Tips for promotions and marketing

Promoting your event

As event organizers, you are actively contributing to the media that is present on our campus. We know the profound impact that media has on how we interpret, understand, and learn about ourselves and the world around us. The words, images, and mediums you use to promote and market your event to the community have a significant impact on how your event is perceived by members of the community and thus the inclusivity of the event.

Images or themes that may seem harmless to your organizing team could have a negative impact on certain groups of people on our campus. It can be easy to say "It doesn't mean anyhing!" But remember, we come to understand our world and the people around us primarily through the media, and the underlying messages in the media always mean something, even if we're not aware of them right away.

Before designing marketing and promotions material, it may be helpful to review the resources below developed by UBC Centre for Accessibility. If you are unsure whether a certain image of theme has a negative connotation or history associated with it, doing some research or seeking out support from university resources is a good approach.

Media literacy

All media is constructed

It is made up of a combination of images, sounds, graphics, and words. Media is shaped and formed in different ways. It doesn't accurately reflect reality, but rather makes its own versions. Conscious decisions inform the creation of the media. Each message is the result of a number of careful decisions on colour, lighting, text, etc., so nothing is an accident. However, this reality we create can be very powerful in influecing the way the think things are or "should be" in the world.

Everyone responds differently

Not everything we see or hear is interpreted the same by everyone. Depending on different aspects of your identity or life experiences, the way you interpret and negotiate the media you come into contact with will vary. The same goes for the media you create. Since people with different life experiences will interpret it differently, this is something you should take into consideration when you're creating public media. Even though media is created to communicate certain messages, each consumer interprets the media text differently, based on their experience. 

Media has a message

The media presents beliefs, values, opinions, and biases. THe media is always trying to tell (or sell) you something, whether it's commercial, social, or political. Sometimes this is explicity and sometimes implicity, but idealological values drive media production. It's up to us to decide how to interpret these messages.

Media has its implications

Because the media is influenced by commercial and political interests as well as social norms it has political, social, and commercial implications. All of these help determine the type of media we see and where and how it is targeted, as well ast eh amount of control we have over what we see, read, and hear.

Medium matters

Content and form are very closely related. How messages are sent changes the message of the media itself. Always remember to consider the medium, and that every medium is aesthetically unique. It all means something!

Things to consider

Representation

Make observations. Who is represented and who isn't? What genders, races, abilities, and ages are represented? How are the people portrayed? How are they positioned.

Technicalities

What are the technical aspects of the media you're using - the sound, lighting, cameral angles, etc.? How do they change how the message is relayed?

Text

Is there text or dialogue? What is it saying? How is it being said? Where is it positioned?

Purpose

What is the purpose of the media? Is it trying to sell a product? An idea? How does influence the way the ad looks or what it's trying to say?

Inclusivity

What assumptions does the ad make about gender, race, class, ability, age, or sexuality? How are these shown in the ad, explicitly or implicitly?

Repercussions

What are some of the long and short term consequences of the representations in this media? Does it create unrealisitic expectations of what we should be? Does it promote dehumanizing stereotypes? Is it socially responsible?

Tips on creating inclusive media

  • Don't rely on stereotypes to get your ideas across.
  • Don't use incendiary or insulting language.
  • Don't generalize one particular group's experience to get your point across.
  • Do be accurate, especially when referring to someone else's words or another source. This helps you avoid false or damaging reporting.