The “Persuasion” Games: Fantasy Versus Reality

By: Kelsey Kretzer, Strategic Planning Committee Member

Advertising has a way of attracting and persuading the public with how a product is perceived by the consumers. Take the iPhone 6, for instance. Commercials highlight the software updates that previous iPhones never had, which for some consumers conclude altogether why they need to buy it.

Now you’re probably wondering what advertising and persuasion have to do with The Hunger Games? As of last year, Cover Girl launched its new line of makeup reflecting each districts’ people and occupation. Each line is represented by a model’s photograph, equipped with the right shade of eye shadow, liner, and lipstick so anyone can resemble or give hint to this phenomenon.

Some people may think that this idea is innovative with appropriate marketing due to the timing of Catching Fire’s release date. However, I find this campaign ironic and completing skewing of what The Hunger Games and its heroin, Katniss Everdeen, foretells.

Most people may be aware that The Hunger Games is story of a dystopian society, Panem, constituted of twelve districts that contribute to the Capital’s wealth. Panem’s fundamentals of societal wealth and equality are, of course, not upheld by the Capital, but instead uphold materialism and high-end luxury. Because of this selfishness, the wealth is not equally shared with all the districts. The only solution to this problem is rebellion.

With this advertising campaign, the Capital is launched into our realm, no longer just on the pages of the Hunger Games or from the movie screens. What is Cover Girl trying to promote? Is it really promoting materialism, a support of the government, or a motive for us to stand up to believe in what we want?

Although Cover Girl is representing each district in a positive light, the idea demoralizes them as a whole in a way the book describes them. The glamor of makeup masks the true identity of its people, and the idea of makeup is idolized with the Capital’s people as well as those concerned with their appearance in our world.

covergirl-hunger-games4So if we, as the consumers, decide to purchase these products, what does that mean for us? Are we falling into a trap? Some may not believe so as they truthfully just want to buy it or because they’re persuaded to do so based on the appeal. This idea refers to Maslow’s ‘Theory of Basic Human Needs,’ which is based upon different categories of needs. One of the categories refers to a consumer’s need for recognition and status or prestige. What district of Panem has an astronomical need for recognition and status? The Capital. And what kinds of products reflect this perception and appearance? Makeup.

Does this tool give people an incentive to act any differently, like the Capital? It’s funny how this campaign falls into multiple categories of persuasion, metaphors, and the ultimate fantasy versus reality debate. Nonetheless, one can believe that The Hunger Games persona is inflicted and therefore strayed away from its importance, which is to seek justice, morality, and truth.

Image credit: fashiongonerogue.com

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