Friday, 29 April 2011

Analysis- Images

This poster depicts a happy, idyllic scene on a tidy, flourishing farm. The weather is beautiful, the harvest is full and good, and there are animals and barns and a house. All of the animals are healthy.There are fences and a few trees. The house and barn are painted a bright, cheery red. In reality, it would take years and years of hard labour to establish a farm like the one on the poster.
The young woman would probably be hard at work inside, or in the barn. In the picture, she outside, relaxed with no work to do. She is waving, probably at a neighbour or her husband or her other young children at play. This makes the viewer think that in the prairies neighbours are close and that the work is not relentless or hard.
The picture on this poster shows the viewer an easy, joyful life on the Canadian West farms.

Analysis- Symbols

Also used in advertising are symbols.
In this Last Best West poster, the wheat sheaves symbolize prosperity. Wheat was the main crop grown in the prairies, and the golden wheat stacked in piles suggested that riches were easy to come by, with a little farming work.
The baby that the young woman is holding is also a symbol. The baby, healthy and happy, is meant to portray the Canadian West as an excellent place to raise a family. If you settled there, you would be happy and have a large, healthy family, according to the poster.

Analysis- Colour

The element of colour is very important in advertising, and the Canadian government recognized this. They took full advantage of the ideas certain colours would bring across. For example, in the poster previously posted, the letters spelling "Canada West" are large and bright orange. They stand out and grab the eye, so that someone walking by would take notice of the poster.
The sky in the poster is a nice shade of blue, which indicates warm, mild weather- good for growing crops.
The crops themselves are golden. This would make the viewer think of riches.
All of the colours on this poster are bright, so that the viewer would see Canada West as a prosperous, cheery place (as opposed to a frozen wasteland, as it was earlier reputed to be).
This poster makes full use of colour to promote Canada West.

The Canadian West

The government was looking to attract settlers to Canada West during Laurier's time as president. During his era, acquiring more money and more people was important in Canada.
The world depression had just ended and there was a great demand for wheat. In the States, the free homestead period had ended. This increased Canada's appeal to immigrants. It was often hard however, to get people to settle in the hard, barren land of the prairies. Many people who did go there ended up travelling down to the States because of the harsh climate.
The government made posters that advertised Canada West's attributes. Clifford Sifton was in charge of the Immigration Department. They made thousands of posters, pamphlets, newspaper ads, and lectures to encourage immigration. Agents were hired to distribute the posters and pamphlets. A very common slogan was "The Last Best West".  All depictions of snow and ice were banned for the promotional posters, so that the prairies would lose their reputation as a frozen wasteland. Sifton, as a westerner, was very committed to populating the area.
 Government officials were even given a bonus if they convinced someone to settle in Canada West!
The posters were very effective, with their bright colors and promising slogans. But did they always tell the truth? Or did the Canadian government exaggerate?