Moving on from the latest f*ck-up on my blog (can the world of telco please work out affordable roaming rates so that I can avoid stupid, enforced internet outages that coincide with maintenance work on my blog?) and the rather hurtful accusation that my blog is a “smutty site” (I am still reeling from that one… but I admit, the word ‘porn’ has popped up on this site on a few occasions. I blame Richard Armitage, though!), I need a new strategy. Less sighing with pleasure, more hard facts. The smut accusation doesn’t sit well with me, so I’ll keep it clean for now.
I was scrolling around among the contents for BS yesterday, particularly on their FB site, and noticed that a new promo image for Daniel Miller was released a couple of days ago. They posted their first DM promo image in August 2016, and this second one is a variation on the theme. I am not going to deep-*ooof* this new image – there is not really enough meat in a separate picture analysis because I have already exhausted all the facts on background, composition
and attractiveness of the subject – but I did notice a few notable changes. Lookit, this is the new image:
And for comparison’s sake, here is the first such:
For the moment, try,
if you can, to disregard the subject of the image – notice any difference, apart from the new photograph of Daniel Miller that has been photoshopped into the composition? …
Right, indeed, the graphics have been changed. I find that particularly interesting because this is what I wrote in my *ooof* of the earlier picture, a month ago:
On the graphics used in this design – ok, the fangirl in me is not happy. Of course not – anything that obscures any part of my favourite actor is to be rejected. Aesthetics are a tricky subject. Whether they appeal or not, is often based on personal associations and preferences. My spontaneous verdict is that I am not mad about the graphic design. There is something about the italic bold font used for “Daniel Miller” that screams “Grand Theft Auto” to me. Not that the font looks anything like GTA, but this italic looks as if it is missing a few exhaust fumes behind the “R”. Moreover, I notice that this is not the same font as the one used for the main BS poster, and neither is the smaller writing underneath. I can only assume that the decisions were deliberate – although I wonder why the designers did not go for an organic, uniform look in their promo designs.
gods graphic designers heard my niggling? I doubt it, but they have done the right thing and adjusted their design. We still have the same text, but the font has been changed to the lettering that is used in the main promo imagery of BS. The italic is thankfully gone and has been replaced with characteristic Berlin Station font, both in the name and in the short character description. Good move. The image now is organically connected to the main promo material of the show in its details, too, and the silly italic has been obliterated.
As for the new photo of Miller – an interesting move, too, because it alters the perception of the character. I found it noteworthy that in the first promo image, Miller’s body was not entirely turned away from the camera and his face was shot classic dead-pan: His face is in the centre of the image, and the photographer is shooting straight-on. Even Miller’s facial expression could be described as dead-pan: indifferent, empty, no visible emotion, a blank canvas – just as befits a spy. The photograph thus kept interpretations open – there was no particular hint of deception or surreptitiousness in the image.
I am now wondering whether the release of a new, improved promo image is actually deliberately timed to come *after* we have been shown the first two episodes of BS. Because now we have a Daniel Miller who is not staring dead-pan at the camera anymore, but he has turned his shoulder further to the camera and is staring across his right shoulder. This gives us an entirely different interpretation of the character in the image: Looking over your shoulder signifies running away from something/someone or being worried about something/someone catching up with you from behind. With his mouth the tiniest bit open, the torso ever so slightly leaning forward, and Miller intensely staring off-camera to his right, it looks as if he is indeed on the run, looking behind himself to see whether he is being pursued or observed.
Knowing what we know now, the new image feeds into our own inconclusive idea of Daniel: He has taken up station in Berlin, he is already investigating the leaks and pursuing a lead, but we have also seen hints at his own difficult (shady?) past and at the deception and distrust that characterises his CIA colleagues. I think this is pretty genius – *if* the update was deliberate. Introducing us to a blankly innocent Daniel first and thus establishing a false (?) interpretation of Daniel as the unmistakable hero, has thrown us off-track even *before* the show had started. Now following up with a surreptitious, hunted Daniel adds a new layer to our interpretation of him. Who or what is Daniel really? Does he have something to hide or something to run away from? Intriguing!
Nice one, Berlin Station graphic design and marketing departments! I like your strategy! If this is deliberate, then you really should be commended on your layered and organic planning of the promo campaign. And next time you read here, why don’t you say ‘hi’? 😉