Media As Instruments

January 01, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Description of selected communication situation
I've selected an advertisement from Pizza Hut that features their latest product, the "Cheesy 7 X'Mas Edition" Pizza.

I've uploaded a picture of the ad here: 


Analysis of selected communication situation
Viewing this ad through the lens of media as instruments requires an understanding of how media works as a process.  

The Process Model
In Shannon and Weaver's Mathematical Theory of Communication (1949; Weaver, 1949b), they present communication as a simple linear process. Their model is illustrated as follows (The Shannon-Weaver Mathematical Model, 1949 [Image]):






In An Introduction to Communication Studies (John Fiske, 1990) explains that Shannon and Weaver first developed this model based on their work as telephone engineers. They wanted to find the most efficient way of sending information through either the telephone cable or the radio wave. Their theory however, is also widely applicable over the whole range of human communication. 


The Instrumental View of Media
The communication process of the Shannon-Weaver Model contains a few simple elements (Terence Shimp, 2000). In viewing media through the lens of media as instruments, we will be using the following elements:
1. Information Source or The Sender 
2. The Message 
3. The Channel
4. The Receiver 
5. Feedback or The Response
We will be using these elements in our analysis of the Pizza Hut advertisement. 




The Sender
The sender in this context would be the Pizza Hut organization itself. They are clearly identified by their logo in the bottom right corner, which consists of a bright red roof, and the words Pizza Hut next to it. Pizza Hut is an international fast-food cum restaurant franchise that has been in operation for many years, and is a trusted brand worldwide. (Pizza Hut organization)




The Message
Pizza Hut is advertising their latest product, which is a pizza that has seven different types of cheese among the ingredients. The name of the pizza, "Cheesy 7", already conveys this message. Furthermore, the names and images of the seven different cheeses are portrayed in the ad, just below the image of the pizza. They are: Cheddar, Cream Cheese, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone and Romano.  


The pizza will be available for a limited time, as the image in the top left corner states "X'Mas Edition". This implies that the Cheesy 7 pizza will only be on sale over the Christmas season, which is generally the months of November and December. The further implication is that the Cheesy 7 pizza will no longer be available for sale after this period.  


The main image in the advertisement is the "Cheesy 7" pizza itself, which is portrayed to be topped with succulent ingredients in the festive Christmas colors of red and green. This lends further weight to the idea of a "limited time only" offer. 


The crust of the pizza is portrayed to be stuffed with oozy cheese, along with the words "Stuffed Crust with 3 Cheese Flavours". This is another selling point for Pizza Hut, as most pizzas don't contain cheese-stuffed crusts. However, the three cheese flavors inside the stuffed crust are not mentioned. 


In Advertising Promotion (Terence Shimp, 2000), it is stated that all marketing communications efforts will accomplish one or more of the following objectives:
1. Build product category wants - In this case, pizza.
2. Creating brand awareness - The Pizza Hut brand.
3. Enhancing attitudes and influencing intentions - The image oriented Pizza Hut ad evokes a feeling a festivity, and a desire to buy and eat the “Cheesy 7” pizza. 
4. Facilitating purchase - In this case, the limited time offer creates a sense of urgency to buy the pizza before it's unavailable.  


Overall, Pizza Hut is sending the message that they have a delicious new pizza, available only over the Christmas season, which contains seven types of cheese. They want the viewer to feel a sense of hunger and desire to try it.  




The Channel
Pizza Hut has chosen a large brochure format to advertise the "Cheesy 7". This allows them to have a large colourful image of the pizza. It looks attractive, and is easily noticed. This ensures that anyone that catches even a glimpse of it will remember it, as it forms a mental image in the mind of the receiver. 


Additionally, this particular brochure was distributed along with the Straits Times. The Straits Times is a Singaporean newspaper, with a large distribution base, and is considered to be a reputable and trustworthy publication. 




The Receiver
The receiver in this case will be anyone who sees the brochure. Of course, it could be said that Pizza Hut's target audience would be everyone, especially children and people who like pizza, cheese, or festive foods. However, there are an infinite number of situations and environments under which a person could potentially see this brochure. This makes it impossible to predict the outcome, or control how the message reaches the receivers. 


Knowing this, Pizza Hut has chosen to distribute the brochure along with the Straits Times. By doing this, they can at least ensure that the brochure reaches the majority of English-speaking Singaporeans. Furthermore, the receiver is likely to read the news early in the day, which will lead to them seeing the brochure. This could induce them to try out the pizza during lunch or dinner. 


In discussing the type of people who are most affected by the media agenda, the book ‘A First Look at Communication Theory’, mentions that people with a high index of curiosity are more willing to allow media to shape their thinking (Emory A. Griffin, 2009). These type of people would make the best receivers.




The Response
As this is a recent advertisement, it would be difficult to measure the effect or impact of this ad on the general public. However, food advertisements that lead to the general public consuming the advertised product is well documented in many statistics.  


In Food Advertising in the United States (Anthony E. Gallo, 1999), it is stated that fast-food advertising accounts for at least 28% of all food advertisements.


CEO of Optimedia US, Antony Young, states that Pizza Hut leads the US $29 billion pizza sales category with 18% of all pizza sales (Antony Young, 2009).


Marketing Director of Taradel.com, Chirs Barr, states that whenever Pizza Hut or any other pizza franchise delves into a national ad campaign, they will see two effects. Firstly, they will see orders for the advertised product increase, and secondly, they will establish their brand image more strongly in the public consciousness (Chris Barr, 2010).


The Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2006, mentions that the heightened desire for advertised products has been observed to translate into purchase requests, and does not diminish with age (Dr. Owen B.J. Carter, 2006).


Thus, we can conclude that Pizza Hut's latest advertisement for the "Cheesy 7" would result in more sales of the product. 




Things I hadn't noticed before
Through viewing media as instruments, I've realized how senders select a channel of communication to carry their message to their receivers more effectively. I've also gained some insight into how a sender thinks through the entire communication process before developing a message for their audience. 




References & Attribution
1. Warren Weaver and Claude Elwood Shannon (1963). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252725484. Book.


2. The Shannon-Weaver Mathematical Model, 1949 [Image]. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://www.shkaminski.com/Classes/images/Shannon-Weaver%20Model.gif. Web Image. 


3. John Fiske, (1990) “Communication Theory” in An Introduction to Communication Studies. Second Edition. London and New York, Routledge, pp.6-8.
Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://digital.lib.rmit.edu.au/ereserve/notes08/comm2281/31259008893054.pdf. Web Document.


4. Terence Shimp, 2000 “The Communication Process” in Advertising Promotion. Fifth Edition. Fort Worth: The Dryden Press, pp. 116-119.
Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://digital.lib.rmit.edu.au/ereserve/notes09/comm2281/31259008898772.pdf. Web Document. 


5. Pizza Hut organization: http://www.pizzahut.com.sg/. Web Site.


6. Emory A. Griffin, (2009) "Agenda-Setting Theory" in A First Look at Communication Theory. Seventh Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill, pp. 363-364. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://digital.lib.rmit.edu.au/ereserve/notes09/comm2281/31259008896222.pdf. Web Document.


7. Anthony E. Gallo, (1999) “Food Advertising in the United States” in America's Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences (Edited by: USDA/Economic Research Service). Washington, DC, USDA 1999, pp. 174-175 / 2-3. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aib750/aib750i.pdf. Web Document Excerpt, from Book. 


8.  Antony Young, (2009). Pizza Hut vs. Domino's: Who Delivered the Best Media Strategy?  Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://adage.com/mediaworks/article?article_id=139027. Web Document.


9. Chris Barr, (2010). How the "Big 3" Pizza Chains Use Direct Mail to Develop New Markets. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://ezinearticles.com/?How-the-Big-3-Pizza-Chains-Use-Direct-Mail-to-Develop-New-Markets&id=4002605&opt=print. Web Document.


10. Dr. Owen B.J. Carter, (2006).Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control, Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia. The weighty issue of Australian television food advertising and childhood obesity, pp. 8. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://cbrcc.curtin.edu.au/reports/journal%20articles/hpja%2017%205-11.pdf. Web Document. 

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