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Advertising: An introduction to Theory


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Advertising: An introduction to Theory

  1. 1. By K McCabe 2012
  2. 2. Mid-15c: ’written statement calling attention to something, a public notice’ of anything, but often of a sale); Fr. avertissement, from stem of avertir. Meaning ‘public notice (usually paid)’ Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper Advertising exists in a public space and wants our attention.
  3. 3. Advertising works in a number of ways: • Through Broadcast, Print and EMedia platforms • Though endorsements made by real consumers, by acting ‘real’ consumers, by expert opinion, by celebrity. • Through lines of appeal to persuade, such as the appeal of nostalgia, of nurture, of luxurious lifestyles etc. • Through persuasive rhetoric such as slogans, repetition, emotive language, imperatives etc. • Through brand identification and awareness.
  4. 4. • Viral advertising • Sponsorship of sports, programmes, events • Product placement • On toilet doors • Within computer games • Through email • On social networking • On entertainment ‘news’ • On vehicles The brands we wear, the brands celebrities wear is all part of promotion. We are all walking advertisements
  5. 5. You do not only buy an object... buy social respect, discrimination, health, beauty, success and the power to control your environment. Williams *Material possession alone is not enough for us, we need to be gratified in other ways
  6. 6. ‘Capitalism feeds people with the product of a culture industry to keep them passively satisfied and politically apathetic’ Adorno John Berger states that ‘the purpose of publicity is to make the spectator marginally dissatisfied with his/her present way of life…It suggests that if he/she buys what [the media text] is offering , life will become better…if you buy this you will become desirable.’ Advertising makes the viewer feel anxiety which can only be overcome by consuming products.
  7. 7. ‘Advertising has become involved with the teaching of social and personal values’ Williams Advertising is a ‘social phenomenon and has social effects’
  8. 8. Williams states that Advertising has become ‘...the official Art of modern Capitalist society...It is what ‘we’ put up in ‘our’ streets.’ However, David Foster Wallace makes ‘a useful distinction between art and advertising’. He states that ‘art is a gift given to the audience by the artist... An ad is trying to get something out of the audience: a purchase, a change of opinion, a new behaviour... An artist may be trying very hard to seduce or convince the audience. An ad can be made in a generous spirit. But art that resembles advertising tends to be annoying, and advertising that's too artsy can be ineffective if it draws too much attention to itself and not enough to the product it's selling.’
  9. 9. Leiss et al state: ‘ advertising... continues to agitate – feminists, civil rights activists etc...yet after more than a century of modern advertising there is still little understanding how, within a free democratic society, we may define reasonable limits for advertising...’ ‘regulating advertising is incompatible with the free market’ ‘part of the problem is advertising appears to defend consumer choice’
  10. 10. According to Leiss et al the problem of Representations lies ‘not so much in the relation advertising bears to reality as in the reason advertising uses condensed codes’. ‘..Time restrictions, segmented audiences’ mean that advertisers use generalised representations of social groupings’ but that ‘advertisers are no more sexist or racist than people in other areas’. They go on to claim that advertising reinforces ‘a biased and predominantly male view of life, and male fantasies in it’s representation of women and more generally of giving ** Perkins view that priority to white, middle-class standards’ Stereotypes are complex rather than simple .
  11. 11. The ‘visibility’ of Advertising and the issues it ‘reflects’ means that advertising itself has become the social issue. Leiss et al discuss an ‘unfair burden of blame’ on the advertising industry.
  12. 12. Leiss et al state that: Advertisers claim that the ‘erotic...images of women... are similar to those in Art or Fashion Photography and do not violate standards’
  13. 13. The Audience or Consumer pay for the Advertising. The Advertising pays for the Media. Advertising upholds values of choice and freedom by making the widest range of products known to the consumer. However, the Audience or Consumer is: • not able to select the advertising they are exposed to, • they cannot choose the representations shown to them • they cannot filter out misleading information contained in advertisements.
  14. 14. Leiss et al state that ‘Audiences are the commodity and Advertisers are the shoppers’ and that some audiences are more valuable than others. ‘The media work ‘to serve the needs of the advertisers who wish to create and gain access to particular kinds of audiences’. ‘The light entertainment bias... is based on competition for audiences’.
  15. 15. • Advertising is not just about ‘selling’ • Those who create advertising are the few, the minority with access to the Mass Media • As Social Communication in a public space it has a impact and influence on culture and society. • The industry is problematic because of confusion over it’s role and limits within a capitalist, consumer society.
  16. 16. ‘Advertising: the Magic System’ by Raymond Williams ‘Social Communication in Advertising’ by W.Leiss, S. Kline, S. Jhally and J.Botterill. ‘The Promotional Condition of Contemporary Culture’ by A. Wernick