Friday, October 24, 2008

Choices you can live with huh?

"it's about CHOICES you can live with"


For my job I make many trips to the Seattle Municipal Building downtown. On their ground level there are a few businesses, a Starbucks, one other, and a KeyBank. Behind the account specialists is the above banner talking about "choices you can live with" while having scary black&white pictures of children and a baby (lower L corner).

As a student of art, especially Modern and Contemporary art, I got the semiotics (language of symbolism) lectures. Symbolism is important and powerful. The semiotics here is very clearly anti-choice. Why? Because in our culture when you pair the word "choice" with a picture of a baby or kid, it's automatically talking about abortion because the cultural semiotics, the cultural symbolism, has evolved to where that's the message.

"choice"+image of kid=abortion

So, "it's about CHOICES you can live with" in front of pictures of kids on a bank banner ad is kind of saying "our bank is anti-choice". At least, their advertising department is.

The thing that I don't understand is why this is in the Seattle Municipal Building. You can't tell me that the people who approved this banner didn't get what the visual language was saying -- I don't know anyone who wouldn't, at least on some level, understand that this ad is referring to "choices you can live with" as opposed to the choice to have an abortion.

Frankly, I'm frightened by this ad, and I wish I had had a better camera than that in my cell phone when I was down there today.

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