The pages in the two leaflets that refer to the law both use lots of images to frighten the readers into not taking drugs. They consciously remind the readers of the bad things that could happen to them if they take drugs. When you first turn to “the Law unlocked” page in The Score, you see a pair of handcuffs. This is a very strong visual signal of what could happen if the reader handles drugs. Drugs the Facts may not have used handcuffs as they are aiming for a younger audience who will not get arrested, only “cautioned” or taken to court.
Drugs the Facts has laid out their law page to resemble a newspaper. This may deter their readers from taking drugs, as it would subconsciously remind them that if they do take drugs they might get a lot of unwanted attention if they do get caught. They have bordered some of the articles with black and white checks, which look like the police logo as used on hats and vehicles. This layout and these borders emphasise the seriousness of the issue being discussed. The Score has used a more linear layout for their law page, as they are aiming for an older audience.
The language used on both pages is very different. Drugs the Facts have explained and described many of the terms used, such as “formal caution”, and in some places they have left out the formal terms, such as “possession” and just explained instead. This may be because the HEA feels that the demographic group will not understand these terms, and so they will need explaining to them. The Score, however, uses all the terms, and explains them using colloquial language, for example it describes “possession with intent to supply drugs” as “dealing”.
This effective use of both complex and colloquial language makes the reader feel that they are understood, and so will make use of the information presented to them. Drugs the Facts and The Score have used the well-known genre of teenage magazines to attract their specific demographic groups. They have effectively subverted this genre in order to educate teenagers about the consequences of drugs. Unfortunately, some of the conventions utilised may appear denigrating or patronising to the youths of the current and future generations, as many generalisations and institutional beliefs have been used in order to interest a broadcast audience.
The leaflets have had to deal with changing fashions, speech and ideals held by young people, and because the assumptions made by the Government about these things may be wrong, teenagers may feel repelled, rather than attracted, and not take in the information, having the opposite effect of the producers’ intentions. The subconscious conventions used are very effective in that they may frighten the reader into not using drugs, subliminally reminding them of prisons, dark nights and hallucinations. The HEA has subverted the well-known genre of teenage magazines to manipulate the audience into thinking that the leaflets are entertaining.
They have exploited the teenage familiarity with the entertainment genre in order to allow the teenagers to relate and take in the information provided. They achieve this effect by stealth, using images and layouts that subconsciously remind the target audience of ideas, both frightening and familiar, to persuade them to be aware of and change their opinions or actions in situations containing drugs. Teenage magazines are aimed to sell products, such as hair products or makeup. The leaflets have subverted this genre by not advertising beauty products, but “advertising” the prevention of drugs abuse.
Arguably, the information about drugs presented in The Score is more effective than in Drugs the Facts because it is less confusing, and laid out in a way in which the reader can easily understand. Drugs the Facts may well overwhelm the reader with bright colours and slanted layouts, although its information is appealing and educational to its demographic group. However, even more successful is The Score, containing a subtle mixture of complex and colloquial communication, slick production values and only slightly marred by the stereotypical teenage portrayals in the photo storyboards. Catriona Howie English Media Essay Ms Sutcliffe.