zagaroli final draft.doc - Prada Placement A Content...

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Prada Placement: A Content Analysis of High Culture Goods in Gossip Girl (2007) Carly Zagaroli Undergraduate Saint Mary’s College [email protected] November 24, 2009 Faculty Advisor: Dr. Carrie Erlin Email Address: [email protected] 0
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Prada Placement: A Content Analysis of High Culture Goods in Gossip Girl (2007) Abstract Television is known to have a profound effect on its audience members in contributing to certain beliefs and values within American society. Product Placement in television shows is a technique used by advertising companies in order to influence audiences into recognizing certain products. This study analyzes product placement in Gossip Girl (2007), a show about upper-class teens’ life experiences. Overall, the products are constructed as high culture goods because the characters are portrayed as part of the elite lifestyle, influencing audience members to believe the products are more desirable to society. 1
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The television set has become a societal norm, being placed within an astonishing 99% of households in the United States today (Television and Health 2007). Adults, teens, and children have access to dozens, even hundreds of channels each day that have the power to influence how viewers act, think, talk, dress, and more importantly, consume. It is important to understand that one of television’s primary purposes is to sell products. One of the ways television promotes the consumption of goods is by showing audience members certain lifestyles that have no limit to consumption. In turn, consumerism is becoming an American epidemic, where many believe that the ideal lifestyle is one that includes a large quantity of products, many of which are not particularly cheap. A network that is known to have a high number of product placements is the CW Network , which was established in 2006. CBS and Warner Bros Entertainment own the CW , and its primary purpose is to appeal to women who fall between 18-34 years of age. The most popular show on the network is Gossip Girl (2007), a show about the lifestyles of “Manhattan’s Elite,” as phrased within the introduction of each episode. Each week, Gossip Girl (2007) reaches over 3.5 million viewers, with the majority consisting of adolescent and young adult females (Time Warner 2009). In the show, the young, rich, characters have limitless access to any goods or services they desire. Money is never a question, especially when it comes to buying the newest and coolest products. These characters’ values may have an effect on the young females who watch the show, especially in promoting consumption. One of the ways the show promotes consumption to young women is by using the technique of product placement. Product placement is the strategic placing of branded goods within the scene 2
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or image of a media outlet (Croteau and Hoynes 2003). The products being placed within the show are promoted as having an affiliation with the upper class and elite lifestyle. The product placement in Gossip Girl (2007) promotes the values of the dominant culture to
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