Critical Reflection Essay

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)
  • 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?

Our mission statement recognises our key branding focuses of creating a rebellious edgy and seductive character to our audience. All of our products come together to show our audience the type of character he is and what his values, attitudes and beliefs/ his ideology.  Our Brand needs to be recognisable and create an exhilarating campaign that keeps all the products linked together and makes them feel as one cohesive campaign. The most Important elements to convey a good sense of branding is using the same features throughout the package such as colour palette, mise-en-scene and keys themes/ideas to ensure your audience  recognise that the package is all connected.


Our main elements over all of our products were the colour palette of blue/yellow and black which we ensured was identical throughout to keep the audience reassured when viewing each product as they will be able to identify each and create a link between them. The key themes/Ideas that we are trying to convey to our audience are the confidence and playfulness that he brings with his good looks. The ideas are that he is suffering from intense feelings of love and passion and can’t get these feeling out of his mind, hence these themes are spread across our products, the recurring motif which link to these themes are the mise-en-scene more specifically the costume and the very unique out of style/retro fashion that our star has, which is very distinctive and easily recognisable by 

our target audience giving him more of a quirky and abstract Identity. This is all part of Stuart Hall’s Reception Theory and how we  encoded ideology into our products and how our audience sees it. As well as them decoding it and adding their own ideas whilst filtering them through their own cultural competence also creating their own perception of themes and emotions.


We did some important groundwork on our genre of pop/rap by watching some professional music videos and collecting some of the essential key features of mise en scene and camera & editing.  We looked at a music video called ‘I.F.L.Y’ by Bazzi where we did an in depth analysis of the conventional costume and setting. Both of these elements are a part of Laceys Repertoire of elements and these are the essential conventions that we need to include to meet the expectations of our target audience and keep it standard to the style to ensure they feel a predictable pleasure. For our final product we decided to erase the narrative section of the video and only include a few elements/themes of love throughout, this would be against Altmans typical blueprint for a pop/Hip Hop video as they typically include a more complete narrative. However we did Include elements of a narrative with this young summer/holiday romance which is more of a thematic narrative rather than a complete storyline to keep our audience guessing the meaning behind our narrative. To achieve this sense of narrative we decided to shoot on the beach to capture the summery feeling and make our audience feel as though they are part of the story. This is an extremely common feature used throughout the pop genre so we felt as though we had to include a story to keep our audience appealed and meet the expectations of our target audience. To achieve the hip hop side of our genre we had to gage this from his manners and attitudes, we directed him to be slightly dangerous and edgy with his mannerisms and facial expressions, we further created this effect using our camera angles in our studio shoot, we used CU & ECU to create the aggressive and deviant feeling that the hip hop genre typically conveys to its target audience.


A massive element of this package of products is how the star is represented. We wanted our star to come across with a rebellious, powerful, and seductive feeling towards our target audience. This is all linked to the extraordinary elements of Dyer’s Paradox of the star as he displays rebelliousness in how we represented  him through mise en scene more specifically his out of the norm clothing style but also his facial expressions and hand gestures, but also kind and thoughtful sides to him such as how he supported Black Lives Matter movement and also sharing his well respected views on the intense U.S Election, all of this is presented on the Social Media Page. For our digipack we wanted to portray our star as a powerful, rebellious character,  in order to convey these conventions we focused on Barthes codes, in particular the semic code which includes elements such as the lighting. For this we took our shots with high key lighting in order to create a conventional star image. Another feature which we used is his hand gestures which we used to convey a skater feel to the audience with it being a cultural code, the hand gesture also has deeper meaning of meaning ‘I love you’ In ASL 

(American Sign Language) which was purposely done as a link to the main themes of the album and the romance theme used throughout our music video. To also add to the image portrayed to the audience, we used some light makeup to give him more of a metro sexual look as well as getting him to look straight towards the camera gives him a certain defiance and strength which was a vital element we wanted to portray. The typeface we have used which is called ‘mistral’ is seen as a rough around the edges and rebellious typeface. We wanted to reflect our themes in our typeface as much as we could so we chose a sans serif font that was abstract and captured the attention of our audience with it having a quirky style.


Pleasing and engaging with our audience is an essential objective in the making of any marketing campaign as without it your audience would be much fewer as well as being less interested in any new releases decreasing recognition and awareness for the artist, so it is a vital part of a successful artist. Our SMP was the perfect place to connect and engage with our fans as we were able to release new releases and content for everyone to see instantly this led to faster word of mouth which is really important and is a very powerful marketing tool, the interest of our artist will also increase due to this. One massive focus for our SMP was AIDA which is our Audience, Interest, Desire and Action and how it is used throughout our SMP, and especially how to use all of them effectively to keep our audience entertained and interested in finding out what is coming up next. For our SMP it was essential that we established the ideas of Blumler & Katz theory of gratification and the key elements that help engage our media with the audience. We especially focused on the personal Identity as this was the main method of connecting our audience with our star. We tried to encourage social interaction and to achieve this through doing regular tweets and live twitter chats.  There was also a link to a merchandise page that enables the fans to feel part of the club and in particular wear the trendy out of norm style/retro fashion associated with the star, this links to personal identity and how our audience will start to model themselves to be similar to the star.  In order to create the necessary attention for our SMP we stayed active as well as releasing the correct and trendy content to get our audience appealed to our page, we then used this to our advantage by releasing our merchandise for our music video to keep our audience engaged and interacting with our campaign. We then released a short teaser for our music video which created a desire & further interest for our audience to keep them engaged.


Critical Reflection Prep

Before writing our full essay we created a planning document to construct our answer much better and make sure we answer it correctly. We had to make sure we were including the advanced terminology as well as including the theorists that we had to focus on for each question. Finally I had to make sure I applied the specific theory to each of the sections so each of my areas related to the topic and the question correctly.

Timeline and Marketing ideas

Above is our timeline that we used whilst creating our Social Media Page and the order we wanted to post them. Our aim is to include a few political posts to make sure our audience know our star is keeping up with current relevant news. To start our marketing campaign for the release of our digipack and album we are planning on releasing our song and then slowly releasing the rest of our content such as merchandise, a small 15 second sneak peak of the music video, followed shortly by the full music video, and then finally release the album digipack artwork. the reason that we are spreading out our posts is to keep our audience engaged and excited for the release of our new content and we feel like this is a really important element of our marketing campaign and it connects.our star closer to his audience.







Audience interaction with a social media page – an analysis

Above is mine and Millie’s screencastify on Bazzi’s Facebook page, we are looking at the different ways that he includes uses and gratifications for his fans. We decided to choose Bazzi because he is an artist similar to ours being a pop/rap artist. throughout our screencastify we are going through the key features that he includes on his social pages so we can have some more idea of what type of posts we could include in our Social Media Page, as well as the the typeface’s and colour palette that he uses as these are the main elements that create a major difference to the style of the page. We also looked at how Bazzi uses AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) and how he uses different marketing strategies (Guerilla)to portray emotions towards his audience.


Above is the powerpoint that we used whilst recording our screencastify and it goes in to detail about each post in summary boxes to keep it organised and easy for us to read.

Digipack Draft 3

Digipack Draft 3

Here is our third draft of our digipack, it includes some dramatic changes from the feedback we received from our teacher on his screencastify as-well as some peer feedback, this enabled us to change the elements that weren’t working for our digipack. One of the first things we decided to change was our front cover as it wasn’t quite what we wanted, we kept the same colour pallet throughout but decided to for a more clean and menacing look, with the Typeface of our Album name going down the side to make it a bit more unique. For our inside left cover we decided to keep it simple with the background including some coloured lines to give it some structure and added one of our shortlisted photos which we thought seemed quite cool and out of the norm making it typical of the style. For our Inside right cover we decided to create a moon as it would perfectly link to the name of the album being ‘STARGAZIN’ we also added a star background which we created to also link to the name and add more depth and meaning. And finally for our back cover we used a photo which was purposely designed so we could use the fingers to point our audience’s eyes where we wanted them to look most, for our track list we went for a receipt design which we thought was unique and would stand out to our audience causing them to feel desire to listen to the whole album.

Our Digipack in CD Casing

Digipack Draft 2

Click to open


Targets for improvement

  • Work on the inside left and inside right pages
  • More tracks on the album – 9 tracks
  • Drop shadow on the back cover to pop him out
  • Make the model bigger on the back
  • Add the space for the spine
  • Colour correction to bring the colour out as it seems a little dark
  • Re design the front page and make it seem more clean and tidy
  • Change the font of stargazin and try a different position or colour
  • Add his name on the front cover

All of these targets will help us create a much better and well designed digipack and we can focus on the elements that will improve the design as well as changing things to make it more appropriate for our target audience.


Digipack Draft 1

Self Evaluation

What I like about my digipack is how the front page is really capturing and uses a unique style and design that captures the attention of our target audience. I also like how the back page we have used our stars hand positions to shape where our receipt style track list will go and the name of our star.

Targets for improvement

  • Tidy up the front page and make the edges more smooth
  • Change either the colour of the typeface on the front cover or the font
  • Change the receipt on the back cover to a more realistic design.

Evaluation of shoot

Our Favourite shots from our shoot –


Our shoot went really well and we were able to get a diverse range of shots that captured the rebellious, metro sexual and edgy themes we are trying to present to our audience. To further achieve this we directed our model to do certain actions that are typical of the genre and signs that relate to the ‘EBOY’ culture as well as the ASL for ‘I love you’ as a hidden message that links to our music video and the general light theme of love used in all of our content.

To enable our shoot went well we referred to our Production Meeting Agenda, this enabled us to make sure we were organised and achieved the correct mise en scene and how we could portray our key themes through his mannerisms and the angle of the camera. The camera was a massive element for how we relayed our emotion through to our audience, we included lots of Extreme close up’s, close up’s, mid shots, and shots where only half of our model could be seen to add some mystery to our shots.