Monday, March 9, 2009

Symbolism of darkness

(It is hard to read, but the text on the bottom reads, "smoking isn't just suicide, its murder.")

This is a very persuasive and almost morbid anti-smoking advertisement. Let's take a different approach to analysis than we have in previous posts, shall we?

This is a very dark advertisement with a very dark message.

Is a black background appropriate?

Does the blackness in the ad present a specific mood?

What kind of symbolism does the black background have?
(use the explanation of the color black given in the previous post)

The answers to these questions can be quite personal... The dark nature of the ad can be interpreted as evil, as power, or even as emptiness. I am interested to hear your analyses.


Jhood21 said...

In many studies of symbolism, black commonly refers to death and negative energy. Archetypes throughout several famous novels and movies such as Star Wars and Lord of The Rings use black to refer to dark and devious things. ex. Darth Vader (Black suit/black eyes)

I think the black background is extremely effective. It symbolizes death and the coming of death. This might too deep of an interpretation but the idea of this campaign is to make smoking look as deviant and evil as possible. hence, "If you smoke, your inevitably 'suffocating' your own or someone else's child."

for the love of frank said...

i got black-lung from it.

it's suffocating, to be sure. pressing in, not maintaining distance, not a background. it's creeping in like an ominous mist. a dark cloud. about to smother the boy even as he's already being suffocated.

the ad is incredibly disturbing--not necessarily in an "effective" way as much as in an obnoxious way. the idea of putting a plastic bag over a kid's head is completely sociopathic and demonizes the smoker who isn't necessarily sociopathic at all. not every smoker smokes around children or endangers others--at least not any more than a plastics factory or diesel truck driver does.

i think a stronger appeal could've been made with a less defiant looking child, too, and a more pitiful, innocent type. not to undermine the credibility of this boy. he just looks like the bad kid in class. why is that? it seems like a sweet little kid with a sad frown and watery eyes or... maybe that'd have been too cliche.

Susan Romano said...

Another classic visual element here is the open-mouthed face--a universal cry of agony.

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