Landscapes of Global Capital
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IBM28-00Framing or bordering a commercial to change its aspect ratio is a device used to separate an ad from clutter and to create a recognizable look to a campaign. IBM borders its black and white commercials in a blue frame. While the black and white photography supports a realist, anxiety-ridden everydayness to its vignettes, the blue frame immediately identifies the commercial as an IBM text.

IBM27-00 IBM38-01 IBM40-02 IBM41-02

Big Blue has repositioned itself from a company that builds computers to a service corporation that will provide the technological solutions to rapidly changing business environment.

UPS09-02UPS refers to itself as brown. While it uses a framing device to offset its ads, it frames them in black rather than brown (it seems to be a misplaced opportunity to create an added equivalence.). The last frame of the commercial, however, is brown. Throughout this campaign UPS uses a non-realistic testimonial structure to hype its superior qualities for solving transportation problems.

UPS09-02 UPS10-02 UPS11-02 UPS12-02

Rather than refer to UPS by its corporate name those giving testament call it 'Brown.' While this technique lacks subtlety, it reinforces an already established association between the color of UPS trucks and uniformed delivery persons and the themes of these commercials. Whenever we see a brown UPS delivery truck we are expected to equate UPS with the signifieds of these ads: reliability, speed, and efficiency.


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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey