Music videos setting a new standard of art

Music videos have always been a promotional tool to enhance the artist. But these days we are seeing more and more iconic videos by singers who have made artistic expression their staple.

Michael Fitzer explains the changing world of music videos:

In the last 25 years, the invigorating art form of making a music video has grown to be one of the most influential and individually stylistic modes of production in the industry. From the first frame to the last, music videos serve as a blank canvas to your mind’s eye, a place to show the world what you can really do when let loose with a camera. But, if you let your creative juices drown your common sense approach to production, your music video masterpiece could wind up a public-access catastrophe.

David Porter at explains the history and significance of the music video:

In the 1970s, David Bowie was a leading exponent of music video, using film directors and photographers. Swedish stars Abba realised from the outset how the short visual-imaged film matching the song could enhance the appeal, telling the story in a stronger way than music alone. This was also the time of increasing domination by television as the most pervasive medium in people’s lives.

Into more recent years, the way the arts feed off and influence each other, can be traced in music videos such as Michael Jackson’s 1983 14 minute “Thriller”. Voted all-time most influential pop video, it owes much to classic Hollywood dance/musicals. Film maestro Martin Scorsese directed Jackson’s “Bad” in 1987, said to be influenced by the Sharks and Jets fight in the 1955 film of West Side Story. Madonna’s 1985 promo video for “Material Girl” is based on staging of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

Videos have become technically sophisticated, sometimes intercutting concert footage with stories with images with imaginative messages. In this sense, the music video has paralleled the development of the TV and cinema commercial in increasing complexity demanded by tech-savvy advertisers and viewers.

Like photography, paintings, songs, films and plays, music videos are no different from other art forms. If they offend authority, sell a given product, are enjoyable as pieces of high-tech experiment, are mastering the power of the internet, then they have staked their claim as legitimate art in their own right.

Read more at Suite101: Music Videos Make Claims to be Real Artistic Statements

In 2010 the artists that stand out differently than the other are Lady Gaga and Kanye West. Their music videos resemble short films where art collaborates with music, dance and societal issues. It will be interesting to see how these artists grow within their art form and set new boundaries for others to excel to, like Michael Jackson did.

Here is Kanye West’s music video for Runaway that inspired me to view the evolution of music videos throughout history.

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The on-going distortion of image by media

I was watching ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’ the other day and they were doing makeovers. Now, makeovers on talk shows have been a regular thing so that was nothing new. What was new was that when the woman came out all made up with new swanky clothes and a new hair dye, they also said they had injected her with botox. For me, this is completely out of the norm and shocked me. But in Hollywood everyone is getting their face injected or body altered. Promoting that on a talk show and having viewers see it as an ordinary person just like them can get botox was a bit uncomfortable. I’m someone who has the motto of ‘do the best with what you were given’ so to have someone inject botox like its the ‘norm’ or to ‘fit in’ was a bit unconventional for talk show makeovers.

This generation thats growing up now has had the most problems with body image than other generations. Teenagers are influenced by many things, parents, friends, society and media. This generation depends on media and is highly influenced by media. Society is realizing that this causes problems because the media distorts beauty. It then reflects onto teenagers a horrible influence on body image. From billboards to magazines to fashion runways, it is all a distorted image of beauty. Very few girls look like that. But with those images bombarding young girls everyday, they can only think that looking like those models is the ‘norm’ or the way you should look when it is not.

A couple years back, Dove went behind the scenes to show young girls the real side of beauty and started a capaign opposing distorted perceptions of beauty.

The vast majority of advertisements promoting women’s products contribute to unrealistic standards of beauty in western society. Dove, however, has launched an advertising campaign dedicated to both promoting a healthy body image among women as well as raising awareness about how media and advertising distort standards for physical attractiveness. Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty mission statement is, “to make more women feel beautiful every day by widening stereotypical views of beauty”. In addition to their television commercials, which intentionally depict women of normal and healthy body proportions, the Dove website also includes a number of articles and film clips aimed at educating and advising girls and women about topics such as “real beauty” and “self-esteem”.

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Fast-food chains still under attack for marketing to kids

For a couple years now, marketers in the fast-food industry have been strictly patrolled over what they seel to children. They’ve been told to change their menus to include healthier options and also have been told to only advertise the healthier options. Some countries (mostly in Europe) have chosen to completely ban advertising to children under the age of 12 because their brains cannot consciously interpret the advertisement into knwoing what is real and not real. In North America, fast-food companies can only advertise the healthy options and cannot use toys or characters. Once the child is in the restaurant however, most of the cashiers dont ask the child if they do want the healthier option, and even if they do ask, most opt for the unhealthy snack.

Maurreen Morrison  at Advertising Age analyzed a study done by Yale where fast-food companies had to respond to results:

The study released by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity called “Evaluating Fast Food Nutrition and Marketing to Youth” examined the marketing efforts of 12 fast-food chains in the U.S., including McDonald’s, Burger King, Yum Brands’ Pizza Hut and KFC, Wendy’s and Subway. The study said the fast-food industry spent more than $4.2 billion on marketing and advertising in 2009, according to Nielsen Co., focusing extensively on TV, the internet, social-media sites and mobile applications.

According to the study, children’s exposure to fast-food TV ads is increasing, even for ads from McDonald’s and Burger King, which have pledged to reduce unhealthy marketing to children. Compared with 2007, in 2009 children aged 6-11 saw 26% more ads for McDonald’s and 10% more for Burger King.

 Further, said the researchers, restaurants provide largely unhealthy defaults for the side dishes and drinks that come with kids’ meals. As part of the study, Rudd sent anonymous shoppers to various fast-food restaurants and asked them to order kids’ meals without specifying a side-dish preference. Although McDonald’s and Burger King show only healthy sides and beverages in child-targeted advertising, the restaurants automatically served french fries with kids’ meals at least 86% of the time, and soft drinks at least 55% of the time.

Fast feeders respond
The response? In a statement, Neil Golden, senior VP-chief marketing officer at McDonald’s USA, said that “McDonald’s remains committed to responsible marketing practices, including advertising and promotional campaigns for our youngest customers. Consistent with our 2006 commitment to the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Food Pledge, 100% of our children’s advertising in the U.S. features dietary choices that fit within the 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” The statement went on to point out that the company “primarily” advertises its “375 calorie four-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meal, which includes Apple Dippers, low-fat caramel dip and a jug of 1% low-fat milk.”

Burger King issued the following statement: “As part of Burger King Corp.’s ‘Have it your way’ brand promise, we offer a variety of menu options that empower guests to choose items that are best for their lifestyle. In addition, as part of our ‘BK Positive Steps’ corporate-responsibility program, in 2007, [Burger King] pledged to restrict 100% of national advertising aimed at children under 12 to BK Kids Meals that meet stringent nutrition criteria.”

For a class assignment, my classmate and I went further in-depth for this subject.

Checkout the AdAge article here:

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Newspapers to be gone by 2020

With new media taking a bigger place in our lives than old media, it was bound to happen that newspapers would start to disappear.With the economic recession, jobs are getting cut and money is not being made. The only choice is to move the newspapers to the web, since that’s where everyone is getting their news now. We are changing where we are getting our opinions from.

People have changed the medium that they get their information from. Instead of books and newspapers, it has turned into websites. Many newspapers have posted their articles on their websites so they keep customers. But if they’re making you pay a price to see the article, when another website has said the same things for free, wouldn’t you prefer going to the free webpage?

Web surfers are caught between this dilemma. Do they continue paying for papers, or web-articles, or do they search it for free.

Many newspapers see their future and are trying to save it, quickly. The Economist writes:

“Having ignored reality for years, newspapers are at last doing something. In order to cut costs, they are already spending less on journalism. Many are also trying to attract younger readers by shifting the mix of their stories towards entertainment, lifestyle and subjects that may seem more relevant to people’s daily lives than international affairs and politics are. They are trying to create new businesses on- and offline. And they are investing in free daily papers, which do not use up any of their meager editorial resources on uncovering political corruption or corporate fraud. So far, this fit of activity looks unlikely to save many of them.”

Lara Sinclair at the Wall Street Journal writes:

“Newspapers as we know them will be irrelevant within 12 years, according to futurist Ross Dawson, who said journalism would be largely ‘crowdsourced’.

Mr Dawson, who will address a Newspaper Publishers’ Association forum on the future of the industry on Thursday, predicted within 10 years, mobile reading devices that would allow people to consume news on the run would be our “primary news interfaces”.

Especially with technology adapting to consumers consumption trends, they are coming out with tools that make it easier to view newspapers like the iPad. Society has been through this before. Everything changes at a certain point, but society always adapts.

Would you prefer a handheld newspapers or a webpage newspaper?

Choose wisely.

To checkout The Economist:

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Reasons for using Internet differ by gender

It’s obvious that we know more people are using the internet than 20 years ago. But who has been surfing more? And what are the differences between what they surf for?

Jennifer Leclaire sums up the Pew Internet & American Life Project Study. She says that women are catching up to men on how many use the internet. Men are still the ones who try out the new technologies first, but women are slowly catching up. “Sixty-eight percent of men are Internet users, compared with 66 percent of women.”

She goes on to explain that they might be surfing the same net, but searching for different things. Leclaire explains:

“Online men are more likely to check the weather, get news, get do-it-yourself information, check for sports information, get political information, get financial information, do job-related research, download software, listen to music, rate a product/person/service through an online reputation system, download music files, use a Webcam, and take a class.

Women, on the other hand, are more likely to use e-mail, get maps and directions, look for health and medical information, use Web sites to get support for health or personal problems, and get religious information.”

Men’s purpose for the internet is mostly for recreational activities. While women use the internet for connecting with people. “If there is an overall pattern of differences here, it is that men value the Internet for the breadth of experiences it offers, and women value it for the human connections,” Leclaire quotes Fallows.

My Professor, Dr. Strangelove, explained in class his viewpoint on this. He said that men use the internet for power and status, while women used it for social factors. He also added that when women blogged they talked more about themselves, their lives and it was more personal. They were online to make more connections with others.

To checkout Dr. Strangelove’s blog:

To checkout the article:

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Growing up on YouTube

With YouTube’s spike in popularity, more people are creating amateur films and uploading them on to sites like this. But people are not only filming themselves but they are filming their children, their families, their environment, even their pets. There are many videos out there of parents videotaping their children growing up. From their first steps, first words, silly moments, to even the birth of their child.

It seems that society no longer has boundaries as to what they upload to the web. Just by searching the words ‘being born’, many results come up of mothers giving birth. Some decide to show the growth of their child by doing updated videos of them every once in awhile. Showing their first baby steps and first words are popular. You’re letting your child be seen by billions of people around the world who don’t know you or your baby and they can make judgements, comments and videos to express what they think about you even. It is very public and makes you think if there should be a ‘too much information’ clause.

But some videos, like the one below, are there for amusement. It’s like watching America’s Funniest Home videos. The video below has gotten more than 7 million views. That’s incredible just to see two children being themselves.

It’s amazing what people want the world to see. From birth, throughout life and to perhaps death. However, seeing someone die on Youtube, i’m personally saying, that’s just not right. So perhaps seeing birth on youtube should be a celebration of life. And we should stick to that limit.

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The social media trend

There is no denying that social media  has enveloped the business world into it. It is increasingly being used to increase brand awareness and in some cases revenue for certain companies. Sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are changing the way companies communicate with their audience and getting them involved.

First off, what is social media?

Daniel Nations over at describes it as “In Web 2.0 terms, this would be a website that doesn’t just give you information, but interacts with you while giving you that information. This interaction can be as simple as asking for your comments or letting you vote on an article, or it can be as complex as Flixster recommending movies to you based on the ratings of other people with similar interests. Think of regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, but you have very limited ability to give your thoughts on the matter. Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too.”

Over at, they put together a top 20 list of the best-ever social media campaigns. The list was:

  1. “The Blair Witch Project”
  2. Blendtec: ill It Blend?
  3. Old Spice: “Smell Like a Man, Man.”
  4. Burger King: “Subservient Chicken”
  5. Pepsi Refresh
  6. VW: “Fun Theory”
  7. OfficeMax: “Elf Yourself”
  8. Evian: “Roller Babies
  9. Ikea: “Facebook Showroom”
  10. Hotmail
  11. Whopper Sacrifice
  12. Target: “Bullseye Gives”
  13. Vitaminwater
  14. Smirnoff: “Tea Par-tay”
  15. The Dark Knight: Why So Serious?
  16. Quicksilver: “Dynamic Surfing”
  17. Cadbury: Gorilla
  18. BMW: “1 Series Graffit Contest”
  19. Bing/Farmville
  20. CareerBuilder: Monk-e-Mail

The ones that stood out to me were IKEA, VW, and Old Spice. I recently posted about Old Spice so I wont go over it, but feel free to look at the blog post on it:

IKEA’s campaign was brilliant because who wouldn’t want free stuff? Especially, IKEA stuff. It’s already a great product but with this campaign they tightened their brand loyalty with consumers and increased brand awareness with their friends. “To promote the opening of a new store in Malmo, Sweden, Ikea had the store manager post pictures of the new showrooms on Facebook. The first people to tag the items won them. Awareness spread rapidly from participants to their Facebook friends. The campaign won a 2010 Gold Cyber Lion at Cannes. “[This is] a great idea that not only is highly viral but gets consumers engaging with actual merchandise,” says Brandon Evans of social marketing agency Mr. Youth.” ( When you tag something on Facebook, your friends find out about it through their minifeed or your wall. So IKEA went viral pretty quickly!

Volks-Wagen had a completely different approach. They let audiences learn something about something healthy. And it doesn’t have anything to do with their product either.

So how did it get sent to those colleagues at work, your friends wall and into your twitter feed? Their theory worked. Having fun drastically changed the result of what choice people chose to get to the street. It was a bit humorous too to see people’s reaction to the piano stairs. It was a neat initiative that got a lot of notice around the world.

“One key to a viral campaign is a message that is compelling and interesting enough that a viewer or participant wants to share it with a friend, says Issa Sawabini, a partner of the youth marketing agency Fuse. And social media is a tool that makes creating a viral or buzz-worthy campaign easier…The bottom line is that a successful social media campaign requires creativity, a clear message and needs to make a splash at the right time. A good-looking guy in a bath towel doesn’t hurt, either” (

Here’s the Forbes article:

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