AS essay question


Give a little bit of advertising background (cover some of the following in no particular order): 1. Main aim of advertising and marketing 2. New and digital media – web 2.0 – interactivity and immersion. then introduce your case study, Disney – big 6; huge budget (ability to saturate the market – 360 advertising); ability to advertise and market in house thanks to horizontal and vertical integration; the power of Disney’s brand image

Point 1: Discuss the importance of Web 2.0 for advertising Disney and independent films – focus particularly on the opportunity for audience interaction (good and bad)

  1. social media
  2. film sites
  3. parodies, viral – audience interaction + immersion, secondary circulation, branding,
  4. convergence

Point 2: Despite the prevalence of digital marketing cinematic and TV trailers are still a very important part of the marketing mix because…

  1. Building buzz – release dates for trailers are carefully chosen (Frozen – first teaser trailer released a year before)
  2. Superbowl ads have an incredible reach but are they worth the money?…
  3. Trailers are lean forward in cinemas; also superbowl ads are more lean forward because there is a buzz about which ads are shown. It is very hard to ignore trailers in the cinema so they are very effective at communicating with audiences.
  4. Placement – in cinemas placed before similar genre and target audience – give examples – this is also synergy
  5. Building hype – trailers online
  6. Special edition magazines features – Disney films are much more likely to get onto the covers of Empire etc:…

Point 3 – Creating buzz

– creative guerilla adverts that go viral

– Disney theme parks (featuring rides from newest films) – independent films don’t have this incredible advantage

Point 4 – synergy

  • A list actors (Toy Story – Tom Hanks)
  • In house – horizontal integration (Frozen featured in ABCs Once Upon a Time)
  • In house characters (Demi Lovato singing Let it Go)
  • Pixar, Marvel and Disney (the power of the Star Wars brand  – does it advertise itself? Marvel comics have helped establish incredibly powerful brands)


These are just some examples – Disney saturation unlike smaller budget. Each film has a different approach but the main aim is to create reach and brand equity.

Y12: alternatives to the Disney model


Whilst many of the mainstream films that institutions (such as Disney produce) are criticised for largely sticking to old tried and tested formulas, there are so many examples of innovative films taking place. Woody Harrelson for example is currently preparing for his directorial debut, Lost in London which will be shot in one unbroken 100-minute take in 14 locations across London:




QUESTION 1b (25 marks) essay structure


You have 30 minutes to write your answer, so you should be aiming for at least 2 sides – perhaps an introduction and conclusion with four to five main body paragraphs

Introduction –

  • Introduce the product you are going to write about
  • Define/give some background context to the topic

Main body –

This answer is very theoretical and requires you to be able to frame your answer around these theories. Like the first answer, regardless of the topic, you should always be able to relate your answer back to ANGRILI – audience, narrative, genre, representation, institution, language, ideology – of course the primary focus is whatever the question is asking you about but be aware that it is impossible to write about one media area without at least referencing others.

Below are some of the theorists you might use (they are all on the PowerPoints which are on the blog):


Stuart Hall – encoding, decoding

Maslow – hierarchy of needs

Young and Rubicam – 4 cs

Vance Packard – 8 hidden needs


Roland Barthes – enigma and action codes

Todorov – equilibrium model

Propp – 8 spheres of action (fairy tales)

Levi Strauss – binary oppositions


Hartley – genre = ideological closure

Fowler – audiences have a pre-existing knowledge

Gledhill – shorthand

Dyer – escapist pleasures

Neale – repetition and difference

Fiske – preferred reading

Abercrombie – pleasure through manipulation

Media language

Stuart Hall – encoding, decoding, preferred reading

Roland Barthes – media myths


Stuart Hall – encoding and decoding – active audience, preferred reading, negotiated reading, oppositional reading

Stuart Pryce – dominant ideology

Richard Dyer – the ‘real’ – mediation

Tessa Perkins – stereotypes


Laura Mulvey – male gaze

Naomi Wolfe – iron maiden

Alison Bechdel – the Bechdel test


Zygmunt Bauman – liquid modernity and postmodern consumerism

Jean Baudrillard – hypereality


Theodor Adorno – the culture industry and commodity fetishism

Louis Althusser



Orientalist readings

Edward Said


Entity’ is a paranormal horror shown entirely through the use of CCTV cameras. It is about a young female who was bullied at school and has returned seeking revenge. After studying Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I established that when promoted with two films of the same genre, the one which was abstract is more likely to be chosen by an audience member. I constructed a trilogy of 3 short teaser trailers, each about 10 seconds long, through CCTV imagery. I chose to use CCTV footage because I felt it was easy to create realistically. We added night vision effects to the images, in shades of blues and greens. These were generic codes – connotating the poison and depression that the girl had felt before she died.

Our trailer uses a strong trait of Barthes’ enigma codes, as well as ideas from Richard Dyer’s typography. The first shot the audience sees is of a girl, outside at ‘night’. We used melodramatic ideas of pathetic fallacy to create mystery, with it stereotypically at night time. There is no dialogue in ‘Entity’ and all the shots are of high angles, facing downwards, belittling the girl, symbolically showing she is of no importance. Questions are raised instantly in the audience’s minds in relation to Dyer’s typography, for example who is she? And why is she there?

Each of the 3 trailers progress intension as they continue, with the sound (mainly ambience, with deep strings and loud bass) heightening in volume to build suspense. Each of our trailers abide by the first half of Todorov’s theory – each starts in equilibrium, which is disrupted by the girl of paranormal happenings – but equilibrium is never restored. This raises more questions in the audiences minds and promotes them to keep watching. In the second of the 3 trailers, the girl is seen to be an asylum- which is in fact a school.

We used the idea of Levi Strauss’ binary oppositions in the location itself – a school is seen to be a trusted, good place, but instead there are awful things happening there. Secondly, the girl is wearing a white, oversized hospital gown with bare feet. Her lack of shoes may show her childlike mental state, but particularly her white dress connotes innocence, purity – however she is the opposite. There is a myth with her costume since stereotypically hospital gowns would connote healing and well being, but this time the character is evil and deathly. This voices further questions in the audiences’ minds.

In the last trailer, the girl is seen to appear in the school toilets, perhaps insinuating that bad things happened there. She appears in the mirror – and a typical stereotype of the female population is to be seen vain, staring at themselves. However the girl does not look at herself, she makes eye contact with the camera, perhaps in a plea for help and to engage with the audience. This can be seen, as Tessa Perkins said, to oppose normal stereotypes, but in particular in Laura Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze.

Our character is represented as a hysterical desperate female – but she is obviously evil and is not sexualised in any way. This opposes the idea that men dominate society, and in ‘Entity’ in particular, the bad events are certainly female based. ‘Entity’ does not obey theories such as Propp’s character functions since she is the only character – a villain – and so the plot cannot be driven by a hero. There is a restricted narrative structure since we aimed for audience members to decode our piece in their own way.


Our whole teaser is an enigma code (one of Roland Barthes 5 codes) but we also use symbolic codes with deeper meanings to mirror the hard, tormented life of the girl. Richard Dyer’s typography paired with constant opposing conventions and justapositions (both Strauss and Neale’s ideas) very appealing to our target audience.

AS Media: Star Wars Rogue 1 – dumbing down?

Image result for rogue 1Please read the following article and make some notes. It is an excellent exploration of the current Hollywood system and the tendency of institutions such as Disney to simply re-work old films. Rogue 1 is a fantastic example because the treatment was a collation of parts of former films! This trend is criticised because it shows that the ‘Big 6’ are seeking profit over originality and creativity. If you look at the top ten grossing films of the year, most, if not all are franchises and this is an unfortunate sign of dumbing down:





B321(30% of the final grade)

1.      CD cover research (3 front, 3 back)

2.      CD cover plan

3.      Final CD front and back cover (it must contain the representation of a person and all the conventions of a professional CD cover – bar code etc.)

4.      Evaluation of CD cover – particular attention must be given to the representation of the artist featured on the cover. The evaluation must reflect upon the audience feedback you have received.


B324 (30% of the final grade)

1.      Advertising theory (less important)

2.      Research of 3 logos, 3 billboards, 3 magazine advert

3.      Target audience summary

4.      At least 3 mock ups logos, billboards, 3 magazine adverts

5.      Audience feedback

6.      Final logo, billboard, magazine advert

7.      Evaluation

8.      Production logs