Till Divorce Do Us Part?

It’s Personal

In my lifetime, I have been exposed to three generations of strong, committed relationships ranging between my grandparents, my parents, and my personal relationships. Marriage is a universal symbol of commitment between two partners that is technically thought to last until death do they part. In recent years, death is not the only way to end a marriage; divorce has served as the next best thing. By witnessing the relationships between my family members as well as partnerships amongst my peers, I have come to believe that because divorce is so easily obtained lately, marriages are rushed and that a lack of communication is ultimately what concludes the marriages in divorce. Most of what we learn comes through doing and observing; the same applies when it comes to romantic relationships. We watch our parents in their marriage and learn what and what not to do in our own partnerships. Through experience and observing other relationships, we begin to develop an identity script in said partnerships. Growing up we develop fantasies about what we hope our adult lives will look like – what car we will drive, what kind of job we will have, and even whom we could potentially spend the rest of our lives with. The identities we portray and the rules we live our lives by are known as identity scripts. While the basic idea of identity scripts remains unchanged for marriage, there have been changes through the generations.

It’s a Family Thing

My grandparents at the 50th celebration

My grandparents at the 50th celebration

In the 1960’s it was almost expected to marry and start a family young, which is exactly what my grandparents did. Once you were married, toughing it out through the good and bad was also expected of you. They were high school sweethearts and were married by the ages of 18 and 19. By the time they were in college at the ages of 20 and 21, they had already birthed my mother and her brother. I admired them for being able to maintain a strong marriage, build a family, and complete their college educations so young. It was not until a few years ago that it was brought to my attention, that my grandparents’ strong marriage did have its fair share of problems. 20 years into their vows, my grandmother took it upon herself to redefine her own identity as a woman by separating herself from her family for close to 6 years. She, like the rest of the women in her graduating class had spousal and motherly responsibilities to fulfill. However, living under the titles of being a mother and wife, my grandmother needed to find her own independence. “In our 20s, sometimes we don’t have a strong sense of who we are as an individual.” Since my grandfather was then forced to live on his own, he had no choice but to learn how to maintain a household which was something most men from his generation left up to the women. While they experienced turmoil and tribulation throughout their marriage, divorce was not really an option for my grandparents or their generation for that matter. During the summer of 2010 amongst close friends and family, we celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
My parents, on the other hand, did not meet until they were both out of college and in their late 20’s. Their relationship blossomed over the course of a year before they were married. While the identity scripts of marriage were the same, my parents had the advantage of being able to claim their own identities before getting caught up in the responsibilities of being a spouse or parent. I was the first born child close to 4 years after my parents wedding, and my sister came along 3 years after I did. The marriage between my parents has always been pretty concrete and solid, but there have been times that were harder than others. For their generation though, if a marriage is not working out as planned, divorce has been a more desired option than fighting and working things out. While my parents are still married and continue to work on their marriage, I have seen many of my friends’ families shattered by divorce. “Nearly 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce and according to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 60 percent of couples who marry between 20 and 25 are destined for divorce.” While marriage is still an institution, the options for how to manage marital stress and tension can also include divorce, which many are taking advantage of.

Monkey See, Monkey Do?

Being that I am in the generation to next step up to the plate and eventually get married, I have taken it upon myself to be observant and patient when it comes to picking my own personal relationships. This generation is influenced by the relationships of our families. A 2010 study was conducted, surveying unmarried college students and their views and thoughts about their own personal relationships after having witnessed their parents’ happy marriages of lack thereof. Of the students surveyed, 74% believed that their parents’ relationships have influenced their own. However, 31% of those students admitted to being negatively influenced by their parents’ relationships. There is a good chance that out of the 31% of students who were negatively affected by their parents’ relationships, some of them will experience divorce. In other words, because I was raised with happily married parents who strive for a solid relationship, I have been taught to handle my personal relationships in similar ways.  However, I have known peers who come from families of divorce who are “learning” from their role models and are following in that path. While this may not be true for every child that comes from a divorced family, the chances of them getting into a healthy, positive relationship could be more challenging since their parents were not the best role models. “Children of divorced parents are themselves more likely to divorce…people who grew up in houses where their parents fought frequently were more likely to divorce if their parents remained together.” Our parents’ relationships will undoubtedly have an effect on our partnerships, but it is up to us on how much influence they have.

Building a Relationship

There are three main components to forming committed romantic relationships: growth, navigation, and deterioration. During the growth stage, the relationship is just starting out mainly through increasing levels of communication. Each partner is still considered their own individual and is maintaining their personal identity scripts. For instance, in my grandparents’ relationship, the growth stage would be when they were in high school together. Although they were a year apart, the school was small and they would see each other often which sparked their interest in one another.  As communication and feelings progress, the relationship intensifies and the individual partners become an individual couple – each partner’s identity ends up turning into the couple’s identity which sparks the navigation stage of the relationship. It is in this phase that weeks of being together turn into months, even years of being in a couple. While things are generally going pretty steady, there could be the few arguments here and there that could cause rockiness within the relationship. Despite the hiccups, the couple decides to stay committed to each other and the relationship. But each argument can leave gray area and tension behind that can add up, causing the relationship to deteriorate and maybe come to an end. When my grandparents separated, they could have chosen to leave the marriage and children high and dry, but they fought through their differences and ultimately stayed committed to their vows.

Seeing Eye to Eye

“Men and women in their twenties have the highest divorce rate of all age groups”. There are many reasons that cause marriages to end in divorce or relationships come to a screeching halt. One of the main reasons, and in my opinion the first, that relationships end is due to a lack of communication. In order for effective communication in a partnership or marriage, both parties must be able to engage in dual perspective, or being able to completely understand our partner’s thoughts and feelings as well as our own. Being able to exercise this communication skill helps in decreasing tension after an argument because each party is able to put everything on the table and be understood. While they were separated, my grandparents were able to see each others point of view; my grandfather had to take on the responsibilities of the house while my grandmother was learning how to be an independent individual. Through this learning process, they were able to meet in the middle and work through their differences which helped them to reach their 50th wedding anniversary. It is through dual perspective that my parents have been able to work through conflict within their marriage, and a technique I will carry into my own marriage one day.

While some characteristics of marriage have changed through the generations, the general concept remains concrete; to marry happily and create a family with your partner. It is through identity scripts that we learn how to approach our personal relationships whether it be through learning from the examples modeled in our childhoods, or from experience in our own. We have the option to create an enjoyable or hectic environment for our relationships through the components of growth, navigation, and deterioration. But it is ultimately through dual perspective that we really learn how to manage our relationships in a way that will hopefully make them last, and not end in divorce.

Sources

Coontz, S. (2012, May 25). Five myths about marriage. . Retrieved from                 http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-                marriage/2012/05/25/gJQAofiMqU_story.html

Day, E. (2009, Mar 7). Guardian . Retrieved from                 http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/mar/08/relationships-young-divorcees

Segrin, C., & Taylor, M. (2006). A Social Cognitive Analysis of the Effects of Parental Divorce on   Premarital Couples’ Communication Skills. Journal Of Divorce & Remarriage, 46(1/2), 57-83.                 doi:10.1300/J087v46n0104

Watrous, M. (2010, May 15). How young is too young to wed?. . Retrieved from                 http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/sc-fam-0513-young-married-              20100513,0,870347.story

Wood, J. T. (2010). Interpersonal communication: everyday encounters. Chapel Hill, NC: Wadsworth       Cengage Learning.

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Stop! Take Some Time To Talk.

People have sex. More specifically, college students have sex. What college students don’t usually do is talk about is having sex in a means that will keep both parties protected from sexually transmitted infections. (Un)luckily for college students, the more common infections that float around don’t always show symptoms, so they may never know if they needed to get tested.

Why We Don’t Talk

Julia T. Wood expresses 3 main reasons that people refrain from practicing safe sex. Alchohol and drug use greatly impair the our ability to make level-headed decisions. When college students hook up with one another, they usually aren’t thinking about taking the right precautions. Another reason safe sex isn’t talked about is because people do not think they are at risk of getting an infection. The top three sexually transmitted infections among college students are HPV, chlamydia, and genital herpes. HPV and chlamydia usually do not have any noticeable symptoms in females, which means they tend to go unnoticed. The final reason people do not discuss safe sex is because they just find it too difficult or embarrassing to talk about with their partner. Sometimes other people could be within listening distance, or we don’t want to make a situation awkward.

How Do We Fix This?

We all know we need to have The Talk with our partners, but we just can’t find the right time or words to say. But once the conversation about practicing safe sex begins, it is important to cover all bases and answer all questions truthfully. One way to have a successful conversation would be to engage in dual perspective, or being able to fully understand our thoughts as well as our partner’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. Engaging in dual perspective can ensure that both parties will be heard and their needs will be addressed. Another way to have a successful conversation is to create a script for yourself when it comes to having the talk. For example, I had a personal situation where I decided that before I was to engage in intercourse or dive into a long-term relationship, I would have to discuss safe sex with my partner, or perspective partner right off the bat.

Start The Trend

No one should ever feel too ashamed or embarrassed to not be able to talk about having safe sex with their partner. Don’t fall victim to an infection that you could have prevented yourself by just simply communicating with your partner.

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Minding The Gap

Think about a recent conversation you have had. Who was it with? What were they talking about? Did the conversation spark interest in you, or did it bore you to death? Upon answering these questions, I want you to ask yourself why. Why or why not did the conversation spark your interest or bore you to death? I ask you these questions because there is so much more to a conversation than speaking and getting a point across.

Not only do conversations consists of speaking, but listening is a key component in having a successful conversation. By being engaged in conversation and listening, we tend to get more feedback from our peers. When we have casual conversation with friends, we may not practice listening skills as much as we would if we were in a business meeting or in a class. But listening is a process that consists of many components. One of the most important factors in the listening process is mindful listening.

To be a mindful listener, you need to be “fully present in the moment” according to Julia T. Wood. Not only does a person have to be physically there, but their complete and undivided attention is as well. Think back to the recent conversation you had. Were you paying complete attention, or did you happen to notice a black car driving down the street? Was the person you were talking to listening to you as much or little as you were listening to them? To be a mindful listener is a choice; it takes practice and patience not only with yourself but with the people you choose to interact with. We listen for entertainment, education, and understanding. We cannot let our personal thoughts, cell phones, or even other people distract us if we are trying to be mindful.

Since most of our waking time is spent listening, we tend to forget that it is a process. We can let our emotions from previous conversations interfere with our ability to be a mindful listener even if we don’t intend them to. The next time you decide to have a conversation try to be mindful and see if the person you are talking to is as attentive.

Sources:

Wood, Julia. (2010). Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters. Massachucetts: Wadsworth.

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I Know What You Mean

My father and I have one of the most unique father-daughter relationships I think I have ever seen. We get into a conversation and are decent about staying on the same page. But when we get into an argument, one of us will get frustrated because of one misinterpretation and the whole thing goes down-hill from there.

Since I have been enrolled in Communication Studies classes, I am always using the material I learn to analyze my communication relationships with the people I interact with on a daily basis, my father being one in particular. “Everyday talk in personal relationships is the primary means by which relational patterns shape identities, expected behaviors, and rituals (Tracy, 2002)” (Burns 2010). Both of my parents are teachers, and my dad wanted me to get a position to be a teacher’s assistant during summer school; unfortunately the process was long and arduous and once I got an offer, I had made other commitments. Upon telling me the news of getting the job offer, I was excited but already thinking about how to turn it down politely and graciously.http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/iba/lowres/iban189l.jpg

Mind reading is a common communication behavior my dad and I share; it is a blessing and a curse. “Mind reading is assuming we understand what another person thinks, feels, or perceives. The danger of mind reading is that we may misinterpret others” (Wood, 84). When a person, or my father for instance, tries to mind read during a conversation they could potentially open up a new can of worms in a positive or negative sense. Mind reading sparked a tiff between my dad and me because he was expecting me to be more excited about getting the job. Although I was happy to hear they wanted to hire me, I was already making other summer and job-related plans which bummed my dad out. He thought the reason I didn’t take the job was because I was not planning on making a career out of teaching.

Since the job incident, my father and I have had a pretty open line of communication, but we still get caught up in assuming we know what the other is thinking.  When I strike up a conversation with him, or anyone for that matter, I am careful to pick my words in a way that will be clear free of loops that could lead to mind reading and miscommunications. Being able to have a conversation without getting off track, or confused is so much easier than not expressing ideas in full detail. It may take a couple minutes longer to explain, but the subject will not have to be brought up again for further discussion or lack of.

Sources:

Burns, M. E., & Pearson, J. C. (2011). An Exploration of Family Communication Environment, Everyday Talk, and Family Satisfaction. Communication Studies, 62(2), 171-185. doi:10.1080/10510974.2010.523507

Wood, Julia. (2010). Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters. Massachucetts: Wadsworth.

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Oh, hello!

Hi there! My name is Jessica Beardsley and I am a rising junior Communication Studies major with a concentration in Mass Media and a minor in photography. I was born and raised in a small town in Northern Virginia just a stone’s throw away from the Gainesville area.

I am constantly communicating with people daily whether it be my family or peers. During previous summers I have been a dance instructor for my former studio, a camp counselor, a babysitter, and a mentor to children all younger than me. This summer will only expand my communication abilities with others because I will be taking a job as a teacher’s assistant for the summer school program.

While I have learned how to effectively communicate well, particularly when it comes to kids, this job will be testing my abilities to communicate effectively not only with the kids, but with co-workers and bosses above me. Being that I have never taught summer school before, not been employed in the county school system, this job will test and teach me on how I communicate with others. Sure, we have all probably had the small summer jobs at the mall or restaurant, but this job is not as likely for a college student to obtain. I am excited because it will only further my education as well as my communication skills in how I respond to the people I will be working with. When I taught dance, there was communication of course, but summer school could be a different level of communication simply because the information I will be communicating to the students will be critical to the molding of their minds and education.

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Regional Today, Local Tomorrow

Take a minute to think about how many newspapers are delivered to your house. My family gets three delivered to our house; the local one, the more local one, and the really local one. Since technology has transformed the way we receive news and information, the term “local” has obtained a new meaning.

http://us.macmillan.com/newsonomics/KenDoctor

Ten years ago, we considered local to be our neighborhood and the county we live in, usually nothing major happened in terms of local news. Today, local is thought to be the region of the state we live in, even more than one county which tends to get more news stories that just down the street from home. Ken Doctor expands on this topic in chapter three “Local: Remap and Reload” in his book Newsonomics. “That’s remapping in the basic way that local is being redefined. That’s reloading in the sense of understanding that while one battle has plainly been lost-that of keeping the local press intact as we knew it-another is ahead” (Doctor, 50). Local news organizations are suffering not only because “the Web lets us define ‘local’ any way we want” but also “the Internet has forced local media companies to redefine themselves” (Doctor 50-51). But this concern is not just affecting newspaper companies, it is also affecting radio stations. In 2005, it was proven that “more than 40% of radio stations do news for one or more stations outside their own market” (Hood).

 

While this battle for local, smaller papers to stay in business is on-going, “a few sites do stand out and are leaders at re-creating the next “local” – sites such as WashingtonPost.com, LaVegasSun.com, and more (Doctor, 55). Some smaller papers just cannot make enough money to print a paper daily and publish their stories online. Instead of completely shutting down, they have either cut back their printing to a few times a week, or just gone entirely online. They have also followed in bigger companies’ footsteps by advertising more and even taking their articles to Twitter just to get more noticed. “Twitter’s popularity has exploded in recent months, with news organizations and enterprises looking to the service as a source of unfiltered information about products, services, and global events” (Twitter is redefining communications).

http://adgrok.com/

Within a matter of years local journalism is going to be redefined even more, and the internet is going to continue to expand and take profit away from smaller newspaper companies. What we call “staying local” today, others would have called “regional” years before. Tomorrow, the term “local” could just be defined by opening your laptop and checking in across the world.

 

Hood, L. (2005). Redefining “Local” in Radio News: The Impact of Consolidation on Coverage. Conference Papers — International Communication Association, 1-26.

Doctor, Ken. (2010). Newsenomics: Twelve New Trends that Will Shape the News You Get.

Twitter is redefining communications. (2009). MarketWatch: Global Round-up, 8(8), 213-214.

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Black And White And Read All Over

How many of us actually remember waking up during the weekends to find out parents both sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee or tea, reading the newspaper? My parents usually gave me the comics so I could feel included. Of course, that was in the late 90s. Today, children wake up and find their parents either watching the news on television or on their computers looking up the latest stories, sometimes even contributing in a blog post.

http://wpmu.org/7-ways-to-link-wordpress-and-tumblr-blogs/

The internet has transformed the way we obtain our news. According to Ken Doctor’s Newsonomics Law No. 7: Reporters Become Bloggers. “They become bloggers, but remain reporters” (Doctor, 131). In other words, instead of only focusing on one or two stories to publish for a printed newspaper, reporters are taking their reporting skills to the internet and working on multiple stories at a time. The general public then has access to read these quickly published blogs within a few minutes. “We think of stories as something that traditional media do, in a newspaper or a magazine or on air. A blog, well that’s something you do for the Internet” (Doctor, 132).

http://wftprintpm.wikispaces.com/e-books,+Newspapers+and+Magazines

“Blogging began as a grassroots alternative phenomenon, and it was some years before the mainstream media took notice, let alone responded by introducing their own blogs” (Garden). With blogging in the news comes access for the general public to contribute to blogs, or create their own. It is a free, fast way for the media as well as the public to obtain more information about a certain news story. “In fact, “placebloggers” is the collective name for the citizens who generate locally driven blogs and news sites” (Fanselow). These blogs are usually free and whoever is a paid employee does not make very much money. But these bloggers are not usually looking for a steady income from this business; it is more of a hobby that does not take too much time out of the day. There are also entertainment blogs, not just new-related blogs on the internet. A popular website that people use as a free blogging forum is Tumblr. There are blogs centered around not only the news, but art and other things of people’s interests.

The use of blogs to generate news stories out faster to the public is definitely impacting the newspaper industry. Some papers are decreasing the frequency in which they are being delivered to houses, as well as upping their prices just to stay in business. Some smaller companies have already been shut down because they were either bought out or changed everything to be published online.

 

Doctor, K. (2010). Newsonomics: Twelve trends that will shape the news you get. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Fanselow, J. (2008). Community Blogging: The New Wave of Citizen Journalism. National Civic Review, 97(4), 24-29.

Garden, M. (2010). NEWSPAPER BLOGS: THE GENUINE ARTICLE OR POOR COUNTERFEITS?. Media International Australia (8/1/07-Current), (135), 19-31.

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Fact v. Fiction

Rumors and gossip are two of a kind. Neither of them is 100% factual, nor are they completely false. Some major details are left out or greatly changed just to make information sound more interesting. When it comes to the media, rumors and gossip are what gets published. And when it comes to the general public, the published material is usually believed until the next bit of information is passed along.

Our society has become more evolved, and will continue to evolve when it comes to obtaining information. We have many sources in which we can turn to – sources such as the internet, the television, even our cell phones. Because we can obtain information faster than ever does not mean everything being told by the media is necessarily true. Once the media gets hold of information about a breaking story, they take what they have and run with it, even it if means stretching the truth or publishing facts that are completely wrong. Take Columbine for example; the massacre occurred so quickly and violently that witnesses and bystanders were giving the press all kinds of stories to be published hours after the horrific event that happened in April of 1999.

Once people had knowledge of the incident, whether it be from the television or newspapers, they became frantic. If something so horrible were to happen to us, there is no doubt that we would panic and be scared. However, part of the reason people were becoming so upset also had to do with Gerbner’s cultivation theory and mean world syndrome. “A repeated symbolic portrayal on the television or newspaper could cause the viewer to replay the real-life experience over and over again in his or her mind” (Griffin, 354). Not only did the actual incident scar people for life, but so did the media by constantly re-running the story in the news and papers for months after. The people who lived in Colorado, or across the country, became terrified of what happened and what had the potential to happen in the future.

The two boys who executed the attack were later described as being members of TCM – the Trench Coat Mafia because they were wearing the long, tan coats while committing the crimes. “Everyone, including detectives, assumed a substantial number were involved” because the students and staff members’ stories were so different in detail (Cullen, 71). “The Trench Coat Mafia was mythologized because it was colorful, memorable and fit the existing myth of the school shooter as outcast loner; kids ‘knew’ the TCM was involved because witnesses and news anchors had said so on TV” (Cullen, 149-150). When reporting a story this big and shocking, the media does not care about the actual facts of what happened. Reporters and journalists are concerned about publishing a story that will get people talking. “Facts rush in, the fog lifts, an accurate picture solidifies. The public accepts this. But the final portrait is often furthest from the truth” (Cullen, 150).

When something shocking hits the media, the country becomes frantic, just as we did in April of 1999. The media has a field day in deciding what is published and what details are left out.  Gerbner’s cultivation theory is a prime example of how the media can manipulate our responses to events such as Columbine and leave us in fear and believing rumors and gossip, hoping to eventually hear the full story.

 

Cullen, D. (2009). Columbine. New York: Twelve.

Griffin, E. (2008). Communication: A first look at communication theory (7th ed.) Boston: McGraw-Hill.

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Born And Raised A Comsumer

Clothes. Food and water. Shelter. These are the bare minimum of essentials a person needs to live. In today’s society, we also need a way to communicate with people, means of transportation, and a college education. But ask a 4th grader what they NEED to be able to survive in this world, and they will give you all the things they WANT or think they need.

Money is more powerful than we let on. So is a child’s opinion or influence over a parent’s. The marketing industry has already started to target our future generations to buy their products without them even knowing it. Because America has come so far in technology advances, our future generations will be able to navigate the internet, cell phones, etc without problem. The advertising industry, in turn, manipulates this ability to “cradle-to-grave” or get children early, often, and in as many places to sell them products and services and turn them into life-long consumers (Barbaro). We may not think much of it now, but as long as kids keep wanting, parents will keep spending; we are creating walking billboards.

In the words of Sut Jhally, “advertising is ubiquitous-it is the air that we breathe as we live our daily lives” (Jhally).  And this is true with the amount of television watched, music listened to, and especially the amount of time attached to the internet through a computer or wireless device. Through advertising, kids are taught what of the latest items being advertised are considered cool or not. Along with the cradle-to-grave technique, advertising companies have also introduced what is called the Shortcake Strategy (Mcallister). Television shows such as Care Bears, Master of the Universe, G.I. Joe and the given, Strawberry Shortcake were all produced as toys before the television show had appeared. If kids see that the toys are fun to play with before watching the show, it is incentive to tune in when said show airs.

Because the media has such a big impact on today’s children, companies are going to find even more ways to appeal through advertising. Kids are taken advantage of because they are not aware that the media is basically using them just to make more money and become more successful. Take a logo off a big name brand and place it next to a generic brand of the exact same product, a 4th grader would not know the difference between the two products. But show the two products with the brand name, and a 4th grader will most likely pick the more known name. Advertising is teaching kids to want the bigger brands because all the cool kids are buying it; that want becomes a need. And that need becomes money spent.

 

Barbaro, A. (2008). http://blackboard.longwood.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/comm325_secb73_201230/comm325_secb73_201230_importedcontent_20120117114605/course readings consuming kids–studyguide/studyguide_134.pdf. In

Jhally, S. (1990). Imaged-based culture: Asvertising and pop culture. Retrieved from http://blackboard.longwood.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/COMM325_SECB73_201230/Image Based Culture.pdf

Mcallister, M. (n.d.). Just how commercialized is children’s culture?. Retrieved from http://blackboard.longwood.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/COMM325_SECB73_201230/Commercialized Children’s Culture Mazarella CH 18.pdf

Image

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/business/media/15kids.html

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L.M&M.F.A.O.

The Super Bowl and the commercials played throughout the game are a popular anticipation at the start of the new year. After the Christmas and New Years parties are over, people begin to plan their Super bowl party; who is coming, which teams will make the cut, and of course the ads that will be unveiled are all key aspects of party planning. “Since Super Bowl commercials are the most anticipated of the year, all the major brands fight to get slots.” The media does a great job at getting their audience pumped for the new ads that will be unveiled during the game. Mars Inc created an ad that contained their M&M candy and a popular song by the group LMFAO.

Being that M&Ms are a popular candy, and the song in the background is a hit, this commercial is intended for an audience ranging from ages 13-25. The fact that there is a sophisticated party scene with mature conversation and drinking involved enforces the older aspect. M&Ms are a candy favorite for all. The text of the message includes the obvious M&M logo and the “Sexy and I Know It” song played in the background. We hear the women having a polite, mature conversation while the immature men are snickering about the fact that the brown M&M appears to be “naked” because of her shell color. The red M&M makes an appearance soon after the women call the men out for snickering before he strips off his shell, exposing his milk-chocolate interior. The saying “not your average chocolate,” which is shown at the end of the ad, stands to be true due to the fact that the candies have human-like qualities.

The subtext of the message suggests that the brown M&M will forever present herself as smart and sophisticated and the red M&M will present himself as more of a goof-ball in future ads by Mars Inc. The positive messages presented are to have class in a social setting while talking amongst acquaintances. However, some negative messages could be the promotion of drinking; the song used is thought of as a party song, which could persuade young teens to drink while listening to it. The song could also promote stripping amongst young teens since it states “I’m sexy and I know it”. Mars Inc may have or not meant for this message to be sent to their younger audiences however, “the sender and the receiver of communication messages are separated, and the context in which the message was initially created is not readily apparent to the receiver of the message” (Borchers, 2005).

Through the power of persuasion, “the coproduction of meaning that results when an individual or a group of individuals uses languages strategies and/or other symbols (such as images, music, or sounds) to make audiences identify with that individual or group” Mars Inc is able to sell more of their candy. Humor, symbols, and timing are key components in being able to make persuasion possible (Borchers, 2005).

Women are clearly presented as more mature than men in this commercial. They are having polite, sophisticated conversation between each other and the female M&M. They are positioned in a poised and classy manner, whereas the men are hunched over and snickering immaturely at the brown M&M’s “nude” appearance. The red M&M does not help the men’s case by thinking that the brown M&M is in fact in the nude which gives him the idea that the party is a naked or stripping party. Unfortunately, the ad does not tell the audience that M&M candies do not have human-like qualities, and can in fact be associated with weight gain if too many are eaten.

The Super Bowl is not just a game to watch anymore. It has become an annual lifestyle that people anticipate for the competition as well as the ads. “These are spots that really live on for a year or more.” Mars Inc has already come out with popular ads, but by throwing in a new setting, character, and popular background music, people are going to be more intrigued to buy their products as well as look forward to their next ad

Bibliography

Borchers, T. A. (2005). Persuasion in the Media Age. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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