free tuition to low income families. (e.g. Yale: http://admissions.yale.edu/financial-aid-prospective-students) Harvard’s selling points have consistently been its reputation for giving a high quality education, being a leader in the Ivy League, and the success of their graduates; affordability, albeit there are existing financial aid options, is not exactly the first thing that pops into mind when discussing Harvard in a casual dinner conversation. As a consequence, Harvard has positioned itself as a more “rich people’s path and poor people’s dream”, since most students coming from low income families are struggling to meet the financial demand or are in considerable debt from loans.  With the help of this newly implemented financial aid options, I believe Harvard can expand its target market and allow a broader audience to become appealed to the school as price wouldn’t be one of the factors to deter students from a Harvard education. Harvard education. Also, another benefit for the school would be the student portion of the stakeholders would feel a stronger affective commitment towards the school.