Monday, March 14, 2011
I would be really interested to hear everyone's thoughts on the effectiveness of using image events as a protest strategy. Deluca's analysis provides dozens of fascinating examples of the implementation of unorthodox campaign strategies to gain public attention. However, the spectacle created can often detract from the actual message being expressed. What I found particularly interesting is Deluca's comment that it is possible to measure the success of image events by the backlash they inspire (6). I tried to find a link from an advertisement I witnessed last year, but it seems like it has been removed. Anyways, it was a campaign to end the procedure of "live gutting" where fish have their guts removed while they are still alive. The advertisement started with a woman burlesque singer performing in front of a small crowd in an old-time theater. Then, out of nowhere, this fisherman comes on stage, strikes her in the head with a mallet, and begins to clean her like a fish. Then a message comes on screen- "You wouldn't do this to a person, so why are we doing it to fish?" Obviously, it was an incredibly traumatic advertisement, and thus, perhaps inherently counter-productive. It is true that the Belgium animal rights group received a lot of attention, and even now one year later I still am able to clearly recall the campaign. However, the advertisement did not leave me with a good impression of the group or their message. So, is the image event a self-defeating strategy? Or, does it create space for more traditional groups to receive recognition? Which is more interesting, the fact that many movements for social change select such approaches? Or, that many times in today's mediated society it requires such measures to receive attention?