Critical Reflection Essay


Critical Reflection on Component 3


A promotion package for the release of an album, to include:

  • a music video (major task)

  • a social media page (minor task)

  • a digipak (minor task)

Table of Contents

  • How do the elements of your production work together to create a sense of ‘branding’?
  • How did your research inform your products and the way they use or challenge conventions?
  • How do your products represent social groups or issues?
  • How do your products engage with the audience?

A brand is essential to any business, if a brand is created so it is coherent across 

All media then it is much easier to sell. They all need to belong to the same chain of brand.

In my mission statement of the artist I used words like ‘cocky’ and ‘rebellious’ to describe how my artist should come out to the audience, in order to make sure that this message was clear, I had to make all my branding the same. At the same time I also had to make my star ordinary but yet extraordinary, like Richard Dyer’s star image theory, this is done so the star is portrayed as relatable, but also respectable.

Through my products I specifically aimed to create these themes, for example in my music video, I created a very laid back, slow pace edit to the song, with calm colour correction and backgrounds. This follows Hall and encoding and decoding by encoding messages into my content, which the audience should then decode. This was somewhat contrasted by my social media page (SMP), which featured a more minimalistic, serious aesthetic, this contrast shows that my character can appear more ordinary, like in my music video, but he can also portray himself in an extraordinary manner, like being in London, then the next shooting a video as seen in the social media page. In my digipak, the album cover is ordinary and very bright. My social media page juxtaposed my digipak by having a monochrome theme to the page, with all posts except a few being in black and white, portraying how my star can be rebellious in another way.

I researched Britpop / Indie and understood that the videos had very little narrative to them, as well as having bright colours palettes and an overall alternative appearance to them.  In particular we ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’  by Oasis and decided to use some of the generic conventions of MES like the bright colours, (like red white and blue), and indie clothing of the time, e.g. working class clothing and Adidas. 

Throughout my music video there is a heavy focus on the performance, specifically the instruments being played. This is what Lacey would call the repertoire of elements. They are expected elements that our target audience would expect to see, This also follows Altmans Blueprint theory, in which a producer uses a genre to minimize their risk, by understanding what is currently popular, with little narrative and a focus on instruments. I decided to both develop these conventions as well as challenge them. 

My music video aesthetic is similar to the conventional music videos, specifically through the use of mise en scene, I changed the colour grading through Premiere Pro to make the video appear more vintage by upping the contrast but then calming the colours and adding grain. My star also wore indie clothing in the style of Oasis, by wearing an Adidas jacket and baggy jeans, with an overall baggy look. Challenging the conventions I created a narrative for my music video, by amplifying the lyrics and creating a theme of loss of innocence and growing, supported by toys, creating symbolic. This challenges Altman’s idea of a Blueprint theory, by looking at what is already popular and going against it. It also challenges Lacey’s repertoire of elements as I have not followed the expected ingredients that the target audience would expect to see.

Portraying the star in an extraordinary and an ordinary way, in my products was key to creating a successful digipak. The star I created is known for their rebellious manner and egotistical nature, the background behind their character is that they are working-class and have used their talent to become famous. I wanted him to show his working class roots. This evidences Dyers paradox of the star, as he has a very ordinary personality and upbringing but then was launched into fame, presenting him both as extraordinary and ordinary. One minute he is visiting his family and the next he is headlining a festival. Symbolic imagery is also important as it can sometimes create an underlying theme. I wanted to represent him in his digipak and touch into his nostalgic side. For this I decided to shoot a dart board as well as darts in the board.. The Union Jack also evidences Barthes symbolic and cultural imagery, as it is a flag representative of t

he UK. It also could evoke feelings of nostalgia and patriotism to the viewer, but also representing the genre of Britpop. The dartboard hints towards the pub aesthetic, representing the working class and his upbringing. In the inner pages I also have a photo of the London skyline that I took on film, again adding to the theme of nostalgia and general patriotism and britishness.  This further reinforces the star’s ideologies and beliefs.

Marketing is one of the key ways to try and engage your audience with the artist. Then with a fully invested audience, they are more likely to follow and support the artist. The social media page is perfect for this purpose, Hall proposes the idea of the theory of encoding meaning into the message, and then the audience has to decode said message. The audience will get a preferred reading, meaning how they interpret the message. Blumler and Katz also discussed the four reasons why the audience looks into the media, these being social interaction, personal identity, entertainment and information, I tried to fulfill this by creating a range of instagram posts with all different intentions, for example I created a post about men’s mental health, fulfilling information, as well as personal identity. The SMP I created fulfils my attempt to engage with the audience. This would also fulfil B and K, as my social media page has several posts that support their concepts and ideas. For example, There is a comment system on my instagram page, which allows the audience to leave a message, and communicate with either the artist, or other fans of the artist. I also added a link to the tour page, that enables the viewer to feel like they are involved with the artist, fulfilling the need of encouraging social interaction. I also added a post dedicated to tour dates and where they are. This fulfills Blumler and Katz theory specifically in entertainment.  For Hall’s theory, I created a ‘coming soon’, posting an image of St Pauls Cathedral in London, the audience then had to try and decode any hints they could find.

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