Reflection Topic: Post a photograph that represents an integrated spectacle during the pandemic and provide a short explanation.
A reflection paper for my Media Theory class for the lecture on Images and Guy Debord’s essay “The Commodity as Spectacle”
Ligo Sardines produced a simple yet playfully striking ad displaying the owners’ political stand on the country’s state of affairs at the time the president asked for special powers to address the pandemic. Regardless of whether their political statement is genuine or plain marketing strategy, the point is that this ad commodifies a person’s needs, wants, fears, and convictions through what Debord calls the “integrated spectacle” – redirecting the “target market” towards a pleasurable consumption of the capitalist’s product.
In repressing consumers’ desires and political position and channeling them towards consuming the spectacular good, a number of people from different walks of life (most expressed being non-consumers of canned goods and/or sardines via social media) said this item was already sold out in supermarkets and they wanted to buy it just because of the context of this ad. Here, sophisticated consumerism lords over logic as a canned good’s easy open lid becomes a spectacular form of political protest tapping into the consumers’ individual passions, which in turn, makes people who don’t normally consume their product buy it during the pandemic. Its hypnotizing reach manipulates concerned people’s fears and pacifies their urge for further dissent – thinking this ad already “saved them from real dangers.”
Debord, G. (2012). The Commodity as Spectacle. In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks 2nd edition. Edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas Kellner. Malden, MA and Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 107-109.