Monday, December 6, 2010

Culture and Media-- Susan Kim

Media is reflective of the culture that it comes from. For example, while a British ad would play towards the audience’s sense of humor, a French ad would play towards the viewer’s emotions. However, another way media is reflective of its respective culture is through the reactions that the specific media receives.

An example of this is the running of a certain Mc Donald’s commercial, which advocates and welcomes homosexuality. This commercial has been both greatly popularized and also heavily critiqued and criticized in both France and America, thus revealing the effort that the company directors of Mc Donald’s (an American company) are making to appeal to the French while also drawing the stark differences in values of the two countries. In this particular commercial, which ran in France, to the dismay and harsh criticism of many Americans, a gay boy is featured talking to his boyfriend on the phone, the overall message being “come as you are”. With this message, Mc Donald’s extends its hand to the gay community, as though they are providing them a place of safety where they are free to be themselves without the fear of being judged or persecuted. While this commercial was neither vulgar nor sexually explicit, many Americans were shocked and angry to see that such a commercial had aired on public television. For example, Bill O'Reilly publicly discussed the commercial with great disdain. In stark contrast to the American reaction, the commercial became both famous and widely accepted by the French public. Also, according to Mc Donald's COO, Don Thompson, there were no complaints in France in regards to the commercial (Oneal).

The stark differences to the reactions to this simple yet controversial commercial reflect the societal values of different cultures and countries, thus furthering and demonstrating the idea that different media in different regions and countries are reflective of their respective values and cultures.

Oneal, Michael. "McDonald's on a roll, but still not at top of its game." Chicago Tribune 13 Jun. 2010: n. pag. Web. 6 Dec 2010.

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