No More Domestic Violence
When we hear the term propaganda we often believe that something negative is being portrayed, however this is incorrect. The definition of propaganda has changed over time depending on society and their current event, however there is a common agreement that propaganda is a tool of persuasion, there is a motive or has to attempt and needs a purpose standing behind (Welch, 2003).
I bring your attention to the following video linked to this post. The minute long video was found on mind over media website and was created by nomore.org. The no more project is a non profit organization that launched in 2013. The purpose of this organization is to raise awareness and educate as long as be a support system for those who are victims of domestic abuse. The goal of the organization is to end domestic and sexual abuse by pushing a cultural change. The organization values unity, collaboration, innovation and transparency. This organization has become the largest and most successful public awareness campaign on domestic violence and sexual assault.
Back to the video, as we watch the video we begin confused. As the video is fairly short the method of how they portray the message snaps from "oh is this going to be a dominos commercial" to "oh wow this is actually serious" Whats the underlying message? Well it's clear that those who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault may not be able to instantly say "hey I'm in trouble" there are signs that we are should be looking out for. At the end of the video the phrase "when it's hard to talk, it's up to us to listen". It's our responsibility to understand the situation and to know small tell signs in their nonverbal communication, such as when you're talking to someone you can see their facial expression, pitch and tone and when things are said. So the reason for the video we agree that its for raising awareness of domestic violence and that someone in need of help is not always going to be able to say it so it is our responsibility to listen and watch for it.
Its agreeable that it is important to raise awareness of problems and educate those on certain matters such like the no more project is successfully trying to do. When you look at any advertisement you have to stop and think, who would this message be intended for and what was the purpose of the message? The target audience can be anyone, with the exceptions of small children who are not able to fully understand. When you are trying to educate the population on an important matter there is no room to be picky on who the message is for.
While this video is still posted on nomore.org, the advertisement aired in 2015 during super bowl 49. Yeah the one with our wonderful New England team and that amazing upset against the Seahawk where Malcom Butler intercepted that catch and help Tommy clutch another ring. According to Frank Pallotta from CNN business, super bowl 49 had the largest audience in U.S TV history at the time with 114.4 millions views. We look at the advertisement video as propaganda, there was a purpose which was to educate and persuade the audience to become part of the change. The best way to gain support is to create awareness and having that advertisement during the super bowl was a fantastic idea. The best time to play a commercial, whether it be for an organization or a business is when there are to be a large scale of viewers for example events that are televised such as sport games and championship game and award ceremonies such as the Grammies.
The method of how they broadcasted the propaganda is not only the important factor, but also what method they use to persuade the audience. Going back to the video we are told to listen to the message and what is going on, but it is also important to visually analyze. No people are actually shown. There a house which seems like a nice house however its unorganized, things are thrown around, the kitchen is dirty, there is a hole in the wall, and a wall of portraits with one fallen on the ground. Combine that with what is being said, and the message is to not listen to the 911 operator, but to listen to the woman making the call. How does she sound? Are there any change of tone? Yes there are because you can hear when the operator picks up that she is in trouble and ask her if someone is in the room with her, her voice pauses and her tone drops. All these variations pull on your heart and it completely changes the tone. This is what is called using the persuasive method of pathos which deal with the emotion appeal.
The method seems pretty clear, but for some people they may interpret it differently. It may be that some people have been shielded in their lives from domestic abuse and sexual assault, meaning that they may not have been around it, or it wasn't a common thing. Another reason someone might interpret this video differently and not understand is because it is so normalized in the environment they do not know that it is a problem. The video is also found on youtube from repost and looking at the comment section you can see other ways that people may interpret this message. Another common misinterpretation of the commercial was that domestic violence only happens to woman, showing that they completely missed the underlying purpose.
In conclusion it's clear that the nomore.org project understood that they needed a large audience to raise awareness to not only domestic abuse, but to their organization and the best way to do that was during the superbowl and to use pathos to help connect and pull on the emotions of the audience
. Propaganda is thought of to be negative but that is not that case because propaganda is a mode of persuasion. While there is a clear bias of how people need to think, it is not harmful because it is for a good cause.
Pallotta, F. (2015). Superbowl XLIX post the largest audience in TV history. CNN Business. retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2015/02/02/media/super-bowl-ratings/
Welch, D. (2003). Propaganda, definitions of. In N. J. Cull, D. H. Culbert, D. Welch, Propaganda and mass persuasion: a historical encyclopedia, 1500 to the present. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.