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Media Theory Revision Guide

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 or events as a means of creating viewer interest or ideological messaging.

Media terminology used

Stylistic opposition

The use of contrasting aesthetic elements. Oppositional colour palettes, editing styles, lighting treatments or compositions, for example, might be used to create visual interest.

Open frame composition

A composition that has no objects or frames at the edge. Closed frame shots usually connote freedom, but can suggest isolation if coupled with a long shot composition.

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