knowing your audience

(image taken from No Child, a youth documentary noted below)

last night, while channel surfing, i saw an ad in which a young, african american man was talking to an african american woman who appeared to be his mother or caregiver. he was reassuring her by saying that he has his future under control, and she returned his confident look with a smile. at the end of the ad there appeared the url: www.boostup.org and a voiceover inviting the viewer to check out the website. then i saw it. small, but not too small, an icon, the unmistakeable star that signifies the us army.

upon visiting the site, a brief message about school appears on the screen as the flash site loads. statements that encourage the website visitor to stay in school by noting that staying school earns the respect of one's family; by providing provide statistics about high school dropouts' earning power; and suggesting the availability of choices that come from staying in school. the message of staying in school is reinforced when the site fully loads with the phrase, "Inside every one of us is a graduate" written in orange that sits to the right while images of black and brown male youth, up close tags, and high school hallways lined with lockers cycle through. below this rotating image gallery are three navigation options (several more navigation links at the top of the screen, as well), one of which invites the visitor to become a storyteller: "Tell us your story." other commercials, such as the one that just flashed on my tv screen, also feature minority youth either talking to adults to straight into the camera...

i'm reminded of a film that was featured in this year's Media That Matters film festival titled, "No Child" - a documentary that looks at the military's recruitment tactics. (choose film #16)