Critical Reflection Essay

Emilie Gaudion (3094)

Critical Reflection on Component 3



Component 3 Brief Completed:

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

  1. How do the elements of your production work together to create a sense of ‘branding’?
    • Focus on all products
  2. How did your research inform your products and the way they use or challenge conventions?
    • Focus on music video conventions
  3. How do your products represent social groups or issues?
    • Focus on digipak
  4. How do your products engage with the audience?
    • Focus on social media page



Component 3 Critical Reflection


Title card from the music video

Brands need to be easily recognisable for the audience, so media producers must make sure to create a united and integrated campaign in which the products belong to the same ‘family’.

The mission statement of our artist used descriptions such as ‘romantic, dreamlike, naive.’ The various products of the package work together to form a specific representation of the artist, and, at various stages and in various ways, these represent her across all of the texts. De Saussure would recount this as using clear denotations which have relevant connotations- the signifier and the signified- which encourages preferred reading. These were brought closely together in the social media page, where it was clear that all the elements have aided in creating an overall sense of branding.

As an example, an aspect of my star image that the audience would expect to see is the overall idea of her romantic and playful nature as a dreamlike indie star. This was noticeable in the products that were created- a pink, grainy filter over the music video gave it a sense of nostalgia  conventional of the stars of the indie genre. In the digipak, this was emphasized further with the star pictured on a cloud, giving her a highly dreamlike feel, which could be seen as a symbolically representing her as having her ‘head in the clouds.’

The sock puppets by the river

The paradox of the star with her being both ordinary and extraordinary (Dyer) is clear throughout the branding of the products. The semic codes of her relaxed posture and tranquil facial expression and the cultural code of her on the cloud are what Barthes would describe as the narrative code. Our audience should be able to decode that whilst our character is  a dreamlike idealisation, she’s also still human. The music video and the digipak were both heavily promoted in the social media page, where the fans of the star would expect to be tempted to follow along with the star and her life, and feel involved with the promotion of her album and music video. Having a mission statement that stated key elements of her personality helped me strongly in designing the brand overall, which was represented through a conventional colour palette of the indie genre, featuring more pastel colours, signifying a conventional metanarrative of a sweet and deliberately naive indie star.


Editorial style hair with multicoloured butterfly clips

We looked into professional indie music videos and understood that they were usually a fairly even balance between performance and narrative aspects, and they often feature quite surreally shot and edited footage, which tended to feature the conventional mise-en-scene of bold colours and editorial style hair and makeup, as well as usually quite nature based settings.

In particular, we watched the video for Bad Ideas by Tessa Violet and decided to use some of the generic conventions of Mise-en-Scene, such as the editorial style hair to connote a surreal and dreamlike feel, along with butterfly clip hair accessories to create a fun and almost childlike feeling. These elements are what Lacey would describe as the repertoire of elements, which are the elements that our target audience would expect to see, and, as Altman would suggest, is the blueprint for a conventionally recognisable and successful indie music video.

Our sock puppets, portraying our narrative

In our production, I decided to stick to the convention of the equal narrative to performance and develop this further. Similarly to another music video we studied, ‘Intertwined’ by Dodie, we used puppets to portray our narrative, fulfilling a part of the blueprint, and therefore, as Altman suggests the contract of what fits the audience’s expectations. We used a narrative showing two sock puppets falling in love over time, and the eventual unravelling of the relationship while one of the socks realises that the relationship was not as happy as she initially thought.

It was filmed using a tripod, resulting in steady, static shots which enabled me to frame in an arty and playful manner and focus on the emotion and narrative. This style of filming fitted with the generic conventions of the indie genre, where the camera tends to stay still to bring focus to the narrative, fitting with the emotion-focused nature of the indie genre.

Static shot of one of our sock puppets to convey emotion



The front cover of our digipak

In order to represent the star in an authentic way, all of our products were vital in creating the package successfully.

Our star is considered a dreamy and naive character, and so her metanarrative  portrays her lighthearted and almost childlike nature. She clearly demonstrates the ‘extraordinary’ aspect of Dyer’s paradox of the star, as she symbolises a dreamlike idealisation of what a girl could be; she seems like an aspirational character rather than a real person. On the opposite side of her personality, she shares more vulnerable, ‘ordinary’ aspects of herself on her social media page.

I wanted to represent the star on the Digipak as a very feminine and almost dreamlike figure, so I developed this idea further. I photographed her in a softly lit

The inside left page of the digipak

studio and edited her onto a cloud that I drew. This represented her as a dreamy and relaxed figure, implying the more extraordinary side of her star image; she’s more of a dreamy idealisation than a real person.


The clouds could be seen as symbolic, as Barthes would say, of ‘having your head in the clouds’, which represents the childlike naivety of the star and her attitude toward life. Barthes might suggest that this representation through the semic code of the soft lighting and the pink background may not be read in the intended dreamy way, but instead as being overly surreal, which could potentially turn away audiences who could consider it to be too corny.



The bio and information on our social media page, as well as the 3 most recent posts

The main aim of the marketing campaign is to engage the audience, and if this is unsuccessful, the product launch is unlikely to do as well as it could. A social media page is a strong opportunity to engage with the fans of our star, Cotton Sox. 

Blumler and Katz suggest that communicating a sense of personal identity that matches the audience’s ideology will ensure a higher level of success for the product, in order for the audience to relate to the text and take action in interacting with it. The text needed to gain the audience’s attention and interest them, creating the desire to interact with the star and take action, for example by listening to their music or buying a ticket to their tour.  If this is done unsuccessfully, it could lead to the audience rejecting the text and the star as a whole, and instead of relating to it, they could feel alienated from the text and the star.


The rest of the posts on our star’s social media page

AIDA is the marketing mantra that I considered whilst developing my social media page; attention, interest, desire & action, were watchwords for me as we developed content.

As a result of this, I made sure that the social media page contained elements that Blumler and Katz would argue are essential to engage the audience in a text. For an example of this, we had the star promote a live show in which the audience could feel inspired to interact on a more ‘personal’ level with them. There is also a link in the bio which encourages the audience to watch the star’s latest work; her music video.

It was important to make sure that the page contained all the relevant information, as well as entertainment so fans would feel involved. To do this, I included video release teasers, tour dates, and a competition to win one of the sock puppets included in the music video. All of this was done to maximise the amount of interaction our page would receive from the target audience.

The page also contained photos, videos, captions and more that spoke the correct ‘language’ of the star, both literally and visually. For example, the star using emojis and typing in all lowercase in the captions appeals to the demographic of young people of all genders, as many young people communicate online with this same typing style.

A post promoting a live stream, with the caption containing the ‘language’ of the star