July 16, 2005

Dead Batteries





One of the BAG’s co-analysts, Eric, alerted me to this. 

It’s a scrolling banner ad running in a loop with a series of other ads on Al Jazerra.  The four screen shots above allow you to imagine it as it pans down the window — from top to bottom.  These are Eric’s comments:

The ad is for Sony Walkman and it shows a young man lying face down in the dirt (signifying, one supposes, a dead battery).  A beautiful dog sits next to the prone “walker.”  The image could easily be mistaken for a news photo of a dead insurgent.  Except for the dog.  Even more bizarre that it appears in Al Jazeera, an outlet presumably with some sensitivity to such representations.

Interesting too about dogs.  My wife, who is Peruvian, and I were recently discussing how Iraq, in all the footage and photography we get in the media, looks very much like the desert of Peru, particularly its desert cities–lots of dust, bad streets, diesel-smoked air, and boxy adobe brick houses.  But the difference is dogs–they’re all over Latin America, while in Muslim countries
there are no dogs there don’t seem to be as many.  Does that make this picture a coded read for Arab consumers???


(EDIT 7/17/05 7:54am PST — Thank you for comments and email regarding the presence of dogs in Muslim countries.  Given the obvious presence of dogs in Muslim countries, however, I’m assuming the comments could likely be true in terms of comparative numbers, as well as the fact that dogs play a very different role in Muslim versus Latin cultures.  Of course, the point also relates to the lack of dogs depicted in Western media coverage.)

(image: Sony ad on Al Jazeera – linked page here)

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Michael Shaw
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