Saturday, August 23, 2008

Straight Talk

The website for the marriage equality movement in California makes a number of traditional values appeals with its print and television ads. This week between coverage of the Olympics, the video above has been playing in major markets, which is obviously intended to appeal to Latino/a viewers known for their social conservatism. Note the contrast in aesthetic with this video from the Croatian lesbian group LORI, which was banned from the national airwaves in that country.

Rhetoricians often talk about the "cultural conversation" that surrounds a given oratorical performance or persuasive text. Often viral advertising is designed to generate this kind of "buzz," so it is interesting to see that LetCaliforniaRing does not seem to be capitalizing on Internet many-to-many modes of communication. Although there is an area for visitors to post their personal stories, the website does little to propagate its message through blogs and social network sites.

This video from the California campaign explicitly discusses the value of starting the "conversation." It shows text that announces "let the conversation begin," emphasizes the value of "that one humanizing conversation," and reveals plans to orchestrate "millions of conversations" on the subject. Much like a chain letter, the first thing organizers ask for is for participants to talk to "15, 25, 100" people about the issue. Rather than have these be online conversations, this toolbox emphasizes face-t0-face interactions.

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