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Case Study Eo Billboard Ad

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Introduction to the Problem “The Cauliflower billboard execution of Executive Optical presents a witty, pragmatic courtship scenario of two contrasting male suitor personalities ---one male suitor with poor eyesight inadvertently offers a cauliflower, while another suitor with the correct eye frame and good eyesight offers yellow roses. The ad shows the lady favoring the latter.

The cauliflower ad follows from a series of messages around poor eyesight leading to poor performance and poor relationships which is an insight resulting from vision 2020 report of the World Health Organization.

We have been tracking the social messages of FB and Twitter netizens. We are happy that, in general, most netizens appreciate the creativity, and they understand that the message has no intent of racism. We are also most thankful to those who help to objectively explain or elaborate the context of the advertisement.” Executive Optical stated.

This case study intends to examine the advertisement of Executive Optical (EO) that features a dark-skinned man wearing a pair of eyeglasses, smiling as he embraces a young beautiful lady, while a light-skinned man, not wearing eyeglasses, looked surprised with a statement “Don’t be a loser. Have your eyes checked.” That is if it, indeed, hilarious and insulted some Filipino people, as complained by concerned netizens.

The study is conducted among third year students of Far Eastern University, enrolled in the program, Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising Arts. The purpose of this case study is to identify the effects for the EO's advertisement entitled "The Cauliflower" and to measure the effects on the participant’s impression. Why this advertisement does started a rage for some Filipino netizens?

The study conducted 55 netizens around Facebook. The ad challenges the perception of consumers because the EO usually depicts their ad as humorous and witty, but why is there some consumers and respondents viewed it as negative? Why does the company itself remind the viewers with this kind of statement if their ad is not offensive to their understandings?

Background of the Situation/Executive Summary From the online blog, Batangas Today, an article posted by Angel Cuala, titled, Executive Optical (EO) billboard ad along EDSA being criticized for being ‘racist’ (Photo), said that the Executive Optical billboard ad, which is standing along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), is being criticized by some netizens (Internet users), saying that it could be a ‘racist’ ad. Apparently, the said Executive Optical billboard ad, started receiving negative comments on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, posted on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. “Don’t be a loser. Have your eyes checked.” A statement reads on the alleged EO racist ad, bearing the company name and logo, showing a dark-skinned man wearing a pair of eyeglasses, smiling as he embraces a young beautiful lady, while a light-skinned man, not wearing eyeglasses, looked surprised. Meanwhile, Karen de Asis, Chief Brand Strategist of MKS Marketing Consulting, the company that conceptualized EO‘s ads, was interviewed by ABS-CBN News and defended the ad, saying that “it has no intent of presenting racism at all” and that “it’s a presentation of a real-life situation”. “The ad has been screened by the ASC. Even the ASC has seen and approved the ad. All Executive Optical ads, including the ‘Cauliflower’ ad are pre-tested before they are implemented in the media.” Ms. de Asis added; noting that the ad is simply about poor eyesight and not about color.

Findings and Analysis of Case: Strengths and Weaknesses/Key Issues/Goals The EO ad is effective to the people in a sense that it catches the attention and it really gives the message to the audiences. But the concept has other image that some people find it offensive. Double meaning in the ad weakens their image. The issue in this case is about racism. A dark skinned man as the opposite character of the white skinned handsome man is not funny and a great idea at all.

This study is to achieve in classifying the effects of an ad and to amount the effects on the people’s impressions. We would also want to attain in reducing the racism in the society in order to have a better quality of life. In this case, we found out that people are very concerned about the frame of mind of others and the importance of equality in life.

Penetrated Customers Identification and the intended Target Market
The target market for this advertisement is obviously Filipinos who have poor eyesight as defined in the ASC Definition of Terms. The researchers conducted an online survey about the EO advertisement to 55 respondents. The online survey looks into if the people familiarize the ad, if it is an offensive ad, and their reason. Between the ages of 16 to 49 people, there are 80% or 44 of them familiarize the said ad. Only 20% or the remaining 11 people are not aware of it. The majority is that they are aware of the ads for their own needs and wants say for example the ones about for their health. 58.2% or 32 Filipinos said that the ad is offensive while 41.8% or 23 of them considered the ad as not an offensive one. More than a half of it noticed it criticizing its race.

Market Needs from Suggestions of Interviewees/Opportunities and Threats Every person has their uniqueness and through that uniqueness has their own understandings of what they comprehend of. In this case, people realized the EO ad as not an offensive one. “This ad is very effective and remarkable for the audience. This is not really offensive, because for me it signifies equality. The women measure the effort of the man and not its looks. So the other suitor should have his eye check because he is over-powered by the effort of the other suitor and not by its looks”, added by one of the respondents. Another one states that it's part of their strategy to set the viewers/consumer curiosity so that they can invite more people to purchase their items. Reality check, this really happens in real life. So why be offended instead of getting cured. The other one doesn’t find it offensive, it is more of a funny thing that whenever you see the advertisement, you'll always remember the product. “Personally, no, since the ad's using humor for people to get their eyes checked. Humor with a sense that those who don't get their eyes checked loses the girl. Although I can say that it may induce insult to those who think it is offensive, since it can portray racism. But then again, it is not racism unless the person views it as racism itself. For example, calling a black person 'black' is not offensive, unless the person finds the complexion ugly and inferior.” an explanation of the respondents. Added with another one that it is not offensive, it’s just funny and kind of crazy it is very catchy. It got my attention well for some it may be offensive, but it just finds this hilarious.

On the other hand, most of the respondents reasoned that the said ad is racism. One of them said that not all people are born equal, there are those who are born with some problems, deficiencies, illness, etc.; making fun of them is offensive. Another one states that it is very judgmental. “The picture shown above portrays racial discrimination because the girl mistakenly chooses the dark-skinned man instead the guy on the left. In lieu with this, it depicts the long-time Filipino culture that mestizos or people with light skin are regarded as inferior and should therefore, be chosen rather than the Moreno. Harsh reality.” a different observation of the respondents. One more thought of the respondent that the ad suggests that if you have some kind of an eye problem you are probably going to marry the wrong person which is portrayed by the black guy with glasses. Plus, the existence of the attention-grabber tag line, "Don't be loser" implies that anyone who tries like someone who is dark/black is a loser. The ad simply promotes racism. It classifies people based on color and looks. It degrades people who were not favored by the ad since the ads nowadays are very influential and provocative.

In this manner, there are negative comments on the ad that the EO should take care. Even it is fine with the others, still it is not a good ad if it has a bad image behind that ad. The company should be aware the possibilities that might happen before releasing the ad. Government Policy if needed According to Advertising Standards Council Code of Ethics Article IV: Other Standards of Presentation, Section I: Disparagement, Letter A, it is agreed that, “Advertisements shall not directly or indirectly disparage, ridicule, criticize or attack any natural or juridical person, groups of persons or any sector of society, especially on the basis of gender, social or economic class, religion, ethnicity, race or nationality”. In this concern, a billboard ad located along EDSA the “Cauliflower” by EO, a part of an ad campaign which has been running since 2009 to present, is a racist kind of ad that some Filipinos don’t find offensive. But this ad actually has an offensive element in it like the “Don’t be a loser, have your eyes checked” tagline clearly shows a racist statement. In other words, their tagline is trying to say that those people who have poor eyesight are considered losers. Another one is that the tagline also designates to the woman in the said ad that chooses the dark skinned man considered herself as a loser, as what our respondents reasoned, finds it as an aggressive.

Conclusion: Potential Solutions/Recommendations An Executive Optical (EO) billboard advertisement is being bashed by the many and stated it as a racist advertisement. This advertisement is now being flooded with negative comments. The ad says “Don’t be a loser, have your eyes checked”. It also shows a dark skinned man with an eye glasses while smiling as he embraces a beautiful girl holding a bouquet of flowers while on the other side, there’s a fair skinned man without glasses holding a bunch of cauliflower, who looked surprised.

Some netizens take an action for this ad, using social media sites, so people may notice about the ad’s racism and they can complain about the ad, According to ASC code of ethics “Advertisements shall not directly or indirectly disparage, ridicule, criticize or attack any natural or juridical person, groups of persons or any sector of society, especially on the basis of gender, social or economic class, religion, ethnicity, race or nationality." Since it matches with the said ad it all means that they violated one of the codes of Ethics. The researchers vouch for it would be a good idea if they use the clothes that would reflect with the opposite personalities of the two men aside from their color to court with the woman rather than the ones color or race. Preventing the double or triple meaning of the ad to others, maybe they should have wear also the woman some glasses to confirm that she chooses the right man and in that manner she will not be a loser then either the darker skin man.

But for us, as students of BFA Advertising Arts and a human being that believes in equality, it is good to be always sure that all the viewers will not feel offended by the ads. Why should we have to consider the black ones as the opposite of a fine human being? Making fun of its once race is not a joke. Racism is still racism.

Reference
Cuala, Angel. (2012, June 21). Executive Optical (EO) billboard ad along EDSA being criticized for being ‘racist’ (Photo). Batangas Today RSS. Retrieved January 12, 2013, from http://www.batangastoday.com/

Implication (Possible Effects) If this ad will still continue to be displayed in social media, the possibility may increase the racism in the society; it appears to be discriminating someone who got darker skin. Likely, it articulates that you’re a loser if you got this kind of skin. It may cause low self-esteem of someone. Many people will treat them as a second class citizen; it will even affect more on children causing emotional problems. It may be funny, but still people will find the ad racist. It is illegal to practice racism anywhere around the world. So this kind of advertisement should be removed, to lessen the racism in the society.

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