>grab the details

>For some time now my credit union has been running an add for free tunes when one signs up for their free checking. The campaign, I believe, is targeted toward college students. I mean, who else would want free tunes, or think that’s a good enough incentive to open their first checking account after moving out of mom and dad’s place?

I have to say, however, that I am curious about the visuals.

This image has been popping up on the credit union’s web site for about a year now, and it kinda disturbs me (in a humorous way, I must say). What is going on here? Along with the text I see two young hip college students apparently very happy about the free tunes with the free checking. They look like they are dancing.

Obviously their visual relationship is a construction, they are not in the same space in reality but have been manually juxtaposed by the graphic designer. So the image is a manipulation. They form a kind of visual unit that has been constructed to create a particular effect, whether conscious or subconscious. What that effect is remains to be seen.

The man stands, leaning back, pelvic forward, right arm extended outward and slightly up. His legs are spread, and he has a kind of hip college confidence. The woman also standing leaning back, also pelvic forward, her arms at her sides. She appears to be standing between the legs of the man. There is a kind of forced intimacy, forced in that the arrangement is arbitrary. The look on her face, with her mouth wide open, is one of delight, as though she is exclaiming something joyous, or maybe she is ready to take a bite of something.

In effect, without appearing to acknowledge each other’s presence, these two seem to be presenting their clothed bodies to each other.

And notice the angles. Her body position, and especially her left arm, makes a definite line angling downward to the right. That line seems to end, it would seem, at the man’s crotch. The man’s body angles up to the right. His arm and his gaze angle up to the left. If we were to draws lines to represent these visual vector forces, they might look like this below:

A triangle of vector lines is the most common of visual constructions. It mentally ties together visual elements, creating visual relationships that weave connotations for the mind to land upon.

So what does this mean? Honestly, I can’t say for sure. If I had to come up with something I would say the man is represented as being strong, masculine, and erect (symbolically emphasized by his arm thrusting outward). The woman is represented as being more diminutive than the man, not merely because she is smaller, but because she is placed in a lower position than the man. She seems to be focused on the man’s crotch, with a look of extreme delight. I don’t mean to be crude. I am just stating the obvious.

Finally, on the left-hand side of the image there is the phrase “Grab the details.” The clickable triangle/arrow that goes with the phrase is on the same visual plane, and pointing in the same direction, as the woman’s hand and the man’s crotch. Is she the one who is going to grab the details? One wonders. Again, I don’t mean to be crude.

I don’t think this image needs my interpretation or evaluation. One can make of it what one wills. But it reminds me of the advertising I studied at university in media studies. And I find it funny to see it on my credit union’s web site. I also find it rather peculiar. Why does a credit union have to use such advertising, whether stupid or sexual or both, to sell checking? It’s just checking. But, then I don’t work in advertising.

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