Symbols in Communication Campaigns
What is a communication campaign? Provide at least one example of a current communication campaign and explain why you chose it. Are there symbols that come into play that really “make” the campaign?
It is typical for most campaigns to include the use of pictures and wordplay to create the image they want the audience to envision. As a culture, we have become used to seeing symbols and assuming there is a meaning behind them. For example, Project Semicolon has taken a punctuation mark, the semicolon, and given it a whole new and deeper meaning. The foundation was started to bring awareness to mental health and suicide by Amy Bleuel (Project Semicolon, 2019). Similar to the punctuation symbol, the semicolon continues the sentence as opposed to the period which ends it. The semicolon allows it to continue. Project semicolon focuses on life and continuing your journey, whatever that may be. When you see the semicolon tattoo or a reference on social media, we now know it has a symbolic message and meaning behind it.
As a complex society, we have used different symbols to give meaning to words and subjects that may be more difficult to speak about or include tough subject matter that is often hard to decipher. Often times, we can understand a symbol more than we can understand the deeper meaning when presented through a common language. Project semicolon provides a great conversation starter where we can have an open dialog with one another about a very serious subject that touches nearly every demographic in America.
Another great example is breast cancer awareness. For nearly thirty years, the pink ribbon has been used as a symbol for breast cancer awareness (in both men and women). The campaign has been used on television, radio, billboards, bus shelters, social media, etc. This now universal symbol can be found on tattoos, license plates, flags outside of homes, and bumper stickers on cars skateboards, and scooters. In the many years, this educational campaign has been active, many celebrities have become active in the movement by sharing their own personal stories of a battle with the disease (or that of a loved one) that has had great success in moving the needle to get mammograms and tests for early detection of the disease.
Symbols are not unique to contemporary campaigns, they were often incorporated in historical campaigns as well. According to Ad Age, the use of symbols goes back to the 19th century with the first celebrity endorsement. Pears´ soap was endorsed by a popular preacher in the United States, Henry Ward Beecher (2019) to add a bit of credibility to the product. The idea was to create a feeling of godliness by having a pastor endorse the product and share his thoughts with the public at large. Symbols allow organizations to send a message without directly saying exactly what it is.
Question 1. Can you think of a campaign (contemporary or historical) where symbols were used? Please post an example (feel free to post links to help illustrate) to share with the class.
Adage.com. (2019). Cultural Symbols. [online] Available at: https://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/cultural-symbols/98427/https://projectsemicolon.com/
It is important to explore leadership and its fit into our faith. We should all aspire to be servant leaders and work to further God’s kingdom while utilizing our leadership qualities as we work in service to others.
Influence of Communication Campaigns on Society
Question 3. How do communication campaigns influence society? What are some examples of communication campaigns informing the public?