Skip

The day before.
April 22, 2007 9:57 AM   Subscribe


 
hmm. "Powerful" = "in terrible taste"?

Who knew?
posted by felix betachat at 10:05 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Powerful as an art exhibit, yes. As an ad to sell newspapers? I think I'm disgusted.
posted by sbutler at 10:10 AM on April 22, 2007


I think I'm on the "poor taste to sell newspapers" side on this one. Although the picture with JFK and his Clapper-activted dancing children is nice.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:12 AM on April 22, 2007


I have to say I disagree with all of you. I don't think it's in poor taste to recall the day before 9/11. It was my birthday, in fact. I was out celebrating being made a college newspaper editor and spent the whole night out before waking in the morning to discover the WTC and Pentagon bombings. I think it's in poor taste that we still think we can't think back to before September 11 with anything other than nostalgia for the "Good old days". We had terrorism before 9/11 and we're going to have more.
posted by parmanparman at 10:16 AM on April 22, 2007 [7 favorites]


My only real question to the Cape Times is why they didn't do a photo of Nelson Mandela in his cell on Robben Island with the caption "February 1, 1990".
posted by parmanparman at 10:18 AM on April 22, 2007


I think it's in poor taste that we still think we can't think back to before September 11 with anything other than nostalgia for the "Good old days".

(reads, rereads, rereads)

If I have followed the many dependent/negative clauses correctly, I think I agree? with you?

But the point is, this is an advertisement. Meant to raise flagging circulation. It's invoking episodes of enormous pain for that purpose, and hence a bit tacky.
posted by argybarg at 10:20 AM on April 22, 2007


i think this is very well done. the colors and perspectives are amazing. maybe not the most appropriate to sell newspapers, but it's very powerful and i think it's successful in getting the message across. the message is, of course, that news happens all the time, when you least expect it.
posted by taumeson at 10:20 AM on April 22, 2007


He wasn't on Robben Island on February 1st 1990. He'd been living in a house in Victor Verster Prison since the late 80's.
posted by PenDevil at 10:21 AM on April 22, 2007


It's invoking episodes of enormous pain for that purpose, and hence a bit tacky.

yet i watch "america's funniest home videos" with my kids even though the shot of the guy getting hit in the nads by a golf club elicits the same type of episode. if you think about it, AFV shows those clips for the same reason that this newspaper put out this ad...to increase viewership and therefore advertising revenue.
posted by taumeson at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2007


Aha, you're right PenDevil. Pardon my error.
posted by parmanparman at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2007


Last I checked, there's a big difference between a golf club to the nads and Hiroshima.
posted by argybarg at 10:24 AM on April 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


I think they should have used that photo of Diana's car speeding off into the distance taken the paparazzi. Or the video footage of that Crikey animal guy. Or even better: a shot of smiling kids in their English lit class at Virginia tech. That would be really timely.
posted by dydecker at 10:24 AM on April 22, 2007


taumeson: Well, the obvious response to that is that no one should be watching AFV either.
posted by sbutler at 10:25 AM on April 22, 2007


Well, the obvious response to that is that no one should be watching AFV either.

You know, a lot of people forget Bob Saget won an Oscar before he did AFV or Full House.
posted by parmanparman at 10:30 AM on April 22, 2007


Actually, what I want to know is if these pictures are really from the dates listed.

And yeah, I agree with sbutler - this could be incredible in a larger exhibit, but is iffy as a commercial device.
posted by niles at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2007


Not intending to derail, but I believe it was a Student Academy Award, parmanparman.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:38 AM on April 22, 2007


I don't like it.
It fills me with sorrow and rage.
Sorry about your birthday, PP.
posted by Dizzy at 10:45 AM on April 22, 2007


Metafilter: The difference between a golf club to the nads and Hiroshima.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2007


Not intending to derail, but I believe it was a Student Academy Award, parmanparman

An Oscar is an Oscar, there's no second-best at the academy awards.
posted by parmanparman at 11:06 AM on April 22, 2007


I dunno—the pictures look good, and I can't seem to work up any outrage that they're being used to sell papers. Hope me, administrator! My outrage meter is broken!
posted by languagehat at 11:08 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a golf club to the nads
posted by Joe Invisible at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2007


I found the set very moving and I'm glad to have seen them. And if the fact that they were done as a newspaper's promotion is the way I got to see them, I can live with that.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:18 AM on April 22, 2007


I have no issue with them. Provoking thought and promoting newspaper readership is hard for me to get outraged. I'd like to see other photos they might have had as contenders, the ones they picked look amazing.
posted by Busithoth at 11:24 AM on April 22, 2007


Last I checked, there's a big difference between a golf club to the nads and Hiroshima.

not if you're chuck norris
posted by pyramid termite at 11:26 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Busitoth; the one of Britney Spears with a full head of hair on Feb. 17th was a close runner-up.
posted by dazed_one at 11:26 AM on April 22, 2007


I wouldn't say I'm outraged, but I sure as hell would never subscribe to the paper.

My god, Hiroshima.
posted by kavasa at 11:29 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think part of the problem is that these pictures and the memories they evoke are so powerful, with some creative captioning, you could use them to sell pretty much anything from automobiles to dish soap.

Inset caption of the WTC photo from September 10, 2001: Isn't it about time you bought that Lamborghini? You never know what tomorrow will bring so why not have it all today?

I think we'd all be offended at that kind of a pitch. Why does it make it any less offensive that the ad is hawking newpapers?
posted by psmealey at 11:32 AM on April 22, 2007


Interesting that they used only negative events. Why not the fall of the Berlin Wall?
posted by brundlefly at 11:36 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]




pyramid, I don't understand japanese, did they explain why/how a meteor had a volcanic center, flying through space for however long? and why did it form the shape of a silly hat before ultimate doom?
posted by Busithoth at 12:11 PM on April 22, 2007


Why does it make it any less offensive that the ad is hawking newpapers?

Because newspapers are about news, which is what the photos represent? Don't get me wrong, I can see why people don't like it, but I don't think it's fair to equate it with selling cars. It seems to me the implied message is "This kind of world-changing event can happen any day, so better keep up with the news!" Which I don't think anyone would disagree with. Again, I can see why people with more finely calibrated outrage meters are bothered by the visceral impact of the photos, but on the other hand, if you think about the alternative of showing the actual news events of the following days, it seems to me this is pretty tasteful by comparison.
posted by languagehat at 12:12 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's the '76 photo in reference to?
posted by Firas at 12:28 PM on April 22, 2007


I think languagehat hit the nail on the head.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:29 PM on April 22, 2007


and why did it form the shape of a silly hat before ultimate doom?

*puts lampshade on head, tapes 40 ozs to hands*

in 30 minutes, i'm not gonna care, dude
posted by pyramid termite at 12:32 PM on April 22, 2007


Soweto Riots.
posted by Firas at 12:35 PM on April 22, 2007


I agree that they should've shown contrast & used positive events as examples as well as tragedies. Otherwise it just caters to that whole "Be afraid, your world could end any second. Don't let your guard down. YOU NEED US!!!" junk that some people people seem easily felled by.

I could take or leave this ad campaign, it wouldn't make me buy a paper but I think the photos are beautiful no matter what the headline is. But fearmongering pisses me off.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:51 PM on April 22, 2007


argybarg writes "Last I checked, there's a big difference between a golf club to the nads and Hiroshima."

I'm guessing that I'm one of the few people in this thread sufficiently stupid to have actually taken a club to the nuts. I can testify from personal experience that it's like a million Hiroshimas.
posted by blag at 1:19 PM on April 22, 2007


I feel similarly to languagehat.
I'm no fan of the commoditisation of our hopes and fears by a long chalk, but the actual offered images at least invite empathy and compassion for simple humanity - an normal day downtown, parental love, youthful hope - on the eve of despoliation. There's plenty more offensive ideas being used to sell us stuff.
posted by Abiezer at 1:21 PM on April 22, 2007


Great pictures, terrible ads, which highlight the slow thinking of the newspaper industry.

The world can change in a day?

The world can change in a minute. A second.

If I want a brief highlight of major world events, I'll pick up a newspaper. If I want in-depth info any specific topic, I'll look on the web.

And yeah, as an ad, it's in poor taste.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:45 PM on April 22, 2007


Am I missing something here? If the intent is to sell newspapers then why hi-lite the day before the news, when supposedly everything was normal, and there was little to read about- in the news.
posted by Gungho at 1:46 PM on April 22, 2007


Three out of the four world-changes this South-African newspaper chose were about the US. If is a funny feeling, this riding on the back of an 800-pound gorilla.
posted by Methylviolet at 1:56 PM on April 22, 2007


OK, perhaps I'm jaded, but a couple of those shots look composed. As in, after-the-fact.

The Soweto riots photograph (day before), for example. Clearly we have all the same characters as the original famous photograph. It seems remarkably unlikely that such a nice photograph of all the important "participants" of the famous photograph would have a happy-photo of them taken the day before. The New York shot I might believe (simply because there are so many tourists with cameras in NYC), but not the Soweto shot.

And actually, the NYC shot looks fake to me as well. Is that supposed to be Battery Park? I don't remember the WTC being that visible from BP City, nor do I recall any of those buildings bordering a "park". Photo reference for the dim of memory (like myself).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:18 PM on April 22, 2007


Huh? I hope the photographs were taken on the date they're purporting to be, I was just about to post that 5 Aug 1945 pic on my blog along with a Quran quote, now I gotta wait if/while we hash this out.
posted by Firas at 2:25 PM on April 22, 2007


Okay, this is a newspaper. What they're selling is their newsiness. They sell that by reminding people of some of the most newsworthy events in living memory. Seems alright to me.
posted by Kattullus at 2:32 PM on April 22, 2007


And actually, the NYC shot looks fake to me as well. Is that supposed to be Battery Park?

No, it's not Battery Park (which is to the south of WFC to the right of the WTC in the picture), but it is an actual park. It's north of Vesey Street on Broadway. Forget what's it's called.
posted by psmealey at 2:33 PM on April 22, 2007


ha! are we going to eviscerate an advertisement based on distorting the truth? this is gonna be good. and why couldn't the pic be taken from Washington Market Park? It looks like it's taken from the southwest of the park, where there is [now] a parking lot (between Murray and Warren). You can count 4 buildings between [what is now] ground zero and that park. It looks like there's nothing between the park and 3 world financial center.

regardless, they've got a kicking photo editor.

and I don't recognize any of the people in the Soweto shot in the ad picture. ?
posted by Busithoth at 2:35 PM on April 22, 2007


Because newspapers are about news, which is what the photos represent?

Sure. But the kind of news that's embodied by those shots is not likely going to be missed by anyone. Don't get me wrong, I'm not outraged exactly, but the treatment seems a bit... untoward, I guess.
posted by psmealey at 2:36 PM on April 22, 2007


OK, maybe the Soweto photo isn't actually of Hector Peterson. Maybe it's just a photo of school children in taken the day before. But it does look an awful lot like it's trying to imply that there's Hector and behind him his sister Antoinette. If it really is of them, then wow, fateful timing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:36 PM on April 22, 2007


but it is an actual park

Sorry, I stand corrected. As Busithoth mentions, it's Washington Market Park. From a different angle, for ref.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:49 PM on April 22, 2007


My conspiracy-theory-laden-brain has run amok, so I'm just going to sit the rest of this thread out.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:50 PM on April 22, 2007


I'm just gonna take 'em at face value.
posted by Firas at 2:52 PM on April 22, 2007


I'm sorry, but discovering that Bob Saget is an Oscar-winning documentarian has distracted me from any other discussion in this thread.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:55 PM on April 22, 2007


In the same vein as a number of Benetton's controversial advertising campaigns.
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on April 22, 2007


Civil_Disobedient, yeah, I'm beginning to agree that they're not exactly shot the day before. The wording on the blog copy is a give-away (emphasis added): "There are four executions. This one in reference to 9/11, another (beautifully shot) for Hiroshima 1945, the JFK assassination and the '76 Soweto riots [all after the jump]."

Oh well.
posted by Firas at 3:26 PM on April 22, 2007


Too bad they didn't just introduce him on AFHV the way they do with most people who've won Oscars. An "And now may I present your host, OSCAR WINNER Bob Saget!" announcement could've brought a whole different uppercrust bourgeois feel to watching people getting hit in the crotch with baseball bats for an hour. Then other Oscar winners could've shown up to do voiceover & directorial cameos on occasion... "And now OSCAR WINNER Anthony Hopkins presents talking dogs!" "And now OSCAR WINNER Meryl Streep presents old women trying to dance at weddings while their pantyhose falls down!" "And now OSCAR WINNER Milos Foreman presents his compilation of babies choosing to pee/barf/fart at embarassing times!"

That would've kicked ass.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:30 PM on April 22, 2007


Call me cynical, but am I the only one who sees "September 10th, 2001" in an ad for a news outlet, and thinks "...marks the last day we actually took elected officials to task?"

Don't get me wrong, I miss the WTC too, but...
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:35 PM on April 22, 2007


Uther, I don't think we were actually taking elected officials to task on 9/10/2001. Complacency ruled. [and I, for one, don't miss them ]
posted by Busithoth at 3:47 PM on April 22, 2007


It just occured to me that these people knew in advance that the WTC would be attacked, that JFK would be shot etc. Where is their concious? Does this mean they'll let anything happen just to splash it on page one and sell a few more papers? I'm disgusted.
posted by Gungho at 4:25 PM on April 22, 2007


I agree with languagehat and a few others. It's thought-provoking and gives a sense of the meaning, necessity, and importance of news reporting. I'm not outraged.
posted by Miko at 7:39 PM on April 22, 2007


Does this mean they'll let anything happen just to splash it on page one and sell a few more papers?

The world can change in a day.
posted by pyramid termite at 7:57 PM on April 22, 2007


Sure, the world can change in a day. But I wouldn't pick up a newspaper to find out what had changed in a day - the web for one is far quicker than that.

All the advertising in the world won't change the fact that if you want to know what's going on right now, you use tv or the web. If you want an analysis of what's going on, there's the news magazines. And newspapers are very uncomfortably stuck in the middle - at least if they sell themselves soley on news content.

Great pictures. But without the tagline, they'd just merit a "meah. Nice pics".
posted by electriccynic at 1:57 AM on April 23, 2007


I'm not so quick to write newspapers off and declare that they shouldn't bother advertising the timeliness and importance of newspaper coverage.

What newspaper publishers are finding is that while circulation in paper format is down a bit, the demographic of people who read papers is climbing in terms of education and affluence. Therefore, newspapers are becoming increasingly more attractive to advertisers than they have been in several years, and ad rates are going up. Meanwhile, the ad-subsidy format on the web hasn't been as reliable as it has been in other media.

There are some things at which newspapers are excellent, and that's why they're holding onto (and building) market share. They have many advantages: prestige, portability, easy readability and navigation, strong local focus and the best, most comprehensive, and most up-to-date local information available anywhere, the ability to support strong stables of writers and reporters, and superior journalistic ethics and skills. Newspaper pages are easier to scan quickly, meaning you can take in a lot of information in a shorter time.

For up-to-the minute, breaking news, the web is the place to go, probably CNN, BBC, and NYT topping the list. But for in-depth reporting, the web is a miserable experience. Most broadcast-related news sites don't go into great depth, and though the newspaper sites do post their print content on the web, I'd still rather read a page-length NYT piece on a page than on 7 screens of pixels. In addition, other web news sources have not proven good at the strengths newspapers have historically built: stories which develop long-term with many different aspects and from many separate angles, such as the New York Times' 9/11: Five Years Later story, so thoroughly reported in papers and so thinly on the web, and the investigative/analytical long form, such as the reent Washington Post series on Walter Reed Army Hospital.

I think it's well worthwhile for newspapers to advertise. They are, in general, highly reliable and responsible news sources that provide greater depth. The broadcast media and the web have a particular news function related to timeliness, but newspapers have regularity and also offer greater depth and analysis (much greater than any newsmagazine, as well). They aren't out to pasture yet, and this campaign still makes great sense.
posted by Miko at 7:09 AM on April 23, 2007


SelectiveOutrageFilter: Policing the boundaries of who can use what to sell, when.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:27 AM on April 23, 2007


exploitative.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:36 PM on April 23, 2007


And to follow up for parmanparman, in yesterday's Cape Times there was an ad with a bunch of photographers waiting outside the gates of Victor Verster Prison. Coincidence? I think not!
posted by PenDevil at 3:43 AM on April 25, 2007


« Older McCain sings the Beach Boys   |   Exhausted Air Recycling System Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post