Author Archives: NoraBillingsley

Culture Jam

Part I/II

This ad was found in the magazine Country Living, October 2018. Based on the content in the magazine, I would assume that the target market for this magazine is principally middle-class women with families, since the majority of the articles are about children, crafts, family, and home décor. This ad for children’s “Fruit Refreshers” fits the assumed profile of the reader.

The ad shows children that are about to break a group of vases with a bowling ball, with a chalk note that reads “Mom, now that we have your attention”. It seems that the children are attracting the mother’s attention about Fruit Refreshers by threatening to break her vases. The scene of this is set in a front yard with a large walkway and a white picket fence. For this analysis, I will assume heterosexual parents which I believe to be a good assumption based on the ad and magazine.

Many stereotypes about gender roles, values, and parenting are at play in this ad that are problematic. First, we see that the children use the threat of broken vases to attract the mother’s attention. Vases are a feminine and breakable home décor item and from this ad we can assume that the mother must place a great value on vases if the children have chosen this item as a threat. The high value the mother places on her vases falls into a stereotype of femininity and the values that women appear to hold in this ad. We can also see that the children are appealing to their mother, and not father or other adult for the drink, which demonstrates that the parenting burden often placed on women. The ad also portrays  women as the primary person who does the grocery shopping which demonstrates the assumption that women preform most household chores. The ad is problematic because it falls into tropes of women as main parent of the children, as the one to perform household chores, and to value feminine materialistic objects above all else.


In my jammed work, I used apocalyptic imagery that allows for a similar message but has fewer negative stereotypes about women. As I argued in Part II, my main critique of the ad is that is uses stereotypes about parenting, and gender to sell the product – a fruit juice. In the original ad, the kids draw their mother’s attention to their desire for fruit juice by threatening to break her vases. This portrayal of motherhood and female values is based on negative and restrictive stereotypes about gender.

So instead of a mother being upset about vases, I chose an apocalyptic scene where a mother should be worried about her children because they are about to destroy the food source. In my scene, there is fire around the children and instead of vases, I have used food and water. Here, I make a remark on the absurdity of a mother caring so much about her vases that she will buy her children juice. In mine, I do not fall into gender tropes of women as someone who cares about materialist “pretty” things above all else. Instead, I use a situation that any parent would care about – the threat of destroying the only food in an apocalypse.

However, I think there are still problems with the ad that I did not “solve” with my jamming. The use of child actors to sell products is potentially unethical, depending on who is benefiting from the money received for the acting. If the parents are benefiting, that could considered child labour. Further, at the end of the day, the children are still asking their mother for a product, which still falls into the trope of a mother as the primary person who does the grocery shopping. This jammed work is an improvement, but there are still problematic aspects.