Media Theory Revision Guide

"...essential for all media students"

All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.





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Old Spice

Binary oppositions


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The benefits of using Old Spice in the Bahamas advert are conveyed through a series of Straussian binary oppositionsThe open frame and calm composure of the central model is juxtaposed against the chaotic activity taking place beneath him: fishermen struggle to land their catches whilst a ship sinks comically behind the model.


A contrasting colour palette is similarly deployed, with the orange heat of the volcano backdrop providing a deliberate contrast with the idyllic blue sky of the island setting.


These stylised features combine to construct a ‘calm’ versus ‘chaos’ binary, and, in so doing, prompt the product’s audience to understand that Old Spice helps its wearers remain calm despite the pressures of everyday life.

Binary oppositions

Strauss tells us that media narratives work through the construction of conflict - presenting oppositional characters and events to create viewer interest or to construct ideological viewpoints. Viewers in narratives are usually positioned to agree with one of the oppositions presented to them.

Media terminology used

Stylistic opposition

The use of digital media by everyday audiences to make or distribute media content. Shirky argues us that the publish first/filter later revolution will replace professional media broadcasts because they are cheaper and quicker to distribute.

Open frame composition

An open frame refers to a shot from which a character can escape - a composition that has no objects or frames at the edge. Open frames connote freedom or can be used to suggest isolation if coupled with a long shot composition.

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Media Theory for A Level
The Essential Revision Guide