Every now and then, I find myself quoting references from South Park and Family Guy without knowing the true embedded messages behind the quotes. In fact, the other Monday at work, me and my friend Patrick began to take innovatory of vitamins. It was early; we both were tired, thus I quoted South Park: “You shouldn’t do drugs. If you do them, you’re bad, m’kay” (Parker). This captured his full attention, we both found it humorous and we laughed it off. This opened new conversations, making the day seem like a Friday. This subsequently began to capture my attention and then it came to mind that this was similar to one of my readings topics.
After reading Antonia Peacocke’s article “Family Guy and Freud,” she discussed the correlation between television shows and Sigmund Freud. Peacocke suggests that some television shows embed controversial, political and social issues, with the producer’s intentions to break down these controversial issues or change them into a norm within society. These embedded message are masked, causing the viewer to underestimate the producers true intent (Peacocke). The article illuminate’s different aspects of what some television shows intents are, and this raises different questions, whether or not additional techniques are used in embedded messages? And if all embedded messages create positive feedback?
There are numerus articles, journals, news and studies that demonstrate how television shows use the subconscious mind to influence the public. The larger part of these studies focus on the impact that these influences cause, while other studies illustrate different techniques that are used in influencing audiences. Lastly the last articles illuminate the potential implications that embedded messages may convey towards the audience.
Initially, the first area of interest begins with a brief history of how influence was used in Movies and Television. These articles explain the different techniques that were used within the past and the ones that are used today, these techniques are used to tap into the subconscious mind and ultimately influence the audience. In the early days of television and movies, a famous case reported increasing popcorn sales and Coke products by using subliminal messages within a movie. The movie would show messages on the screen without the viewer being aware of the messages. This case was presumed to be factual until different researches found little evidence to support this case. This case was later debunked as a self-interest hoax (Psychologist World).
Another important article that emphasis’s the influence within movies are the direct consequences within the film industry around the 1930’s. Films displayed sex, violence, etc. that resulted with the film industries creating strict guidelines in result from the uproar of the American moral guardians (CultureShock).
Together, both of these articles represent an ideal contrast where they represent a concept of the knowledge that was known within the past. This knowledge determines the different approaches and opinions that have been established on influencing audiences. Although these conclusions are either a mistake or a sham, they aid to focuses different aspects of research within the next articles.
The first interesting aspect that is used within influencing are the senses. There are some studies that construct these unusual aspects within influencing. Although it is uncommon to connect both aspects, they are vital in providing a potential impact that aids embedded messages and emphasis a different aspect in subliminal messages.
As example, the sound of music influences the tendencies of shoppers who purchase wine. Dr. Adrian C. North PhD writes within his journal a study pilot that explored the correlation between the influence of music and the direct influence of mood in participants. When different but specific music was played, the ratings of wine changed (North).
These types of findings establish within this article that there must be different aspects that are involved in the techniques used in embedding messages.
A better example is the impact of music when played in the background of a film. Dr. Stuart Fischoff PhD was the founding President of the American Psychological Association’s Media Psychology Division (now called The Society for Media Psychology and Technology). Dr. Fischoff explains within his journal that audio itself can be used consciously or subconsciously depending on the picture depictions. This creates an atmosphere created by the audio and picture, enabling the viewer to perceive “heightened realism or supra-reality.” As evident, horror films use audio to strategically build suspense for a brief moment (Fischoff Ph.D.).
These two articles depict the important roles that emotions play in two different propositions. This makes it probable that emotions are used in general among viewers that ranges from influences viewers to briefly changing their perception. The brings me to my next few articles that will delve into the implications of embedded messages.
Furthermore, these aspects result in today’s techniques and implications. The intent of influencing audiences becomes more practical and the producer’s intent to embed messages indirectly results with unique feedbacks that consisting both of negative and positive implications. These embedded messages still contain the produces intents that influence American morals and values, amplify and emphasis content or even to indirectly market audiences.
One way American morals and values have changed are the direct result of Seth MacFarlane television show “Family Guy”. In 1999, Jon Scott an American television news anchor from fox files interviewed Seth MacFarlane, Seth is the creator of Family Guy. In one of his interviews, he mentioned that “Family Guy” is a “sort of animated Archie Bunker” show (MacFarlane). In a different interview, Lisa Capretto the senior producer digital at The Oprah Winfrey Network interviewed the creator of “All in the Family, Carroll O’Connor. This interview reveled that Archie Bunker from the television in the 1970’s was famously known as a “lovable bigot” who had one main flaw that distorted his reality (Capretto). Similarly, the main charter of Family Guy portrays many of these characteristics that Archie portrays.
Family Guy’s intents start from the beginning. In fact, within the introduction song of Family Guy, the lyrics bridge consists of Peter singing “But where are those good old-fashioned values. On which we used to rely?!” These lyrics remind the viewers what they are watching and that the concept of these “Good old-fashioned values” introduce in a nutshell, what the show is really about (Gormmley and Henry). Antonia’s Peacocke is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. In her article “Family Guy and Freud”, she suggests that these authors trust “in their viewers’ ability to analysis what they are watching.” And that “Family Guy can provide a sort of relief by breaking down taboos, we must all wonder whether or not these taboos exist for a reason” (Peacocke).
Family Guy defiantly is not the only show that enforces these techniques that embed messages within television shows. After all, there are articles and journals that bring insights on the implications which producer’s intents have caused with the negative and positive affects feedbacks.
The first article shows the negative affects of large advertising agiencies in result of personal interists. Carrie Packwood Freeman and Debra Merskin’s article explore the stratagies large food-chain franchaise companies use to increase their revenue. These authors reveal that marketing stratagies target heterosexual males in order to purchase their products. This in result affects the minority groups, in this case the women (Freeman and Merskin). This example illistruates how women have fought for their rights and certain advertising agiencies have used men to exploit women in todays modern world.
The second article emphsises how the news inhibits both negative and positive impacts on viewers. Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK. Dr. Davey writes within his article that the form in which news is presented influences audiences emotional state (C.L. Davey PhD). This article provides a glimpse in determining the outcome within news bulletins that consist of negative, positive or emotional natural content and the impact that the viewer’s emotions create. Dr. Davey ends his article by promoting news stations to revise their content before airing. In short, these articles are not just examples of the cascading effects of the produces intents, they illuminate different strategies that impact the public as a whole.
It is evident by consulting these studies that additional techniques are used in creating embedded messages. These embedded messages have the potential to distort or create the American culture, influence viewers into buying certain wine or hamburgers all in all by simply using the subconscious mind, influencing sense or exploiting emotional states. This has yield positive shifts that have created the modern culture. Despite the sociological positive feedback, the negative feedback cannot be overlooked.
Thus, with these different perspectives, the obligation pertains to the viewers and the new modern television shows, to raise awareness that disapproves the use of embedded messages that result in negative feedback. This will create and felicitate new morals and standards using positive embedded messages. Additionally, this will fade the negative embedded messages and favor the positive feedback. The negative feedback deserves recognition and until both the viewers and modern television shows create this change, these embedded messages will continue in creating negative feedbacks.