Recently I was browsing my email when I came across a great example that illustrates the power of framing. In an e-news from YES!, one of my favorite magazines, I was immediately struck by the way they had framed a "point-counterpoint" issue about whether or not we should eat animals. I don't know whether the framing was intentional or not, but as someone who has a strong opinion about the issue of eating animals, it really stood out to me. As you can see in the image above, there are side-by-side teasers for two stories (one an interview, one an essay) about the issue of eating animals. Here are a few things that I observed from what you can see in the image above:
- In the magazine itself (I'm a subscriber) and in the online versions, the two stories take up about the same amount of space. However, in the e-news, the "pro-eating animals" teaser comes first and is given more width space. The "pro-vegan" teaser is squeezed to the side.
- The title of the pro-eating animals article offers a positive feeling (including the word "respect" in the subtitle, for example), while the pro-veg headline lays out an unequivocally negative statement.
- The pro-eating animals teaser includes a professional photo and an image of a two-page spread, while the pro-veg teaser displays an odd, somewhat comical, and perhaps, to some people, even offensive (a nude woman) and distasteful illustration.
- The longer summary of the pro-eating animals story includes appealing words like "healing" and animals as "co-laborers and "dance partners" and ends with a link, all in caps and bold red that includes the word "exclusive." Exclusive is one of those words that's always meant to entice. The pro-veg teaser gives the author of the article two sentences, and the only link is the title itself, which doesn't become apparent until you mouse over it.
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