The Analysis Of Advertisement For King Kong

This advertisement was for an American film – King Kong, which was produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. Some of the stars featured in this film include Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, and Robert Armstrong. King Kong is a film that was released in New York back on March 2, 1933, and it has been ranked as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Thus the movie also gained worldwide recognition owing to its special effects with characters and the gorilla itself. Taking a look at this advertisement, it catches the attention of the audience by locating in the center a woman being held by a furious gorilla. This leaves the audience with a first impression which riddles them and makes them wonder what happens next to either the woman or the gorilla, or even both of them. Furthermore, taking the knowledge of time period when the advertisement was released into consideration, these characters have different skin colors, and this can be a symbol or an implication of racial and social ideologies in the United States of how this film symbolically represented the Whites view of the Black Americans.

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In this advertisement, the movie ‘King Kong’ is presented in capital letters, which are bolded and in red color below the picture of the characters. At the center, there is a gorilla holding a beautiful woman played by Fay Wray. The animal is ‘King Kong,’ and the woman in the picture is unknown; and both have different skin colors; the animal (Gorilla) is black, and the woman is white and blonde depicting an American origin. The setting of the advertisement is a forest, which known to many seems to be the gorilla’s house- this means that the woman has invaded it. He is surrounded by trees and heavy clouds. The characters in this advertisement also present different gestures in that the gorilla is standing expressing a stern and furious face while the woman being held in the hands of the gorilla with her arms spread seems to be frightened and screaming. She seems to be struggling to escape from the gorilla’s enormous grip, which seems so much impossible.

King Kong’s advertisement also played a huge role during the period of ‘The Great Depression,’ in which the movie was released and was considered to be one of the worst economic downturns in the history of the USA. Regardless of the racial ideologies presented in this movie, the producers brought about societal techniques in an attempt to persuade society to watch the movie. From the perspective of Jack Solomon using lenses from ‘Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising,’ he describes the idea of using advertisements in different techniques to manipulate the American society through the use of signs and symbols. According to him, one of these techniques includes the use of ‘FEAR’ which can be effective in persuading the audience to buy the film because it will be made popular, and it will be easier for others to depict it as a monstrous movie.

Although this is not a product, its advertisement should be capable of making people go and watch the movie implicitly through the sign of fear. It also adds that this would subsequently bring back the economy. For instance, ‘American myth of equality is nowhere written so clearly as in the signs that American advertisers use to manipulate us into buying their wares’ (Solomon, 402). In other terms, we can say that these producers manipulate the consumers to buy the product because they are forced to buy the product and even not need it. From this perspective, we can, therefore, conclude that the producers of the movie ‘King Kong’ manipulated American society using ‘fear’ in the advertisement as spelled by its fonts. In this advertisement, the title is portrayed in capital letters, fonts are bolded and are red in color (red is usually associated with danger), and for this advertisement, it brings out the danger between the woman and the gorilla and this is also evident from the facial expression of the woman who seems to be seeking some help. Similarly, taking a glance at the background, the monster ‘King Kong’ is surrounded by clouds and forest where the forest, as well as the clouds, is dark, and this seems to represent an ominous and chaotic environment. Such a background, together with the gestures of the characters, manipulates the audience to watch the movie, especially having the gorilla as its main character, which to some extent, instills fear.

Additionally, advertisements have psychological effects on society through the use of ‘DESIRE.’ In this case, the advertisement tries to portray some aspects of sexual desire between both genders where in this film; the male is an animal, unlike the female, which is a human being. King Kong having a woman in his hand goes through the minds of many as to what to do with the woman in his dreams.

Examining the characters using lenses in, “Monster Culture (Seven Thesis)” by Jeffrey Cohen; he explains to us how the society is capable of creating its own monster; and this means that the society sometimes may not be in the capacity of accepting evolving factors such as race, but instead they take away some of its factors through hash judgments, hating it and destroying it. Based on his knowledge regarding monsters, he examines King Kong, explaining that different people usually perceive different races as monstrous. This film can as well, be associated with the period starting off in 1933 when African Americans were segregated, and slavery was long gone, yet the Whites would not treat the freed slaves equally.

In this context, we can, therefore, assume that African Americans were portrayed as monstrous. However, in addition to the creation of a monster, there can be two sides of a coin in this context; King Kong can use violence since the woman is invading its privacy, and this forces the gorilla to act the way he is because the woman can also be the monster. Cohen states, ‘And the monster is dangerous’ (6). This can, therefore, mean that since the woman invades the home of the gorilla, he is forced to protect it. From Cohen’s perspective, we can affirm that the advertisement plays a huge role by placing the woman and the gorilla as the main characters with different skin colors.

In conclusion, the advertisement ‘King Kong’ has proved to be the greatest movie throughout a long period of time due to its special effects and time of production. It also left the audience with a lot of controversies by placing a gorilla and a woman in the movie since the American society, especially in the 20th century, had experienced racial discrimination, and the blacks were compared to monsters. Furthermore, the gorilla’s desire to have a beautiful woman brought him peace, although stereotypes saw him as monstrous naturally. This film is, therefore, a reflection of how the African Americans were a threat to the society in the United States during the period of ‘The Great Depression,’ which should not have been the case at all. People can always be peaceful and not s threat as perceived by many. 

07 July 2022

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