This week in lectures we discussed how ‘the image cannot lie’, referring to signs and semiotics. Many advertisements contain these signs and controversies so as to stand out and be remembered. The advertisement I have chosen to analyse is a part of an ad campaign from Georgia USA on child obesity, put out by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
I personally found these ad sets completely offensive, and therefore as a highly controversial set of images, I chose to deconstruct them for this weeks assignment. The one I chose to focus mainly on was the image of the girl, which reads “WARNING – it’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not.”
The signifiers and signified included in this image include: the issue of obesity, the fact that it’s a black and white image; which conveys no happiness and even perhaps no hope for the child. Also, the salient image of the red writing suggests that it’s not acceptable to be overweight, as the colour red is usually associated with danger. Furthermore the girl’s body language; her arms crossed and facial expressions of a blank, sad stare, indicates her isolation due to her weight.
There was a quote in the article the set of images originally came from which I found very ironic, as they refer to the expressions of the children as “bullied faces”, when the photo and the statement in fact is doing just that, by singling them out as obese, they are hurting the exact people that the ads are aimed at.
Furthermore, another quote from the article “It’s very provocative and makes people uncomfortable, but it’s when people are uncomfortable that change comes” really stood out to me and my friend Caitlin when discussing it in our tutorial this week, as the advertisements are not stating facts – like other “provocative” ads such as the visual TV advertisements on smoking; but are offensive and shaming to these children and others like them. In conclusion, I don’t see anything wrong with a controversial advertisement to catch the viewers attention and stick in their mind. But when it goes past the ‘factual’ and into the downrightly offensive, I think the motive behind the images needs to be re-evaluated.
(Some other images from the ad campaign)
Thanks for reading!