Monday, February 28, 2011

Alex Benady - “Maurice Lévy: The Napoleon of advertising”

In this article for The Independent, Benady interviews Maurice Lévy, one of the biggest players in global advertising. Maurice Lévy is the CEO of Publicis, a major French advertising company that owns several of the most important advertising agencies in the world (Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, and Fallon) as well as media buying agencies (Zenith Optimedia and Starcom). Lévy started in Publicis as a computer programmer who grew to be the successor of Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet as chief executive, the only two CEOs in 80 years.

In the interview Lévy says that, unlike the Anglo-Saxon companies, Publicis is not obsessed with being the largest company in the industry, but it is rather focused on obtaining global reach so that it can be the best in the industry. Lévy also mentions that as a French advertising company, Publicis’ focus and approach are completely different to those of the Anglo-Saxon companies. Publicis’ tag line “Vive la difference” is applied throughout the company’s businesses, adapting to and embracing the different cultures in which Publicis is involved. However, as a French advertising company, Publicis faces the challenge of being underestimated or viewed negatively by the global business community, and since “all the big client firms are Anglo-Saxon, German and Japanese,” Lévy and Publicis have to work extra hard to show the company’s outstanding results.

"I mix it up, i whip it and pop it in the pan" or "I tie her up, whip her, and then give her one."

Lévy makes an interesting comparison between the creative work of the French and of the Anglo-Saxon. He says. “The British are very much dominated by sense of humour but at the same time you find the demonstration of the product. The Americans are very much head on – product benefit, matter-of-fact rationalization. The French play down the rational and play up the emotional. They will place a lot of emphasis on aesthetic aspects. The ads have to be beautiful and sensual. Sometimes they move from sensuality to sexuality.” Lévy says this explains the French phenomenon of “porno chic” in advertising, although according to him; it’s a phenomenon that is fading.

Publicis’ transformation into the global advertising giant it is today is largely owed to Lévy’s vision and outstanding business skills. Starting in the late 1980’s Lévy started an agency shopping spree that has lasted all these years, and that has allowed Publicis to enlarge its global operations. The company’s success is also due to Lévy’s incredible understanding of the advertising business, and the consumers. He says, “Flexibility and willingness to absorb new ideas at an accelerating rate will be the keys to future success.” Lévy is aware of the transformations and changes the advertising world is experiencing, in relation to both media and consumer preferences. He adds, “Since media are meant to represent the world, the representation of the world moves faster than the world itself. We no longer live in a time of mediation; we have entered an era of immediacy.”

Marc Hayward - “Vernacular Geopolitics and Media Economies in an Enlarged Europe”

In this article, Marc Hayward discusses a series of events between important Saudi individuals and companies and the Italian media with the purpose of analyzing and explaining in detail the characteristics of media in the enlarged Europe.

The series of events are as follows:

Tarak Ben Ammar

Saudi Prince Al Waleed

• A meeting between Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Saudi Prince Al Waleed to discuss Berlusconi’s plans to privatize Italy’s state-owned energy company ENI. Al Waleed also purchased 25% of Berlusconi’s shares in Mediaset TV so that Berlusconi could comply with Italy’s conflict of interest laws.

• The emergence of information about extensive ties between RAI, Italy’s public broadcaster, and Dalla Al Baraka Investment Bank, and the distribution deal signed between RAI and Arab Digital Distribution for the global distribution of RAI International.

• Rising interest about Tarak Ben Ammar, a French-Tunisian businessman and longtime Berlusconi associate who facilitated the sale of Berlusconi’s shares to Al Waleed, and who also negotiated the distribution agreement between RAI and Al Baraka Investments for the distribution of RAI International.
Silvio Berlusconi

It is important to highlight that the context in which these events were covered by the media was affected by the fact that both Prince Al Waleed and Al Baraka Investment Bank were being accused of providing funding for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The Italian public was therefore worried about the consequences or associations that Berlusconi’s relationship with these two entities could have for Italy.

Hayward goes on to say that the relationship between Italian media and Saudi capital “help[s] us to map the institutional and political-economic relations that constitute the transnational networks within which cultural commodities circulate,” but most importantly he states that the media coverage of the events “is grounded in the same discourses that frame the global ‘War on Terror’ and popular panics about the coming ‘clash of civilizations’ between the North Atlantic world and the Muslim world that circulate in Europe” (127).

Finally, Hayward redefines the “enlarged Europe” to refer to the ways in which Europe operates on a global scale, or the ‘footprint’ that it leaves outside the geographic boundaries of the continent (130). Since some of the subsidiaries of Al Baraka Investment Bank are considered the major distributors of Italian media internationally, which means we can no longer think of the role of media as constrained to the geographic boundaries of the continent either.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

French Politics, Privacy, Scandal

Viva la difference! European politicians are somewhat different that American politicians. Above Sarkozy and the notorious Italian Burlusconi share a laugh. What is acceptable for European politicians is somewhat different because of a greater degree of protection of politicians' private lives, due the Napoleonic Code created in 1804. In France Article 9 was also created in 1970 to protect privacy. There are also very different ways of being elected. While the US spotlights a candidate, often coming out of nowhere, in Europe and especially France, party campaigns are used. Posters, ads and campaigns promote the party first then the candidate may be named on party promotions in designated areas.

Parties used to be a way of reaching voters to explain and represent issues. More and more voters are becoming informed and issue based. Below a European Union site allows people to answer a quiz and discover where they fall on party lines. Take the quiz here.

Above and below mediatization of culture means the politicians must do well with traditional media like television and new media like Facebook below.

Below, Sarkozy's son Jean rose to instant political success, which some claim was a combination of nepotism and his media friendly good looks.

Above Sarkozy has been in the media spotlight for his personal life, mainly concerning his 3 marriages. Most recently in 2010 the Bettencourt scandal concerned the L'Oreal heiress' donations to Sarkozy before he was elected.

There are a number of French political journals that follow scandals and political issues, including Le Point below.

Les Presidents!

“Military HERO!”

Born 1890, Lille of Northern France
Elected 1959-1969
Career highlights:
Founded the Free French Forces in World War II, an underground military force during the Nazi occupation, then serving as a provisional president after the war
His support of the May 1958 Algerian crisis got him elected
Wrote a new constitution freeing Algeria and founding the French Fifth Republic
Oui, c'est vrai: He was president during May 68 and said
"La réforme oui, la chienlit non", "Reform yes, masquerade no," consequently resigning in 1969.

“C’est La Nouvelle France”

Born Montbounif, central France, 1911
Elected 1969-1974 (died in office)
Career highlights:
Best known as De Gualle’s Prime Minister, longest serving Prime Minister
Became president as a consequence of De Gualle’s resignation
Supported the May 1968 efforts
Supported the UK as a European Union member
Responsible for “modern” Paris, such as the Beaubourg Museum (now Centre Pompidou), Les Halles and the Montparnasse Tower
Oui, c'est vrai: Appears to have been scandal free (or very good at privacy, being that he passed the Article 9 privacy law in 1970)

"Descendent of the King"

Born 1926 in Koblenz, Germany
His mother was a great great great illegitimate granddaughter of King Louis XV and his mistress.
Elected 1974-1981
Career highlights:
Best known for his liberal support of divorce and abortion and supporting the TGV.
He initiated the Group Six, now the G-20.
Oui, c'est vrai: He was not re-elected and following his presidency was criticized for purchasing an estate his family lost when beheaded during the revolution.

“The Sole Socialist”

Born 1916, Angoulême Southwestern France
Elected 1982-1995
Career Highlights:
Longest running and oldest president
German Prisoner of War in WWII
Only Socialist president of France
Restructured the parliament to be Socialist
Abolished the death penalty
Liberalized the media by first creating the CSA, then allowing private broadcast (Canal +) and legalizing pirate radio
Secured the Chunnel and the creation of La Defense
Oui, c'est vrai: When elected he was diagnosed with cancer but he kept his cancer out of the media by publishing false health reports. In 1993, Liberation revealed the Mitterrand had his headquarters under wiretap to prevent leaks of information,
including his affair and illegitimate daughter

“The Parisian Giuliani”

Born 1932, Paris
Elected 1995-2007
Career highlights:
First a liberal then a right wing
Began as a Socialist working for L’Humanite
Negotiated the May 1968 truce
Mayor of Paris from 1977-95
He advocated the values of the wealthy with lower taxes, lower crime, more privatization of the commerce
Oui, c'est vrai: First served as prime minister in 1974 and negotiated a deal with Irag in 1975, a trade of nuclear testing equipment for oil privileges

“Carla Bruni’s Husband”

Born 1955 France
Elected 2007-
Career highlights:
Trained under Chirac
Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France’s wealthiest neighborhood from 1982-2003
Emphasizes improved work ethic
Emphasizes improved foreign relations, mainly the UK and USA
Close relationship with Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH
Oui, c'est vrai: Three marriages and numerous press scandals and press lawsuits, married to model and singer Bruni

European Media by Region

Click chart above to enlarge

Papthanassopoulos and Jean Chalaby Readings:

By Nicolle D'Onofrio

Papthanassopoulos:Politics in the Television Age

This reading discusses the variety of ways television has influence the political process in Europe. He points out conventions available only through an audio-visual medium like television, such as public opinion turning to the most effective speaker/presenter versus the most competitent person for a task. The author also discusses the economy of political campaigning via television, and the methods the politicians use to win the support of their followers via television. Of course, questions of television bring up topics of audience behavior (what does an audience see when they watch a political debate, what would we prefer to see, and how will these influence our vote) as well as globalization (if we see a debate in our country, will others in other countries be affected? How does this influence our decision as voters?) Overall the author rejects the mediazation of politics, stating that its nature is to treat voters as consumers, rather than national citizens.

Key Terms: media logic, vidocracy

Jean Chalaby: Investigative Reporting in France

Context: London, 2004
Author: Jean K. Chalaby; Sociologist and Media Research Scholar
Approach: Academic, Sociological Research
POV: Pro-development of Investigative Journalism in France.

Investigative Reporting is a genre of journalism where journalists do their own in-depth research to add value to or discover a story (see All the President’s Men Trailer). This type of reporting did not fit within the typical profession of French Journalism. French journalism base in literary writing styles along with strong political associations caused the late development of investigative reporting. Also, the author argues that France’s state-controlled monopoly on media provided a disincentive for the development of this genre of journalism. Also, the author argues that France’s nature to lay blame in the system, not the individual, may have hindered their development of Investigative Reporting, which tends to provide action by blaming an individual.

Example of Investigative Reporting Genre: All the President's Men

L’Express and Le Canard Enchainé were two of the first journals to do investigative reporting in France. Both journals are weeklies established in the 1950’s.
Investigative Reporting via TV and Newspaper seems to have a great influence on the French Public Opinion (influencing presidential elections and political resignations) and both were claimed by the French government to be relentless, non-partisan journals searching to cause chaos to a previously state-controlled broadcasting system.

- Murder and Kidnapping of Moroccan Opposition Leader, 1965 (Charles de Gaulle), L’Express

- Jacques Chaban-Delmas Tax Evasion, 1971 (Pompidou), Le Canard Enchainé

- Government Attempts to Bug Le Canard Enchainé, 1973 (Pompidou), Le Canard Enchainé.

- Irishmen of Vincennes incorrectly accused of Terrorism, 1982 (Francois Mitterand), Le Monde

- Green Peace’s Rainbow Warrior killed, 1985 (Francois Mitterant), L’Evenement du Jeudi

- Public Health presents HIV contaminated blood for hemophiliacs, 1991 (Fancois Mitterand), L’Evenement du Jeudi

Terms: Investigative Reporting, L’Express, Le Canard Enchainé, Partisan/Non-Partisanship.

This study is very relevant to us today in term of genres of journalism, as well regulations of journalism. This study brings up questions of the role of Wikileaks? Also, how might social networking play a part today in the investigation process?

Wikileaks: Revolutionizing Investigative Journalism - The Daily Cardinal

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Public and Private in Contemporary French Politics

by Betty Chen

Papathanassopoulos’ article, “Politics in the Television Age,” provides us with a look at the contemporary backdrop of European 'videocracy' (Mazzoleni 1995). Since the 1990s, television has grown to be an important medium for both entertainment and information, and has an almost unique ability to reach a specific mass audience. Political communication practices have adopted to include the heavy use of the 'mediatisation' of television. It is also a coincidence that the statuses of traditional political parties, trade unions and political affiliations have declined. This has led to “a decrease in the power and status of politicians... [Thus,] the growing indifference of the public towards politics should be attributed to the decline of politics… rather than being considered as the outcome of television’s dominance” (125). It can be the overall political, economic and social conditions of modern democracy that has led to the decreased political participation of voters. But, Papathanassopoulos admits that this “’modernized’ relationship between the media and politics does not seem to be making a positive contribution to the health of democracy” (126).

"The Public and Private in Contemporary French Politics," is an article written in 2007 by Raymond Kuhn, a professor of political communication and contemporary French politics at Queen Mary, University of London, as part of a cultural study on France.

Kuhn argues that “what once was- or at least appeared to be- a clear frontier between the public and private spheres has become blurred and open to dispute” (186).

To disentangle the concepts of private and public, Kuhn advises us to consider both
1. the status of information: information as public or private on a continuum scale, and not as a binary function (187) and
2. the process of its dissemination via the news media. Consider two dimensions:
a. Is the information of a voluntary or involuntary nature from the perspective of the politician? Was he willing to share this information to the public?
b. Is the information of an overt or covert nature? Differing interpretations of boundary maintenance and terms of engagement (188) can cause problems if the politician intended the information to be shared off the record.

This shift in boundaries between what is public and private in French political communication and journalism, is in part due to changes in the “interdependent relationships between three sets of actors: politicians, journalists and the public” (185).

Politicians and their support staff are increasingly relying on the mediatisation of their image to personalize their electoral process to reach out to the voter audience. At the same time, the electorates have less of a control over what is publicized and what is not, especially in these areas of contention in their “private” life: money, health, sex, and family values. Online blogs are an exception as they provide a direct line of communication to the public.
See for political blogs posted on the French newspaper website.

Journalists and other people of the media, on the other hand, have ‘their own aims and rules that… often clash with those of political communicators’ (Mazzoleni and Schultz (1999: 249). In France and other Mediterranean regions, there have been traditions of deference and collusion between the press and political leaders. However, the media have become more intrusive in revealing the private lives of politicians in order to win the ratings and audiences necessary to survive in the competitive media market.

Finally, the media audience itself has adopted standards of obtaining information comparable to other advanced democracies. With technological developments and the wealth of sources of news available, the French public expects to know more about their political leaders, including their private lives.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eastern Europe

Above Car & Driver drove through the former Soviet Bloc to meet Eastern Europeans today.

Hedwig de Smaele wrote the article "Enlarged Audio-Visual Europe" to address the expansion of the European Union and its media. Below the maps show that Eastern Europe has been disputed territory for centuries, going back to the Ottoman Empire, then the Austria-Hungarian Empire and most recently the Soviet Bloc.

Below the area of former Yugoslavia is still in dispute with Kosovo recently proclaiming its independence from the war ridden area.

The European Union now includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria. The transformation of the 1990’s saw post-communist states becoming more Western in values and technology.

The key term is “Europeanization” meaning the west influences the east and not the reverse, a one way process. These countries have been asked to respect “principles” known as the “Copenhagen criteria
-functioning market economy
-capacity to cope with competition
-stable democracy with respect of rights and minorities
-willingness to use 80,000 page of legislation

Below Czech 24 is modeled to look like Western and American media sources.

The EU is aware of “the diffusion of cultural norms” : “Television programs and films however are considered a potential vehicle to spread norms, ideas and identities and the European Union clearly has the ambition to foster a sense of “European-ness."

A Pan-European audio-visual culture has not yet come into existence. The only media that appears to unify Europe is competition. Below Eurovision song contest and the Euro cup.

Euronews is the closest to European Media offering the same news in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Arabic

The main problem of expanded Europe media is fragmentation into small language markets. National productions of small eastern European markets cannot be exported. 80% content never leaves

Europe is also American dependent (reached 63% of audiences) but because the East does not make enough of its own they are even more dependent on US content. The author suggests Eastern Europe is in an economic ghetto. Strong European countries have media exportation problems but it’s worse for the East so stronger countries have partnered with Eastern countries for support.

North Central Europe

North Central Europe is considered the "Democratic Corporatist" model by Hallin & Mancini.
The largest region, it includes the most diversity in language but are all Germanic based
Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, also Finland), Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands
Unified by Protestant Reformation
There is a high degree of political parallelism and commercial press
Tradition of press freedom, especially in Sweden, p. 147
Trade relations facilitated press expansion

German Martin Luther in early 1500’s and French theologian John Calvin in Switzerland in the mid to late 1500’s

The early development of literacy in Northern Europe was a result of the principle that “every person should learn to read and see with their own own eyes what God bids and commands in his Holy Word.” The result was overall higher education in the northern countries. Guttenberg is also a factor here as “Protestants and printers had more in common than Catholics and printers.” The protestants used religious propaganda and debates of reason that created segmented pluralism.

There are some examples of polarized pluralism in Northern Europe, such as Germany during the Weimar period through World War II.

The segmented pluralism of Northern countries resulted in subcultures. Those subcultures may be faith based or language based. Both Switzerland and Belgium have sub-communities under one nation. The press was essential to unite these subcultures.

Point to consider, p. 156
Political parallelism…has a number of dimensions. It can be manifested in the ownership of media; in the affiliation of journalists, owners and managers; in readership patterns and in media content. In these areas it has been strong historically in the Democratic Corporatist countries.

There were people in the north with “dual objectives” to influence opinion and make money.One way to reach a larger audience is by being an “omnibus” media, meaning trying to reach the widest audience. The Democratic Corporatism grew through bargaining and considering capital, labor and agrarian interests.

Is it possible for the press to “bargain” interests? Can you name American media that please all or most of the people?

Germany's Christian Democratic Party

Pluralism is guaranteed by making sure that diverse social forces are included in the government.
External pluralism is when separate broadcasting companies represent different social groups.
Internal pluralism is when broadcasting corporations represent diversity from within.
The German system represents the political and social diversity of people. In the US, diversity is most often represented is in social interests and leisure activities.

Professional trends
There is an early and strong sense of professionalism.
The Nordic countries, especially Sweden, tend toward a professional civic model of an institution serving society, like the BBC.

The first unions of the press were in Scandinavia and oldest press club in Austria.
Germany and Sweden had low levels of change from editors
In Norway, editors report having a high level of autonomy
Unlike the the Southern countries that emphasize commentary, in the North, selection and emphasis reveal the party affiliation. p, 183
Unlike Southern countries, there is less of an urban-rural split except in Austria, p. 187.

On page 191, the author explains that “Democratic corporatism,” involves bargaining with groups to reach consensus. It means “political difference with political cooperation.”

North Central Europe is recognized by co-existing contradictions
-political parallelism
-press freedom
-state intervention