I am currently enrolled in Visual Communications course. We recently had a reading in Visual Persuasion: The Role of Images in Advertising by Paul Messaris, 1977, on how certain advertisements are often pitched toward girls and others are pitched toward boys, particularly in early Saturday morning commercials aimed at young children. Researchers Welch, Houston-Stein, Wright, and Phlelal (1979) did a study on how to deem a commercial for girls vs. for boys? Researchers looked at the speed or pace of the editing and the nature of the editing transitions. In particular, the researchers made a distinction between straight cuts, which create an instant transition from one shot to the next, and dissolves or fades, both of which entail a more gradual replacement of one shot by another. All of these aspects of editing are usually considered means of making a scene more or less exciting, tranquil, and so on. Their conclusion: Commercials aimed at boys were characterized by faster editing and greater use of straight cuts, whereas girls’ commercials had a slower editing pace and were more likely to emply fades or dissolves.
I decided to take this information I learned in my Visual Comm class and apply it to our class and see if the Hunger Games trailer appeals more to boys than girls (granted this study was emphasized on 7-11 year olds, I still believe the main question was the gender distinction instead of age). The conclusion I came up with is that the editors of the Hunger Games TV commercials is split about 60-40. I feel that after looking at this commercial many times it becomes clear that about 60% of the time there Is softer transitions that fade from one shot to the next, and around 40% of the time there are straight cuts that are meant more for boys viewing this ad. I did, also notice that the commercial only had the fade shots with parts of the commercial that was displaying more emotional aspects of the movie—Katniss saying goodbye to her family, Peeta on the roof, Cinna speaking, etc. While the more straight cuts shots come into play in the action. This can be seen as a deliberate attempt on the editors to grab a certain genders attention at a more gender specific scene (ex: making straight cuts in the action scenes so it is more attuned to the males and so forth).
I find this to be a very interesting conclusion, I believe that certain movie promos are aimed specifically toward a certain gender; however, the Hunger Games was split almost evenly. For this reason, I commend the editors in gaining both interest from both genders and helping to make this movie more successful by a simple editing technique.
Here’s the clip, feel free to check it out and see if you can understand the straight cut scenes vs. the fade-into shots.