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The Medium is the Message – Summative Blog Post

Our “driving question” for this project was “How does what see, hear, and read influence us?” Throughout the duration of this project, we focused a lot on media and how its message(s) affect us. By taking into account different perspectives, being aware of media’s influence, and analyzing numerous forms of media, we were able to work towards the finalization of our Deep Cove advertisements.

Also, if you haven’t already, check out my The Medium is the Message Reflection that highlights many of the early steps to this project.

What is “The Medium is the Message”?

Until last week, I had merely thought that “The Medium is the Message” was simply just the title of our project. However, our teachers explained to us that she chose this project’s name based off of Marshall McLuhan’s theory. McLuhan is a Canadian who wrote a book called “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man”, which was published in 1964. Basically, McLuhan explains that the medium is more important than the message itself. A medium is often a form technology or an extension of ourselves. (In some cases, a medium may even be a certain teenage boy’s alternate philosophic persona. Haha, get the reference?) Our teachers explained this to us in class by reading a text called “McLuhan For Beginners,” by W. Terrence Gordon.

 

ADVERTISING PHOTO JOURNAL

Over the past few weeks, we had to take photos of advertisements that we came across in our everyday lives. From there, we were tasked to analyze the message, target audience, and advertising techniques and appeals of the advertisements. (Here is my Advertising Photo Journal.)

 

MILESTONE 5: How Does the Medium Influence the Message?

For this Milestone, we have been tasked to write about how Marshall McLuhan’s theory, “The Medium is the Message”, connects to a novel we were assigned to read in class called “The Gospel According to Larry”, by Janet Tashjian. As a brief summary, McLuhan’s theory states that the medium is always more important than the message. In the novel, Josh Swensen, a teenage boy, used his persona as “Larry” to anonymously spread awareness about anti-consumerism on his blog.

I found it quite interesting how McLuhan’s theory connected to Larry’s story. Honestly, reading this novel was likely my favourite part of this overall project. I’ve never seen a fictional work portrayed to look like it’s non-fiction until now. I highly recommend reading “A Gospel According to Larry” by Janet Tashjian if you haven’t already. (You can find my paragraph here.)

 

 

DEVELOP AND CRITIQUE

MILESTONE 4: How Do I Determine My Client’s Needs?

As part of this Milestone, our North groups have been working and compiling our work into a Numbers file. LAUNCH stands for “Look, Listen, and Learn, Ask, Understand, Navigate, Create, Highlight.” My group consisted of Sylas, Declan, Faith, Max, Noah, and myself.

Together, we were to create an advertisement for a Deep Cove business. We choose Deep Cove Music (DCM). While I was unable to participate in the vast majority of this Milestone, I was able to work with my group for the Highlight category.

This task consisted of receiving and taking notes of critique from various sources. Branden, the DCM employee we contacted regarding this Milestone gave us feedback on the following advertisements:

Branden said he liked the more colourful advertisement on the right however, he felt the wood themed advertisement fit his brand more. This inspired us to create this new version of the DCM advertisement that Mr. Hepburn, the founder and director of his own advertising company critiqued, as seen below.

During this critique session, each group in the class was given three jobs. The annotator, the speaker, and the note taker. I was given the first job to complete. The annotator basically annotates a file of your group’s advertisement as a way to “take note of” the changes we need to make. The speaker asked Mr. Hepburn questions regarding our advertisement and his business, meanwhile the note taker took notes using their iPads. 

Based on Mr. Hepburn’s critique, we were prompted to consider what information we felt was most important to include as our advertisement was a little “cramped” with words. In the end, our group decided to remove the “buy, sell, trade instruments” portion in favour of the business’ opening hours and address.

During the “Develop and Critique” stage, we also exchanged feedback and critique with our peers. We used the “20 Minute Peer Feedback Protocol” for this task. 

Here is a chart that explains how this protocol works:

LAUNCH

MILESTONE 6: How Do I Design an Advertisement to Meet a Client’s Needs?

This was the final step of our project. After what felt like countless hours of critiquing and revising our final draft, we handed in the final copy of our advertisement for DCM at last. We made sure to make our advertisement appropriate for children since DCM’s target audience is children of ages 6-18. We also tried to maintain a balance of colour and DCM’s brand.

Admittedly, I’m somewhat surprised that we actually managed to complete something in time to hand in. Our North group was working quite slowly and we had a tendency to disagree on things at times. However, I’m extremely glad that we managed it in the end.

Overall, I feel like the past few weeks was a great learning opportunity for myself and many others. Throughout our project path we applied different concepts to our learning such as team work, critiquing, perspective, different advertising techniques, and the importance of media. I find it rather bizarre that the overflow of advertisements we see today is what’s considered the “norm”. However, that’s exactly what makes it vital to be aware of media, along with its medium. Advertising is ever-present in our everyday lives and it’s important to always be mindful of how it influences us.

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The Medium is the Message Reflection

This project has been an interesting learning experience for myself. We have focused a lot on media and advertising throughout this project. Since I was sick at home, I wasn’t able to contribute much during class discussions and group work. However, I do have some aspects of this project I would like to reflect on.

LAUNCH

In our launch process, our class worked on analyzing various types of media. An example of this was our first Milestone where we were tasked to analyze an advertisement titled “Welcome Home.” Analyzing this text required us to reflect on our understanding of the message and its target audience. As part of this analysis, we were also required to make a sketch using Notes to portray our emotions and thoughts while watching the advertisement. Below is a photo of my sketch. (Attached is my Welcome Home Text Analysis)

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE

This was our next step in our project. In the “Building Knowledge” portion of this project, we focused on “Logos, Ethos, and Pathos”, target audience, and various advertising techniques and appeals.

For our second Milestone, we focused on Historical Perspective; which means to look through the eyes of the people of the past. This includes taking into account and understanding their perspective, ideals, experiences, identity, and thoughts. For this Milestone, Historical Media Analysis, we were given the opportunity to choose a text or piece of media from the past and analyze the target audience along with the text’s message. My paragraph was based off of a Disneyland advertisement. (You can check out my analysis here.)

During this project stage, we were also completed an assignment called the “Commercial Dig”. For this assignment, we were to watch live television and record details about various advertisements we found. We were assigned television shows in-class while I was absent, but I hadn’t realized that until after I had completed the assignment. (Here is my Commercial Dig Chart.)

We also completed our third Milestone, the Historical Advertising Analysis. Our task was to take a historical perspective to reflect on and write about an advertisement from the past. I chose a Lego advertisement from the 1980’s. (Attached is my Historical Advertising Analysis)

CONCLUSION

Unfortunately, due to my absences, I was unable to participate in the “Develop and Critique” and “Present” portions of this project. 

Even though this project has yet to be completed, I do feel like I have learned a lot. Through our assignments, we reflected a lot on media and advertising techniques/appeals. Admittedly, my absences made me miss out on many parts of this project, but I am looking forward to working on this project more and completing it in the following weeks.

User Manual Reflection

We went through a fairly long but simple process for our User Manual assignment. At the beginning of this project, we asked ourselves “How can I creatively communicate who I am?” In other words, our task was to find a way to present ourselves to our peers in a creative manner. 

Throughout the process of working on this project, we learned a lot about our iPads, Pages, Showbie, and Basecamp. We were taught how to properly utilize our tools to help us in our learning. I know for a fact that if someone asked me a month ago to bookmark a file in Basecamp, or to hand in a project in Showbie, I definitely would not have known how to. 

I also feel that I have learned a lot about myself throughout this project. Usually, I don’t spend so much time thinking about myself. My strengths, weaknesses, and things I enjoy. It was nice to sit down and write about the person who I know best; myself. 

During the making of my Memoji Laptop, I learned quite a lot about Keynote. I originally felt reluctant to use Keynote as I felt a document or even Google Slides would work better, but I have learned that Keynote is much more than what meets the eye, as shown in this photo. The paintbrush editing tool provided numerous ways to adjust or edit objects on a slide. I’m fairly certain the app does things that Google Slides cannot match up to. From my original naivety towards Keynote, I have also learned not to underestimate things. Everything happens for a reason, and the reason why the teachers wanted us to use that app was so that we could make our Memoji Laptops with ease. 

I also learned that sometimes it’s okay not to go by script. We’re all writing our own stories, and there’s no right or wrong. When we were presenting our User Manuals, I noticed that my peers didn’t present it word-by-word. Contrary to what I had done, they highlighted what they felt was important about themselves to share. One of my fellow classmates discussed how their coach motivates them for hockey, and how they feel it reflects onto the “real word”. I, unlike them, followed along the manual and summarized my categories. It hadn’t even occurred to me the night before while I was practicing that I didn’t have to follow my User Manual line for line. From this, I have learned that sometimes it’s best to go outside of your comfort zone and be authentic to yourself instead of following a script. 

Overall, I feel that I could have done better. While I was quite proud of the outcome of my work, there’s always room for improvement. Originally when I came home from school, I didn’t really feel as if there was anything to say when my mom asked “What did you learn today at school?” And now? I have a whole list to present to her.

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