Analysis of Afro-Caribbean Employment Poster

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Write a detailed analysis of the poster, you should comment on: the image, the language used, the targeted audience and how it is addressed, the potential effect of the poster on different sections of its audience, and the effectiveness of the poster. Plan 1. Introduction: a short explanation of why the advert was designed, and the background of the advert. 2. Language used: paragraphs on different linguistic techniques used. 3. Image: paragraphs on colour, layout, font size/style, facial and bodily gestures etc 4. What do you think of the advert? Would it be successful?

The advert was designed to give young black males in Britain an insight into how the British army handles potentially prejudicial racial issues. This issue is being confronted in the advertisement because previously in the army there had been a large amount of racial harassment that the army just turned a blind eye to and, in this politically correct day and age, will no longer be tolerated. People of different races other than Caucasians especially afro-Caribbean’s, tended not to be part of these institutions. This was due to the racial harassment not only from the Caucasians but also from other afro-Caribbean’s, calling them names such as ‘choc-ice,’ ‘coconut,’ ‘sell out,’ and ‘uncle Sam.’ These phrases may mean nothing to us Caucasians, but to be called that by a fellow black would be very insulting for a black person. This colloquial language means that even though your skin is black you have a white mans mind, or basically a traitor against you ethnic origin.

The army, through this advertising campaign, is trying very hard to clean up its racist image with phrases like ‘Britain is a multi-racial country, it needs a multi-racial army,’ and ‘they respect me, I respect them,’ and ‘pride not prejudice.’ ‘Pride not Prejudice’ in particular, is a demonstration that not all soldiers are unintelligent and illiterate, but just normal people who just happen to have a job that involves camping out in the jungle and carrying a gun. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is a famous book by Jane Austen – a British author who is highly acclaimed by critics around the world.

I feel this comparison can be taken further to explain that the Army should be viewed as a single, one group of people working towards a common goal rather than a one man army made up of individual groups divided by prejudices, racial or otherwise, along the lines of ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’ The advert is in black and white; the main writing is set obliquely across the page to catch the reader’s eye, and the language used is aggressive. This makes you feel you must give it your immediate and full attention.

The prominent image in the advertisement is of a serious almost aggressive looking black male whose face fills almost the whole page. The image shows him also holding his hand with the index finger extended in the same way that parents do when they are telling of their little children. The words ‘Who are you calling a coconut’ are strategically placed on the advertisement, so that they appear to be coming out of his mouth as if he is saying them. It is sort of like a speech-bubble in comic books. The words are also an intense white to create a striking contrast against the dull black colours of the rest of the advert. It was designed like that to draw your attention to it immediately, so that you read and remember it. The writing is in plain script for ‘plain speaking’.

The light is positioned above and behind the camera, so that the light highlights the soldier’s most prominent features – his nose and forehead, and to hide his eyes in a shadow to give him a dark, assertive and almost threatening look. The lighting also creates the visual illusion that no matter where you are in relation to the advert his eyes always appear to be looking directly at you – exactly the same effect achieved by Leonardo da Vinci in one of his most famous works of art entitled ‘Mona Lisa.’

I think that if I was a member of the British Afro-Caribbean ethnic minority, it have a strong influence over my future employment and career prospects. It would make me ‘stand tall’ and proud and want to be counted. It would give me hope for the future – that I had a well-paid job and the respect I feel I deserve. I could ‘get on with the job’ and do my best without fear of being undermined by prejudices. The advert would be very effective where the targeted audience was concerned.

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