Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Propaganda, Placement and Persuasion

There's a relatively new billboard that I pass by almost daily. Its colors are washed out, the style is reminiscent of the 1930s WPA (Works Progress Adminstration) government posters and government-sponsored artwork. Apparently it resonates with the public, because Verizon Mobile has launched a new graphic, titled Rule the Air in a style that could be mistaken for WPA art.

Both ad campaigns disturb me in their simplicity and ties to another era, an era of desperation, cemented by a determination that only the federal government could provide the solution.

My formal education includes undergraduate degrees in psychology and communication; graduate in management. My professional endeavors have included training, marketing and communication. My avocation is history. My passion is politics. All influence my perception of everyday images.

The stylized Obama campaign poster drew heavily upon the WPA-style of art. The National Endowment for the Arts aggressively recruited artists to help propagandize the Obama message and agenda, using federal funds to finance. Andrew Breitbart exposed the effort and it was (supposedly) halted.

But the Feeding America poster, the Rule the Air campaign, and many other images we are exposed to daily, set the tone of depression and desperation -- in message -- and in medium.

Are my observations subjective? Yes.
Are the messages subliminal. Perhaps.
Is the effort synchronized with a progressive agenda? Undoubtedly.

Images for your consideration:

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