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Unit 3 Project

Deconstruction of a youtube cultural artifact, specifically the StandUp2Cancer campaign.

Ashley Offill

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Unit 3 Project

What exactly does it mean to stand up to cancer? It is a disease without a cure; how are average people supposed to help? This ad campaign uses emotional appeals and celebrity portrayals to create a response in the viewer that will lead to action. The supported action is a donation to cancer research, as shown in text in the very last seconds of the PSA. However, the ad is about a lot more than asking for donations. What tools do they use? celebrity advocates
catchy, cause specific music (that gets stuck in your head)
clean, clear format
a sense that you can do something
relatability "'Packaging' is a method of constructing meanings, assigning values and building opinions around a particular issue, commodity, service or condition of life." (Pramod K. Nayar,"Packaging Life: Culturesof the Everyday", vii) The ad capitalizes on simplicity. "Rhetrickery: The whole range of shoddy, dishonest communicative arts producing misunderstanding - along with other harmful results. The arts of making the worse seem the better cause." (Wayne C. Booth, "The Rhetoric of Rhetoric", 11) Consumerism: the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically beneficial "...the mass production and standarization of consumer goods required the mass production and standardization of consumers..." (Christine Harold, "OurSpace", 22) imagery The images procede in a logical order to create a story. There is only one image at a time. Nothing overlaps and nothing stands out. sound The PSA uses original music created solely for the campaign. In the video, the musician is anonymous - it is unclear who gets the credit. The song continuously repeats the phrase "Stand Up
to Cancer" in conjunction with the campaign, making impossible to forget what you are viewing. setting It takes place in a blank, white space - it is literally a blank canvas. The PSA could be set anywhere; there is nothing to tie the setting to one location and therefore limit the audience. The end result is vastly different
from the beginning; there is a
sense of unity and the space
has become personal through
the writing on the white wall. The use of celebrity has two purposes:
it shows that cancer affects everyone, regardless of status
it adds a consumer aspect to the message - celebrities always 'sell', whether it is what they wear, where they go, or in this case, what they do The beginning is blank; blank walls, floors, with no indication of space.
The people are mixed but seem grouped off; they are not a single entity. Not only does the ad show different races, genders, and social statuses, but it also shows people of different ages. References Booth, Wayne C. "The Rhetoric of Rhetoric". (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2004). Harold, Christine. "OurSpace".
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007). Nayar, Pramod K. "Packaging Life: Cultures of the Everyday".
(New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2009). Up2 PSA - Extended Celebrities used:
Renee zellweger
Josh Groban
Mandy Moore
Rob Lowe
and many others in other ads

The lack of iconography or connection to the outside world
both limits and opens the narrative; there is nothing to specifically
tie the viewer in, but there is also nothing to keep them out. Tying it all together:
The PSA is a package through the appearance of not having a package. By making the message open and available to everyone, the creators made a unique 'non-package' package.
The use of celebrities is an example of creative consumerism; members of today's culture are so used to being sold items and lifestyles by celebrities, they are just as open to being sold ideas and actions as they are in this PSA.
The intense appeals to emotion and the idea that cancer can affect anyone shows subtle use of rhetrickery. Ashley Offill The PSA packages itself by not creating a package; the blank setting and wide variety of figures apply to everyone. Rhetrickery is seen as negative, but it can be deceptive without necessarily being bad. In this compaign, the clear emphasis placed on appealing to the viewer's emotion by relating it back to ideas of family, love, and even of being able to make a difference is rhetrickery. Consumerism is not as directly addressed in this video, though it still has a monetary connotation through the desired action of giving. However, celebrities are basically vehicles of consumerism in todays culture. Celebrities tell us what to buy, whether it is in an actual ad or just through their personal use of a product. In this case, celebrities tell us to buy into an idea and a way of response. The ad closes by asking the viewer to give. The rhetoric of the ad, however, asks for much more than a monetary donation. It asks the viewer to relate, to consider their own connection to cancer, and drives home the point that cancer can and does affect everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or social status.
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