The new face of second hand smoking by Darnell

The advertisement I chose was one that seemed the most powerful out of all options I had to choose from, but not necessarily the most effective. It is a print advertisement with a young child. At first glance I thought that his head was covered in a plastic bag of some sort, but after enlarging the picture I saw that it was smoke that looked like a plastic bag and figured out it was an advertisement against smoking. The obvious idea is that smoking is killing children through second hand smoke, but this advertisement went further than that which is where I think they might have gone too far. The idea of putting a bag over a child’s head, suffocating them, is a highly negative image which will affect most if not all viewers.

Also the child’s face is about as powerful as the smoke around his face. The expression is one of pain and agony. In general, society see’s children as happy, care free beings. Also, people tend to go out of their way in attempts to please children and make them happy. The image of an unhappy child is a powerful because unhappy children can easily be associated with unhappy adults. Another powerful aspect of the advertisement is the background. Its severe darkness surrounding the child brings a lot of negativity to the already negative message the advertisement has. The black background seems to suffocate the child on top of the smoky “bag” that is already “physically” suffocating him.

For smokers this image is very powerful and possibly effective, but I still feel it’s over the top. It portrays smokers as more than just killers, or people who affect healthy children. It makes them seem heartless and even mentally deranged to some degree. No sane person would think of putting a plastic bag over a child’s head. This image could affect smokers to make them feel like the act of smoking is very immoral and that they really need to stop. But through my observation, not many people smoke around children because they are aware of second hand smoke.

One of the descriptions of ideology that this image exemplifies is the second definition discussed in Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture which emphasizes that images can cause “false consciousness”(Storey 3), which is a text that “presents distorted images of reality” (Storey 3). In the ad that I choose the actual effect of second hand smoke on children is highly distorted. Comparing putting a plastic bag over a child’s head and the reality of what smoking actually does to a child’s health, if smoking is done near them, is not a viable one and can be seen as ineffective.

I’ve never thought of ideologies in popular culture but this class so far has caused me to realize and think about things more deeply and conceptually. I think the main way ideologies have affected me is in advertisements. Feeling like buying certain things will affect me in a certain way. I do feel like I am a major victim to consumer culture. And though this class I realize that I am affected by advertisements and that most people are affected on way or another whether it is people giving in to an advertisement to buy products, or people completely avoiding certain products because of their advertisements. Either way the advertisement is somehow memorable and effective.

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