Unfortunately, some of the methods of subversion applied appear demeaning, patronising or even cheesy. Teenage magazines are aimed at selling products through the many advertisements between the articles. Teenagers feel as though they can relate to these magazines because the magazines act as if they are their friends. The magazines consciously promote clothes, music and lifestyles that appeal to teenagers who buy them. The companies writing the magazines want their audiences to feel this so they can be more easily influenced into responding to the adverts they carry.
Drugs the Facts is designed to represent and appeal to a demographic group of eleven to fourteen year olds. It uses bright colours and interesting graphics and images which resemble those drawn by a person of that age. The Score seems to be aimed at an older demographic group, fourteen to eighteen, as its colour scheme is more subdued. It converses about topics in a way many teenagers would. The names of the articles inside are listed on the front, as they are in many teenage magazines.
The generic conventions employed on the front cover of The Score appear analogous to those of a web page, with the small pictures that look like icons or hyperlinks, but there are features of a teenage magazine as well. The overt intention of both leaflets is to inform young people about drug abuse, although both leaflets also contain a covert intention. In The Score, the assumption is that many teenagers aged fourteen to eighteen may have already used drugs, or are using them. The Government takes advantage of this leaflet to educate teenagers on how to cope when a drugs-related situation arises.
The covert intention of Drugs the Facts is to prevent persuasively younger teenagers from experimenting with drugs at all. The consequences of substance abuse for society are phenomenally expensive in terms of both medical care and social cohesion. The Government has a responsibility to prevent the misuse of drugs and to educate the population about the facts and consequences. To reach the widest possible target audience it has subverted the well-known genre of teenage magazines.
The front cover and the contents page of Drugs the Facts are very effective at enticing young teenagers into reading the information presented. Whether it is effective at preventing them from actually taking drugs is dubious. It attracts teenagers by using similar generic conventions to those of a teenage magazine, as it is very busy and lists the things you can find inside. This may be so that the demographic group of eleven to fourteen year olds feel they can relate to it, and continue to read it assuming they will be entertained.
The front cover could persuasively prevent them from taking drugs by subconsciously reminding them of prisons, using images that resemble fingerprints and fonts, such as the one in DRUGS and the DANGERS, that are associated with legal documents. This may frighten them into not taking drugs, reminding them of the terrible consequences drugs can have. In contrast, The Scores layout is much more subtle, in an attempt to appeal to an older, more sophisticated audience. It uses a layout similar to that of a web page.
The institutional belief that all teenagers use the internet has been employed to convey a contemporary style. The layout of the front cover and contents page in The Score is effective as it reminds people subconsciously of a web page. Because the page appears familiar to the teenagers, they feel attracted to it. The contents page of The Score has highlighted key words in the introduction and uses many small pictures. This may be because the HEA has assumed that teenagers have a short attention span, and so by highlighting key words the reader will not get bored and will read the rest of the leaflet.
Hopefully, they will also absorb the information that is highlighted. Drugs the Facts has also used this idea where it has written the names of the drugs on its front cover. The first and last drugs in the list are a different colour to the rest, this may be because it attracts readers to it, and is more interesting, and the reader is likely to then take in the names of the drugs. The language used in Drugs the Facts and The Score is very different, as it is aimed at different age groups.
Drugs the Facts uses very simple language, which may appear belittling to older people. There are many rhetorical questions such as the ones on the inside cover, What are the real facts about drugs? and What harm can they do? These are many questions that the target audience would be asking themselves, and so they feel that the leaflet is their friend, and will believe what it says. The language used in The Score is very different. It uses more complicated language, with complex sentences and much longer words than Drugs the Facts.
The HEA believes that older teenagers will be able to understand the Latin botanical name of the magic mushroom, Psilocybe Semilanceata, and scientific chemical names of other drugs. This use of language makes the teenagers feel that they are not being patronised. The Score does not use inverted commas on words such as trip, because the HEA feels that the demographic group of teenagers aged fourteen to eighteen year olds will understand these words, and use them frequently so they do not need to be highlighted or explained, as Drugs the Facts does.
Drugs the Facts uses much more punctuation than The Score. This may be that the Government feels that older teenagers do not need the information emphasised, as they will take in the information they feel is appropriate to them, whereas younger teenagers need the information to be accentuated in order for them to take any of it in because they have shorter attention spans. In the drug profiles, Drugs the Facts have more slang names for the drugs than The Score.
This may be because it is an institutional belief that older teenagers will already know many of the colloquial terms used for the drugs, or the people reading Drugs the Facts will not be familiar with many of these names, and so need to be educated about such things. The leaflets contain a lot of the same information, yet all of it is presented in very different ways in order to appeal to the target audiences. Both contain information on the first aid recovery position, the laws of drugs, and problems people have about drugs, but all the information is presented in many different ways in order to interest different audiences.
The codes of gesture and expression on the No Problem! page in The Score are very different to the problem page in Drugs the Facts. The models in The Score are all making eye contact with the reader, unlike in Drugs the Facts, where none of the models are. This may be because the government assume that younger teenagers havent experienced many of the situations mentioned, and the positions of the models reflect this by being distant. On the other hand, the models in The Score are looking into the camera, and appear to be making eye contact with the reader.
This makes the models connect with the readers, and as they are old enough to have these types of problems, and so need to feel that they can relate to the models. Both leaflets have tried to represent a wide demographic audience on the problem pages. Each has used one female and one male model, so neither gender feels left out. The Drugs the Facts problem page has left out the ages of the people who have written in, but The Score has left them in. The ages on The Score are all between fourteen and sixteen; this may make older people who have problems about drugs feel embarrassed.
I feel that they have failed to subvert as effectively as they might the problem page convention of a teenage magazine because some readers will not be able to feel comfortable about having problems like these, feeling they are too old to have problems and not share them as intended by the magazine. The Dilemma page in The Score has also failed to subvert effectively the convention of a photo storyboard. The main aim of the leaflet is to warn people about the effects of drugs, so that they will not take them in the future, and the Government will not need to spend money on treatment if it goes wrong.
The story on the dilemma page does not show the demographic group the effect of the drug, and the ending seems like a fairytale, unlikely to happen in reality. The codes of gesture and expression on the characters faces are corny and unrealistic. It is difficult to stereotype teenagers, because their lifestyles change all the time. These presentations of the teenage generation will quickly become out of date, and the sartorial representation expresses the idea that the leaflet is out of date and uncool. Some readers may not take in the information because it is not appealing and doesnt represent their life.