Marketing Code-X

Scare Tactics

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Partnership for Drug-Free Kids PSA

The CODE-X series catalogs a vast codex of source codes (aka “signs”) extracted from past audits.

The object of study in semiotics is not the signs but rather a general theory of signification; the goal of each “audit” is to build a model demonstrating how meaning is produced and received within a category or cultural territory. Signs on their own, therefore, only become truly revelatory and useful once we’ve sorted them into thematic complexes, and the complexes into codes, and the codes into a meaning map. We call this process “thick description”; the Code-X series is thin description.

High Blood Pressure PSA

SCARE TACTICS” NORM: You should be terrified by how dire the situation is (or could be, if you don’t make changes soon).

Honda PSA

SCARE TACTICS” FORMS: Grim, gloomy, stark — often black and white. People whose lives are screwed up. Dystopian scenarios and contexts. Prescriptive and proscriptive. “Mind your meds.” “Don’t text and drive.” “Don’t get hacked.”

From a 2018 study of the WAKE-UP CALL space, defined as “Although you may be complacent about your situation, we’re here to educate — and alert — you that you’re not OK.

Tags: CODE-X, Making a Big Change