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Kony 2012 was a film produced by the Invisible Children Inc. in year 2012. The purpose of this film was to encourage more people to stop the abducting, enslaving and abusing children done by a group of rebels that originated in Northern Uganda named LRA, the lords resistance army (Mentioned in video 9:50), and Joseph Kony was the leader of LRA. The Invisible Children Inc. is trying to make Kony known globally and have him arrested by the end of 2012, before the campaign expires (8:35 and 13:17).
Invisible Children Inc. uses activating strong emotions, celebrity testimonial, and simplifying ideas and informations propaganda techniques very effectively:
First, the filmmaker knew how to deliver the messages in a way that activates and produces powerful and strong emotions. The Kony 2012 documentary takes the audiences on an emotional roller coaster. Audiences feel a sense of curiosity when hearing the name Joseph Kony. Audiences feel sad and caring when Jacob stated that he would rather die and meet his brother in heaven than to stay on earth (6:21).
Audiences felt hope when they were told that congressmen, senators, republicans and democrats all agreed that Joseph Kony had to be stopped (17:43). Activating strong emotions is effective in propagandas because research has shown that information is much more memorable when they activate a strong emotion of the audiences.
Second, the film used celebrities such as Rihanna and Justin Bieber to give testimonials in order to better promote their campaign. In the documentary, Jason Russel (the narrator) mentioned that people use social media nowadays to record their everyday life (0:35).
They also acknowledged that famous people such as celebrities, athletes and billionaires have a loud voice (23:15). Invisible Children Inc. took advantage of using social media to reach celebrities and have them to promote the campaign. Fans of these stars then support this campaign because their favourite artist or role models are doing the same thing. This makes Joseph Kony’s name heard to the world. Lastly, the information and message were greatly simplified so that it was easy to understand. I think that a successful propaganda shall always be able to take a complex situation and reduce it to the point where the “enemy” or the “evil side” is very clearly stated and identified.
In the documentary, Invisible Children Inc. was able to achieve this successfully. When explaining the problem that has been going on for the past 20 years, they made it very easy for people to understand. Jason Russel literally simplified the information in a way that his five-year-old son was able to understand and point out the “bad guy” in this scenario. Simplifying information like this makes propaganda very effective because as human, we seek simplicity in complexity. From the analysis above, we can see that Kony 2012 was a successful campaign that uses these techniques: activating strong emotions, celebrity testimonial, and simplifying ideas very effectively. Activating strong emotions can help with memorizing the information. Using celebrity testimonials can attract audiences to support the campaign. Simplifying complex information makes it easier for audiences to understand the issue.
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