Racial Interpretations of a Playstation Advertisement in Amsterdam Essay example

Racial Interpretations of a Playstation Advertisement in Amsterdam Essay example

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Advertisements by foreign firms may conflict with a regional or global value. The billboard advertisement in Amsterdam, “PlayStation Portable White is coming” by Sony, has caused global outcry about its racial implications. Evidently, a Japanese person born into a more homogenous society without the cultural background of today’s anti-racists western world will not consider the advertisement for its potentially racist features; however, an American citizen, who has been living in a society that defies the act of being racists, will more readily interpret the advertisement for its potentially racists elements. The visual of the two women, the placement and syntax of the text, and the use of shock all give reason for two different readers, Japanese and American, to interpret the advertisement differently.

The visuals of the two women is the most overwhelming feature of the advertisement that beholds to some an explicit racial implication, which may force readers into interpreting the advertisement as predominantly racist rather than promotional. Although Sony’s aim was to promote this product, the visual of the white woman strangling the black woman may cause audiences to interpret the ad as a racial superiority statement rather than a mere ad campaign. The difference in size between the product (bottom lefthand side) and the visual of the two women calls for more attention to the image of the two women, which depicts a dominance of white over black. A Japanese audience where due to the homogenous aspect of society, the introduction of a new color such as white is special as it is something new and distinct compared to what was then previously available. On the other hand, an American audience will be discomforted by the way in wh...


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...ion to the advertisement. It is commonly said that ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ and therefore Sony may have decided that through a controversial ad they might be able to reach a broader audience despite its potential short-term drawbacks of making them look ‘bad’.

Overall, Sony has created an advertisement, which may be easily interpreted by different audiences as racist from. Audiences whom are affected by an ethical value against racism will condemn this advertisement for its inconsiderate use of imagery, misleading text, and use of shock. Different audiences will always view advertisements from different perspectives; however, advertisers must consider the ‘taboos’ of today’s world from a global perspective when creating advertisements to avoid such hysteria or in order to evoke it in order to receive more attention, which may have been Sony’s true purpose.

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