For LEAP 4, I decided to make a mini propaganda campaign advocating for the #StandUpGuy Campaign which was featured on DoSomething.org. The #StandUpGuy campaign brings awareness to the many sexual assaults and rapes that occur on college campuses each year. Because sexual assault is such a prevalent issue in our society today, it is more important than ever to know how to spot a potential sexual assault as well as know how to intervene if you see one. To learn more about the #StandUpGuy Campaign, click the links below to check out a video and info-graphic I have created for this project.
When creating my info-graphic, I used certain techniques in order to make my propaganda message more effective. According to the Mind Over Media Website, effective propaganda “simplifies information and ideas.” Sexual assault is a very complex issue that occurs in our society and many people do not have the proper education on how to stop a potential sexual assault. Therefore, when creating my info-graphic I tried to simplify these ideas in order to make them appear more understandable and achievable. I provided short definitions and easy to understand statistics in order to inform my audience about the importance of sexual assault. I did not want to provide too much information on my info-graphic because I did not want to overwhelm the audience. I felt that if I provided too much information on my Info-graphic, my audience would not want to make the effort to become informed or join the campaign because it would appear to be too much work. Keeping that in mind, I also made careful attention to how I structured the instructions for participating in the campaign. According to Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, structure is the “…articulation of specific goals and the means by which to achieve them.” (Jowett & O’Donnell 2005). The goal of the #StandUpGuy campaign is to help prevent sexual assaults on college campuses. I provided the means by which to achieve this goal in the “How to Get Started” panel of my info-graphic. There were four simple steps listed for how to participate in the #StandUpGuy campaign. Because the steps were simple and easy to follow, more people would be likely to participate in this campaign and join the movement.
Another technique I used in order to make my info-graphic more effective was “source credibility.” According to Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, “expert opinion is effective in establishing the legitimacy of change and is tied to information control” (Jowett & O’Donnell 2005). Therefore, all the statistics and information used in my info-graphic came from credible and academic sources. I used statistics from The National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism, The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, which are all credible and reliable resources. By establishing credibility, people will be more apt to believe the information I am providing them and as a result, will most likely be persuaded to participate in the campaign.
The final technique I used in my info-graphic to make it more effective is “audience receptivity.” According to the Mind Over Media website, audience receptivity is “how people think and feel about the message and how free they are to accept or reject it.” When creating my info-graphic I knew that I wanted to create a piece of propaganda that most people would accept. Therefore, I targeted specific cultural ideologies in order to make my message more receptive. Martha Cooper defines ideology as, “worldview that determines how arguments will be received and interpreted. The common sense of the worldview provides the basis for determining what is good, bad, right, wrong, and so forth” (Jowett & O’Donnell 2005). Therefore, when creating my info-graphic I assumed that the majority of people believe that sexual assault is wrong and should be stopped. I used phrases such as “Why Isn’t this Being Prevented?” because I believe that the majority of the audience reading my info-graphic has the desire to prevent sexual assaults. I think that by targeting the audience’s ideologies, it makes the audience more receptive of my message because it is alined with preexisting beliefs.
When creating my video I wanted to make it as effective as possible in order to persuade people to participate in the campaign. The target audience for this video is college students and other young adults. I targeted college students because the #StandUpGuy campaign mainly focuses on sexual assaults that occur on college campuses and at college parties. In order to reach my target audience effectively I referenced events that college students likely have experienced and could relate to. For example in the video I stated, “You may have been to a party where you see a guy constantly trying to flirt with a girl even if she’s expressed she’s not interested, or a girl leaving a party with someone even though she’s drank way too much to consent.” The scenarios I mentioned in the video unfortunately happen often at college parties. Therefore, I knew many of the college students watching this video would be able relate to it and understand it. College students may not have understood the consequences of these seemingly “normal” situations before. By highlighting these scenarios the audience may be more likely to step up and intervene in these situations in future now that they are aware.
Additionally, the Mind Over Media website states that environment and context of the a propaganda message impacts how the audience will receive it. The environment and context refers to “where, when, and how people encounter the message” (Mind Over Media). I posted my #StandUpGuy campaign video on Youtube, which is a site that I know many young people use. Therefore, by posting my video on a website typically used by young people, I am more likely to reach my target audience. I also created this video during a prime-time because many people are interested in preventing sexual assault as a result of the rise of the #Metoo Movement. According to Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, “successful propaganda relates to the prevailing mood of the times; therefore it is essential to understand the climate of the times” (Jowett and O’Donnell 2005). Our current social climate is currently focused on empowering women and bringing incidents of sexual assault to light. Therefore, releasing it is the perfect time to release this video because people are already discussing this issue and are more likely to want to participate in the campaign.
Another technique I used when creating this video is “activating strong emotions.” I tried to appeal to people’s emotions when creating this video so that they would feel empathic and want to contribute to the movement. I used phrases which would make the audience relate to the issue or consider the issue from the point of view of someone who has been sexually assaulted. For example in the video I said, “1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted each year and one of those women could be your friend, your family member or your classmate.” I also stated “college should be some of the best years of a person’s life but for many women it is just the opposite.” These phrases target people’s emotions because it makes them consider how they would feel if this happened to someone they loved or how it would feel to have your college experience tainted by a sexual assault on campus. By targeting an audiences emotions and making the issue appear more relatable, people will be more likely to join the movement because they will feel more empathy for it.
The final technique I used in this video is targeting the audiences values. I utilized the assumption that most college students value having a safe college campus. Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell state, “messages have a greater impact when they are in line with existing opinions, beliefs, and dispositions” (Jowett & O’Donnell 2005). Therefore, the audience will be more likely to join this campaign because it provides a way to make college campuses safer. By knowing how to intervene in a potential sexual assault, students would be making their campus a better place, which is something most students value. Additionally, most students have the belief that sexual assault is wrong, like I’ve stated previously, so they would most likely be persuaded to join this movement.
Both my info-graphic and video used design elements to make my propaganda more effective and attention catching. In both pieces of propaganda I highlighted and bolded information which I considered to be crucial in understanding the movement. For example, in my info-graphic I bolded certain words in the “How to Get Started” panel so that people would be able to quickly read it and understand how to participate. I also used bright colors and interesting pictures in order attract the audience and keep them engaged. Propaganda needs to be eye-catching in order to get people attention initially so that they will view it. I believe that both pieces of propaganda that I created for this campaign are highly effective in getting people to join the #StandUpGuy campaign because of the techniques and design elements I used when creating them.
I really enjoyed creating my own forms of propaganda for this class. I found that it was easy to create my own propaganda because of the knowledge I have gained from this course. Propaganda can be a dangerous and deceiving tool, but if it is created honestly and factually, propaganda can serve to persuade people to participate and join important causes and movements. Now that this class is coming to an end, I feel more informed of the impacts propaganda has on our society and how important it is to be critical of the information being spread online. This information will surely help me to decipher propaganda I see in the future and determine whether it is harmful or beneficial, a skill that more people should possess.
Abbey. A, et al. (2018). Alcohol and Sexual Assault. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-1/43-51.htm
Girl Code Movement. (2018). Survivors Deserve Awareness AND Action. Girl Code Movement . Retrieved from http://www.girlcodemovement.com
National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2018). Statistics About Sexual Violence. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Retrieved from https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf
RAINN. (2018). Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics. Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network. Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence
Stand Up Guy Campaign. (2018). Bystander Intervention 101. Dosomething.org. Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/sites/default/files/downloads/Bystander%20Intervention%20101–%20Stand%20Up%20Guy%20factsheet.pdf
Stand Up Guy Campaign. (2018). Stand Up Guy. Dosomething.org. Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/us/campaigns/stand-guy#
Wikipedia. (2018). Bystander Effect. Wikipedia.com. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect
Jowett, S. & O’Donnell, V. (2005). How to Analyze Propaganda. Propaganda and Persuasion.