GSRJ 300 – Culture Jam Assignment

Analysis of the Advertisement 

I chose this advertisement because it hits close to home. Not only have I struggled with acne all my life, even until now, but I’ve also been a former Proactiv consumer. This advertisement is capitalizing on the insecurities of people in a very disturbing and inappropriate way – especially teenagers and young adults who are learning to be confident and developing their self-esteem. Why should a common skin condition be problematized negatively? Acne is the most common skin concern in North America, let alone the entire world. Not only does it affect over 50 million North Americans but 95 per cent of all people will experience acne at some point in their lives. As someone with first-hand experience, it is safe to say that the stigma around acne and those who struggle with it takes a huge toll on one’s mental health. In recent years, there’s been a lot of positivity and movements around people’s body image – a push to change cultural perceptions of beauty and health. This advertisement specifically targets people’s vulnerability. Proactiv is leveraging consumers’ emotions and how personable the ad is. Skincare companies aren’t only profiting from people’s insecurities, but it is evident that they are also the ones creating the insecurity. Proactiv is a company that was first introduced in the mid-90s. The main target markets are teenagers and young adults through regular TV commercials and ad placements in magazines. Ads like this are implying the idea that the sole reason for being single is due to acne, especially when it is evident to be targeting heterosexual young women with the use of pink text. It is magnifying the idea and emotions a girl or guy may already be experiencing due to acne. I can admit that this is exactly how I felt as a teenager.

Explanation of my Jammming Recreation 

I recreated the Proactiv advertisement by blending the ads, i.e. making one applicable to everyone as the original ad comes off heteronormative. I changed the original slogan completely and rewrote it in the most direct way. “Got Acne” is replaced by “Self-esteem” because the goal that is being achieved by these skincare companies is to make the consumer relate to the emotions that already exist. In this case, our physical appearance is tied to the outcome of relationships in our lives, no matter your sexual orientation. On a deeper level, it is how our image reflects our unconfidence. As people, we judge ourselves more than others do and this is exactly what this ad is taking advantage of. The issue I’m trying to magnify is that regardless of whether you’re male or female, everyone has insecurities about their appearance, thus it should not be generalized. Historically speaking, women have played a bigger role in being “perfectionist” and upholding images to fulfill the expectations of others. I believe it goes both ways as men grow a bigger ego and find validation through being validated by people who find them attractive. The role both genders play in each other’s lives is evident in how they find approval for themselves. I believe the collective culture we are working towards is one where these concerns could be promoted in an uplifting way instead of problematized and looked down on. This makes it seem that those with this trait are seen as the lowest of the food chain. Instead of feeding on the profits made through bullying, companies like Proactiv would be succeeding if they chose to impact positively. I would have recreated this ad to say: “You study hard, you work hard and you train hard. Now take control of your skin – Progressively”. We don’t achieve success overnight and realistically speaking these products won’t clear us up overnight either. Things always taster sweeter when we work for it. Consumers will also invest more if they can sense the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the power of marketing.



Ann, Lee, et al. “Acne By the Numbers: 9 Surprising Acne Statistics.” Acne By The Numbers: 9 Surprising Acne Statistics and Treatment Ideas [INFOGRAPHIC],

Diply. “We Can’t Understand How These 28 Sexist Ads Were Ever Approved.” Diply, Diply, 28 July 2017,

Relaxnews. “The Social Stigma Surrounding Acne Could Be Ruining the Well-Being for Sufferers.” CTVNews, CTV News, 1 Oct. 2018,

What Happens When Everyone Drops the Ball?

As the first semester is wrapping up, I feel that I’m more stressed than ever with assignments and projects jumbled all due on the same day. Marketing has been a fun course but I’m dissatisfied in terms of the group project. Unlike my COMM 292 team, this team does not function the same. After just submitting the final assignment of the 30% project, I wanted to start reflecting on my contribution in causing such a terrible group experience.

Reading Eric’s blog on “The Failure of Team-Building Exercises” gave me more insight on not only how I played a role in this project but also what could have been improved to prevent some of the things that went on.

In terms of team-building exercises, I have to disagree with him because I believe having a strong bond and connection with a temporary team is the foundation of good teamwork later on. For example, the Fantasy Project helped my group become more personal and familiar with each other in a short span of time, whereas my marketing group did not go through a good team bonding session. We just got right off the bat to work. Even in terms of dividing work up, I think it’s crucial to know each team member’s strengths and in terms of which parts they are confident in working on.

Throughout my marketing project, I had been the sole leader AND follower as I not only led the project but I was also the one working on it myself. I have to agree with Eric on the fact that teams work more effectively when there is an established share of leadership. This is exactly what my marketing team lacked. Even when I gave everyone a chance to shine bright and show leadership in their specialization, I felt that no one really cared about the outcome of our project. What held us back was that we did not share a collective goal so I ended up carrying the whole team.

What realized from this failure group project is that there is no set formula for creating a successful team, although I applied the same skills I had learned in COMM 292 and used in my COMM 292 group. There was no sense of teamwork which the textbook says “we believe that the greatest value is realized when we work together”.

  1. The Failure of Team-Building Exercises: Eric Ng

2. Langton, Robbins, Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, p. 79


Redefining Success

The pursuit of success is a natural human drive and as humans, we all desire success in one form or another. I’ve always felt that my definition of success has been different from the status quo of words associated with success: “achieves, desires, aims and attains then accomplished”. Society puts too much emphasis on the outcome, and base off how successful someone is by what they’ve accomplished.

To me, success is a journey and this journey can only be called “success” if the foundation starts with happiness. Growing up we’ve been taught that achieving specific milestones of success will make us happy, but the greater truth is that success does not create happiness. It is happiness that creates success.

Unfortunately, the textbook does not define success nor happiness. Thus, I want to bring this matter to attention as I believe that it is very crucial to the topic of Organizational Behaviour because no matter how well an organization is managed, it will not succeed under the condition that it doesn’t consist of happy employees. The reason I say this is because I remember reading an article (1) about the toxic culture at Amazon and how unhappy and pressured its employees constantly felt. I’m sure it is easy to fulfill the needs on the building blocks of Maslow’s Hierarchy (2) but I’ve never once believed that this pyramid = happiness.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Recently, I picked up a book called The Happiness Equation, written by Neil Pasricha (3). He focuses on how most “successful” people aren’t truly happy people. They’re successful in terms of how others perceive them but the inner truth is that there are no feelings of reward. My favourite chapter so far is Secret #1: The First Thing You Must Do Before You Can Be Happy. Being happy is often easier said than done and this isn’t because our brains can be wrapped around negative thoughts, but it is that we fear these negative thoughts will take away our happiness.

I love how Aristotle said “happiness depends upon ourselves” , but I’ve always wondered, how do we get there? I am intrigued by how Neil answers this through a quote: “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens and 90% how I react to it”. In others words happiness is an attitude, it is less an event and more an ongoing state of mind and a way of focusing on the picture at large because success isn’t made up of “happy moments” but rather a more positive outlook on all moments.

I believe it is important to address this topic of well-being when managing an organization in terms of culture, as this is highly interrelated to intrinsic motivation and many other self-factors that create a successful organization. To end it off my definition of success is holistic. Success can only be success if we begin, and end off with a big smile while being wholeheartedly happy.


  1. Spicer, A. (2015, August 17). The tragedy behind Amazon’s toxic management fad | Andre Spicer. Retrieved November 25, 2016, from
  2. Langton, Robbins, Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, p. 130.
  3. Pasricha, Neil, Putnam, The Happiness Equation.

What is Your Home?

I recently watched a TED talk video on “Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating” (1). That’s a little ambiguous to throw out here, but the main point of the video focused on the process of identifying our inner motivation. Some people may fail a million times then lose their directional motivation, while others who have succeeded may have a harder time at grasping their next big goal.

While trying to absorb this all in, I realized that I too am stuck in figuring out my next big goal. And the biggest problem I have to admit is that I can no longer feel a motivational strength in me. Rewind back to a year ago when I felt unhappy and dissatisfied with my life, at least then, I had that fire in me that pushed me to do all that I can in order to change the state I was in and get to where I am today. A year later, feeling somewhat “rewarded” or maybe “successful”, my trade-off ended up being losing my flame.

In the textbook, motivation is described as “the intensity, direction, and persistence of effort a person shows in reaching a goal” (2). Especially after watching this TED talk, I found this rather vague of a definition. Questions arose in my mind, such as “What is the prequel to feeling motivated?”, “How do we remain persistent?”, or “Where and/or how can one find that feeling before becoming intrinsically motivated?”.

Not only did I find Elizabeth Gilbert’s (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) example tremendously empowering, but it also answered my questions.

We find our motivation by going back to the very beginning, the initial person we were and the feelings we felt during our times of value. It helps us understand what defines our “home” because that is what ultimately inspires, and encourages us to chase after our dreams. Our home could be anything we can think of, as long as we know that we love our “home” more than we could ever love ourselves. I believe this is essentially the remedy to keeping our flames burning and striking our continual motivation to achieve the next big thing. Thanks to Elizabeth, I’ve realized what my home is and I’m more than confident in chasing after for it.

  1. Gilbert, Elizabeth. “Success, Failures and the drive to keep creating.” TED Talk Conference, March 2014, Vancouver, BC.
  2. Langton, Robbins, Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, p. 128.

Rollercoaster Ride

While riding a rollercoaster –you may be screaming at the top of your lungs as your head is hanging down from the highest point, you may be crying as the wind forces itself on your face, or you may be laughing about how crazy that was by the end of the ride. A rollercoaster is the epitome of my emotions. Something that’s in and out of my control throughout the day and dependent on the situation.

After reading Aaron’s blog on Working Emotions it made me think of my experience while working at the UPS store this summer. I had the impression of a simple job with simple tasks as I laid foot into the store on my very first day. Everything seemed to have flown so well and being me, I faced everyone with a big smile on my face –was happy and enjoying my job because I felt that I had the knowledge to carry out each tasks to my fullest potential.

By the second to third week, that’s when it all hit me and my confidence was killed as my boss taught me how to print and customize special fliers–being the tech savvy person I assumed I was, I had information overload. I was expected to understand everything thoroughly off the bat while assisting in-store customers. Not only did I feel extremely bad about myself, but I also felt extremely overworked and pressured as we had gotten many printing orders via email. This pressure came mostly from myself, as a perfectionist I didn’t want to leave any trace of doubt that could backfire at me.

What I reflected from this experience is that it’s ok to feel scared and sad because everyone has to go through the learning process. It’s also important to pace yourself instead of setting a higher than achievable expectation.

  1. Working Emotions -Aaron Mak 
  2. Langton, Robbins, Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, p. 252.

The Paradox of Virtual Teams

Everything just so happens to be going on at the same time. Recently, just after wrapping up on the Fantasy Project, I started to focus on my marketing project for Comm 296. As everyone knows, there are certain fears you feel about before getting into a team like “are we going to work cohesively?”, “are we going to get along?”, “is she/he going to put in the effort?”, or questions like “I hope there aren’t any freeloaders”. I like how I’m able to look at the two teams I’m in and compare what’s effective and working out and what could be improved to help us succeed.

I noticed that the clear distinction between my two teams is that in Comm 292, we’re able to become good friends through a project meanwhile my Comm 296 is purely a temporary group that rarely talks regarding matters other than our common goal: the marketing project. This meant that a took a way longer time for us to become productive because no one was willing to start the conversation.

The punctuated-equilibrium model in Chapter 6 (1) was constantly in my mind because it is essentially a time-line for a team’s performance. I think it’s a really important aspect to look at during team evaluation because it allows each team member to see individually what they could do in their part to shorten phase 1 and contribute in ways to help the team be move to a more productive phase.

My Comm 292 team members are definitely more  cooperrative and our phase 1 was rather short. We were able to transition quickly because of how well we understood each other. Up until this point, I cannot think of any negative comments to say about each individual member or my team as a whole. The success I can identify in my Comm 292 group is that we have a trusting relationship, in which was formed through the fantasy project. In comparison to Comm 296, I had to take on a leader role, or else there would’ve been no progress and no contact for a whole week.

Since each of my projects are split into several parts, it will be more effective to continuously come back to the model evaluation.


  1. Langton, Robbins, Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, p. 216.

Unmotivating the Motivated

I was super interested in today’s class because not only did we talk about different motivational approaches, instead it reminded me of my work experiences. During the summer I took on two totally different jobs; they weren’t just different in the aspect of the work environment but more so the interaction between coworkers and employers. I worked at Hollister Co. as a Brand Representative and also a UPS Store.

At times I felt unworthy and not valued at Hollister. I wouldn’t exactly blame this on my manager, but she was the main source to my unhappiness. I felt targeted in that environment because while I’d been receiving positive feedback from other managers and even customers, she gave me an impression that I was never good enough. I felt a force of pressure as if she thought I didn’t know what to do/ how to do things/ didn’t like my job. There were times where I was even blamed for not knowing regulations that were never relayed to me.

After reading on Chapter 4, I felt that I understood how employers take different approaches. There is a section that talked about Theory X, which is a theory of human motivation and management. It defines it as “The assumption that employees dislike work, will attempt to avoid it, and must be coerced, controlled, or threatened with punishments to achieve goals.” I think this section did not mention the correct use of these motivational theories, and exactly who to use it on.

I don’t know if this is how my manager approached everyone -through the use of Theory X, but what I understand from reading the textbook and our in-class discussions is that these ways of motivation should only be used due to a certain reason, especially after a long period of observation. I am an intrinsic motivator, and I consider my accomplishments as a reward within itself.

Thinking about it now, the job itself wasn’t bad because I had the opportunity to expand my network and also interact with customers to enhance my communication skills. It was the way I was treated which made me reconsider why I’d still gone to work.

  1. Langton, Robbins, Judge, Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, p. 128.

Worst Job ?

I think everyone can agree that once you’ve worked retail once in your life, that’s going to end up being at the bottom list of your favourable jobs. I worked at the Hollister Co. in Pacific Centre for four months during the Summer. Although it was a short experience, I got a lot out of that job. The main reasons why I’d consider it my worst job experience is because:

  1. Lack of unanimity between the managers. For the most part all the managers were fair, nice/down to earth people, but I have to say one of the managers I had worked with gave me the hardest time. I was always super happy and cheerful when I go to work but whenever our shifts bumped, I’d going home feeling really bad about myself (for no apparent reason)
  2. The range of available tasks  and the management of duties. I noticed that the “seniors” always worked on cash, while there were a lot of people constantly folding clothes. If there was a better management of rotation everyone would feel energized and refreshed.
  3. Poor Management and lack of communication. I started working right before the new supervisors were hired and began training. There was never an announcement that the three new supervisors took on the manager role and would be in charge. I only worked twice a week so going into work having absolutely no clear of the changes was very frustrating. I was constantly took to “go ask ___, I’m not in charge”. It was as if they expected us to know everything off the bat.

Personality Traits

How Machiavellian Are You? 

average score: 25

my score: 20


Are You a High Self-Monitor?

high self-monitors: 53+

my score: 39


What’s Your EI at Work?

low EI: below 70

my score: 73



high narcissism: 17+

my score: 7 out of 40


Personality Traits’ Summary 

          Overall I think my personality test results came out to be relatively accurate compared to my expectation. I was a little surprised with the Self-Monitor result where I scored 39 compared to high self-monitors scoring above 53. I find myself as someone who is quite cautious about the present environment and I often adjust my appearance according to the situations I am in. For example, when I’m in an individual or group interview setting, I’m able to gather up the courage and put on a very confident face –I mean fake it til you make it right. Whereas, in a classroom environment I tend to keep quite (a bit shy, I might even say) even at times when I have thoughts to share. My EI and narcissism results came to be 73 and 7 respectively. There are some people who are able to identify the patterns and categorize people based on that, and upon knowing how certain people would react to things, they then know how to respond. I really envy people like that with such high EI and who are able to interact with people so easily, because often they’re very likeable as well. I personally think I’m very good at looking at things from other people’s perspective so in a group setting I’m able to understand why/where everyone’s opinions are coming from. I’m usually the “agenda” person who likes to stay on track and complete things ahead during group projects.




Spam prevention powered by Akismet