Tag Archive for Education

Redheads in the Sun

The sun. It hates me.

The sun. It hates me.

I am a red head. As such, I am also an individual who is very at risk for skin cancer due to low levels of melanin. Couple that with the fact that my uncle died of skin cancer, and you see very readily that I have a personal interest in the prevention of this cancer. Gardner (2006) might mention that I live a life which exemplifies my cause.

In order for a campaign seeking to prevent skin cancer to be successful, of course, previous research would have had to have been conducted to determine the target audiences (in this case, the assumption is that we decided on red heads as the target, because that’s who I’m targeting in this assignment).

We could have come to this conclusion by looking at secondary research about skin cancer and prevalence, as well as past campaigns. For example, the CDC (2011) has implemented toolkits for distribution to students via school, media campaigns, grants, and a wide variety of partnerships to promote safe exposure to natural and unnatural UV exposure.

If we were to conduct primary research, we may conduct surveys measuring what people know about prevalence, risks, and prevention and do in a variety of states (some northern, some southern, etc.) or even countries (Scotland, Ireland and Australia have the largest concentrations of red heads). We could also as the same respondents how much sun block they wear and how often, making sure to also ask what prevents them from wearing it more often.

If we were to dig through all of the research, it consistently says that those with light skin and eyes, freckles or moles, and blonde or red hair are more at risk.  From there, we could have chosen our target audience (the one that I chose because I would very much like to see a campaign like this exist). These people are more likely to be aware of the danger they face, and so, as Kotler and Lee (2008) state, they are an audience more likely to be easily persuaded.

The focus of this campaign would be to promote the distribution and use of stronger SPF sunblocks and information dissemination regarding prevalence, prevention, and risks of skin cancer. The purpose would be to increase awareness and prevention.

The 4Ps would go something like this:

Product: As UV light increases wrinkles and aging, a long term product will be healthier, more radiant skin. A short term product will be with less freckles (if that is a deterrent) and less redness (NO ONE looks good sun burnt), as well as an iridescent glow.

f_9ccefb720bPlace: Every time the target audience goes outside they should be practicing safe sun, but because this is so obvious to most of us when it is excessively hot and sunny out, this campaign would target behaviors and exposure in overcast or rain ridden weather specifically. Sunscreen can be applied as a part of make up application for females, or combined with aftershave creams for men. In addition, clothing and hats which cover the skin and head should be worn during prolonged exposure.

Promotion: The distribution of a higher the 30 powered SPF cream (since it’s my campaign we’ll go 75 or 100; my friend calls this red head proof) which is waterproof, has an iridescent shimmer, and can be combined if necessary with makeups and other facial creams would be distributed through partnerships with salons, grocery stores, malls, parks, and at outdoor events (e.g., fairs, concerts, etc.). A campaign ad using humor would be created and information would lead to a website, as well as posted in highly trafficked areas, and on ponchos available at the same places as the SPF cream. The ad would be something clever referencing gingers being evolved vampires and this SPF cream can slowly stop the burning in the sun (or shimmering as it will have the iridescent component to it). We all know the soulless comments. It’s a meme that should be used effectively.

Price: People would have to take the time to put the cream on, but it would initially be offered in free trial packs. The cream would be on sale for a very low price at the same distribution points as mentioned above, but would be even more heavily discounted for red heads. Bottles (such as those with hand sanitizer) would be placed in parks and camp grounds, as well as at outdoor events for on site use.

My positioning statement would be:

“Red heads are most susceptible to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the US. Understanding why, how, and when to prevent skin cancer preserves our natural, radiant beauty.”

Or (in true Rocky and Bullwinkle style)

“Red heads are like beautiful plums. Don’t let the sun turn you into a prune.”


Skin cancer. (2011). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/behavior.htm

Interesting facts about redheads. (2010). Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF7TMiK9f6A

Gardner, Howard (2006). Changing minds: The art and science of changing our own and other people’s minds. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Kotler, P & Lee, N.R. (2008). Social marketing: Influencing behaviors for good. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Welcome to Gotham

This is the syllabus for the first course I’ve ever created. I am VERY proud of this, though I recognize it isn’t perfect. I hope to teach this class soon. It was mocked up as a UAA class, and used a Fielding syllabus design with altered colors for the format, but is not currently being offered (obviously). Anyway… enjoy!

Welcome to Gotham (annotated syllabus)

Media Bias: Personal Reflections for a Less Cynical Future

To infinityEveryone has biases, and the inclusion of media does not change that. In fact, just as media is biased towards certain people (e.g., handheld gaming consoles are biased towards young people) (Ohler, 2010), we are biased towards certain media. Conducting a media bias inventory allows us to understand our biases and determine the best way to either overcome them or embrace them. In this post, I will address my media biases by discussing my reaction to them, what I think I should improve, and how I can use this specific knowledge as a media psychologist.

My media biases did not surprise me. I tend to be very aware of what I am doing whether it’s right or needs to be improved. Personality affects our media biases, as it does so many other things. In my case, my drive toward perfection, drives my need to have an intimate knowledge of, and proficiency in, as many media as can get my hands on. It drives me to learn about it, both in their intended uses and their “meta” uses. aggregateIn other words, I strive to understand how people typically use it, whether those uses were intentional or not during it’s creation/development. It was not surprising, then, that my bias was very much social, exploratory, philosophical, and escapism driven. I use media to connect to my friends, to understand them (and others) and their preferences/opinions as a means of broadening my perspective, and a way to escape my physical micro-environment and connect to my sociomental environment.

I tend to be incredibly cynical in all aspects of my life, but where media is concerned, I am pointedly so. I approach my media use with reckless caution- my new term… you’re welcome to use it as you see fit. Though I love diving head first into new media and exploring its capabilities, I tend to be cynical about the information/people I meet while using them. Claims are, in my opinion, things to be verified by my experience and the experience of the collective (Borg, anyone?).

I do, I don'tI am proud my ability/tendency to be cynical and critical of that which is presented as fact via various media because I feel it allows me to learn more and work outside my biases. That being said, this cynicism is also the thing I must work to improve. I don’t mean that I should learn to be MORE cynical. I mean that I still tend to trust certain sources. Manjoo (2008) notes that we look to sources that already back up our opinions. While I agree that we have that tendency, I do not think it insurmountable. I tend to favor word-of-mouth reviews, information from sources I have agreed with in the past, and media that make logical sense to me. If I’m going to truly overcome biases (not that it is possible, but that striving to keeps them in check), I must seek out differing opinions and allow myself to remain flexible and better informed.

As a media psychologist, being able to pursue truth in spite of personal biases, and being able to determine and articulate the biases of others is paramount. We cannot understand how and why people use and are affected by media if we cannot look past our own biases. The very essence of our jobs is to remain open-minded and receptive to all forms that the intersection between individuals and media can take. We cannot teach others what media literacy means, without being media literate.

One sizeUnderstanding my biases is the first step to consistently perceiving the biases of others, and a step towards becoming a successful media psychologist. Though I am passionate about an extensive variety of media, and I remember when media meant only TV, radio, 8-bit game consoles, and circularly dialed analog telephones, I am cautious about what is presented on these media unless I am familiar with the source. Understanding these biases allows me to work past them, focusing on broader horizons, keeping in mind that doing so better prepares me for helping others do the same.


Manjoo, F. (2008). True enough: Learning to live in a post-fact society. Wiley.

The Tetrad of Power

As discussed last week, Marshall McLuhan was a very insightful man. His theories on media (though they were renewed from someone whose theories had heavily influenced him, Teilhard de Chardin), have been- and continue to be- very influential on media enthusiasts and scholars. That being said, a call for a “scientific basis” (“McLuhan’s Laws of Media,” n.d.) was consistent. This post will briefly explain the tetrad and give an (attempted) example of its use.

TetradThe tetrad is McLuhan’s response to the call for his theory to be formalized (“McLuhan’s Laws of Media,” n.d.). Though the theory itself is not empirically derived, the results of analyses using the tetrad are (“Media : McLuhan/LawsOfMedia,” 2008). The tetrad describes the way media-which had been created by people- affects people and, in turn, communities of all sizes. It relates ways in which the media changes behaviors, reverses behaviors, renews behaviors, and eliminates behaviors.

A fun exercise (I think it’s fun…) is to attempt a tetrad of your favorite media. By media, of course, I don’t mean necessarily electronic. I mean a tool that is used to enhance our ability to communicate (much like McLuhan’s definition of technology). So a pencil, a phone, a typewriter, etc. In this case, I’m going to consider the eReader (I personally use a Nook, but there is a hack that allows the Kindle app on the Nook, so I read both on one eReader).

Enhances: An eReader accelerates and improves our access to books. It also enhances our ability to publish by allowing online, do-it-yourself publishing.

Reverses: An eReader, meant to make reading more convenient (e.g., libraries on a single device, no holding pages open, etc.), has made it so easy that you can access your content from a variety of devices. However, the ability to do so means choosing which device you want to material on, synchronizing bookmarks and highlights, and so on. In the end, having one book to keep track of is easier.

Kindle-e-reader-006Retrieves: eReaders bring us back to reading books. Where we had moved on to digital entertainment and audio books, eReaders allow people access to a variety of classic, new, self-published literature which motivates them to re-discover reading. The effect is reminiscent of the introduction of the Gutenberg press.

Obsolesces: The eReader makes the use of paper printing unnecessary. Not that its use has been done away with, but with the eReader, paper itself is no longer needed for printed literature.

The tetrad impacts media psychologists by giving us something to gauge existing media changes with, as well as a way to make educated guesses about emerging media. By understanding the uses for, and implications of, media and technologies, we can look to the past to see the future with regards to effects, developments, uses, and more. The more we contemplate how the media and technologies around us affect us, the more we understand about ourselves.


McLuhan’s Laws of Media. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.horton.ednet.ns.ca/staff/scottbennett/media/index.html
Media : McLuhan/LawsOfMedia. (2008). Retrieved from http://deoxy.org/media/McLuhan/LawsOfMedia