Seeing Ourselves: An Analysis Of Ideology And Fantasy In Popular Advertising

2644 words - 11 pages

Seeing Ourselves: An Analysis of Ideology and Fantasy in Popular Advertising

In the arena of advertising in modern Western society, the consumer can become numb from over-saturation. Advertising stretches over all forms of media, with independence that critic Judith Williamson says intentionally reflects our own human reality (Lord, 263). Advertising becomes a natural presence for consumers; it overwhelms us until we stop trying to understand and decode the images and slogans presented to us. In "The Rhetoric of the Image", critic Roland Barthes uses particular advertising images as dissection models to systematically extract the meaning of cultural codes. In her essay "Decoding Advertisements", Judith Williamson discusses the self-reflective advertising system that assigns human values to products to promote the purchasing of these products to satisfy a non-material need. Advertising, in effect, sells us ourselves, or at least what we would like ourselves to be (264). The combined theories of Barthes and Williamson are a solid springboard in discussing two advertisements: one in print and one in the medium of television. The print advertisement is for a men's cologne called "Romance". The magazine ad features a black and white photo of a man holding a woman as she bends backwards, careening almost to the point of falling off of a tire swing. The second ad is a thirty second "spot" depicting three young teenage girls who flirtatiously use their Coca Cola cards to get "free stuff" from a surprised (albeit pleased) male clerk. In both ads, beyond the surface of the initial message there resides a somewhat disturbing subtext of sexism, male dominance, and male fantasy. In order to sell their products, Ralph Lauren and Coca Cola have chosen to use images that are fawning to engrained ideas and desires in our traditionally male-dominated society. If advertising does in fact "sell us ourselves", then it is important to detect and scrutinize the messages that reflect our perceived desires, and not simply accept these messages as "given" and representative of us.

In "The Rhetoric of the Image" Roland Barthes begins his analysis of the advertisement by identifying the linguistic message. The linguistic message has two functions within the ad that Barthes' terms as "anchorage" and "relay" (175). The anchorage function acts as an anchor between the possible signifieds, or meanings, and the meanings the advertisement wishes you to identify. In other words, the anchor helps you choose "the correct level of perception"(175). The "relay system" works in a complimentary relationship between text and image, where text (such as a cartoon speech balloon), explains the image (176). Linguistic meaning has the most significance in the cologne print ad, as the television ad relies almost exclusively on images. One page of the two-page magazine ad is dedicated to an image of the cologne bottle with the words "Ralph Lauren Romance", and in smaller letters,...

Find Another Essay On Seeing Ourselves: An Analysis of Ideology and Fantasy in Popular Advertising

The Internet Changes Things - An Analysis of Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

2294 words - 9 pages The Internet Has Changed ThingsAmusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman presents the effects upon a culture whose primary means of public discourse consist of a power outlet and an electronic screen. Postman illustrates the changes to public discourse brought about by the transition from a typographic medium to an electronic medium in a brilliant fashion. Dr. Postman goes on to predict what these changes can mean for the future of society. He

Feminism: An Ideology and Lifestyle Essay

1758 words - 7 pages up and fight for these rights. Feminism is seeing one-sidedness in a male versus female issue, and acknowledging it. Feminism is never ignoring the important topics but making a conscious effort to address them in hopes of change.What is feminism? To me, feminism is equality between men and women. Feminism has to be a lifestyle as well as an ideology if there is any hope for change. To be a feminist, women must unite with other, presumably, women

Analysis of Dominant Ideology in Various Media Texts

1358 words - 5 pages -order...."; it is through the semiotic analysis in "Dis-order..." where Dominant ideology is illustrated and named. Telotte mentions a view "illogic" (Telotte 167) at work in language; of a "mysterious" connection between signs (language) and meaning. There is an emphasis on the gossamer, and possibly dynamic, relationship between language and meaning. It is my view that this "mysterious" connection is in fact explained through Hegemony. It is

Popular Science Magazine: An Analysis

1451 words - 6 pages Tyler Hunt Tyler Hunt October 11, 2010 English 121 Magazine Analysis Popular Science: An Analysis Popular Science is a magazine that has been in monthly distribution since 1872 (Wikipedia). The purpose of Popular Science magazine is to entertain and inform a general audience with articles (related or pertaining) to scientific and technological discoveries and advancements: especially in green technology. Middle aged men are

Gender Scripts in Advertising: An Analysis of The Home Depot Commercial

983 words - 4 pages The Home Depot is a supplier of home goods and appliances such as refrigerators, grills, and paint. The store often uses visual advertisements to attract customers. In these ads there are portrayals of both men and women, which help to illustrate the gender scripts that are prevalent within society. To analyze these illustrations and come to conclusions in terms of stereotypical gender scripts in commercials, a visual sociology research

The Fluidity of Fantasy and Reality in The Magic Toyshop

2076 words - 9 pages , earless fish in a sea of sedation, where there was no time or memory but only dreams’. Write an essay on Carter’s exploitation of the fluid boundary between reality and fantasy in the novel. The Fluidity of Fantasy and Reality in The Magic Toyshop After Finn explains Philip Flowers’ attempt to corrupt Melanie, she asks herself, “What if Uncle Philip of the iron fists is not my mother’s brother at all?” Here, she questions not only Uncle

Globalization: An Ideology of Western Elitists?

1228 words - 5 pages Globalization, both as an ideology and process, has become the dominant political, economical and cultural force in the 21st century (Steger, 2002, 6). As a social and economic concept, globalization has its roots in neoliberalism which advocates: the primacy of economic growth, free trade to stimulate growth, a free market, individual choice, reduction of government regulation, and global social development based on a western model (Steger

The Shelter in Fantasy: A Structuralist's View of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"

1063 words - 4 pages Ambrose Bierse's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge portrays an execution scene in which Peyton Farquhar, a Confederate, is hanged by Federals in northern Alabama during the Civil War. The story penetrates into the Confederate's mind and reveals his reflection before his death.The story can be interpreted through uncovering the binary oppositions. The major binary opposition dominating throughout the story is reality versus fantasy. Under this

The Shelter in Fantasy: A Structuralist's View of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"

1063 words - 4 pages Ambrose Bierse's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge portrays an execution scene in which Peyton Farquhar, a Confederate, is hanged by Federals in northern Alabama during the Civil War. The story penetrates into the Confederate's mind and reveals his reflection before his death.The story can be interpreted through uncovering the binary oppositions. The major binary opposition dominating throughout the story is reality versus fantasy. Under this

Analysis of the Documentary: Killing Us Softly 4 and the Role of Women in Advertising

596 words - 3 pages and elaborates on the detrimental effects advertisements have on women and how they can affect everyday life. A portion of the segment that confused me was how advertisements attempt to create a relationship between the food and the viewer. An example was a Cheez-It commercial, which instructed the viewer to “put your arm around the one you love” while showing a box of Cheeze-Its. Maybe the purpose is to illustrate women to find comfort in

Political Ideology and Social Problem Analysis

2317 words - 9 pages living below the poverty line, including 13.4 million children” (pg. 2). How is this possible? Where have we gone wrong when so many American Citizens are struggling to survive in this great nation? Government plays a big part in the national deficit, which continues to leave American citizens with an uneasy feeling of helplessness in a dying economy. There are four political ideology groups in the government. Political ideology is a group’s basic

Similar Essays

A Bruised Self Image: An Analysis Of Conflict In John Keats' "On Seeing The Elgin Marbles"

1519 words - 6 pages John Keats' "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles" is a sonnet written upon visiting the British Museum, subsequent to the country's purchase of marble statues that had originally been part of the Parthenon in Athens. The poem contains a web of underlying tensions and conflicts that are evident in both the words and imagery of the poem. However, unlike other sonnets in which conflict is often resolved by the end, this sonnet leaves a lasting feeling of

Popular Film Blaxploitation An Analysis Of Shaft

2013 words - 8 pages of the original movie, but is in fact an update on the original movie. In a review for Entertainment Weekly Samuel L. Jackson is quoted saying, "This could be interesting, or it could be a catastrophe". Both Jackson and Singleton were conscious in not wanting to diss either Richard Roundtree or the original shaft. The simple solution to this dilemma was that Roundtree is back as Shaft, 29 years older, and Samuel L. Jackson was his

Mindfulness And Decision Making: Analysis Of A Popular Press Article Based On An Empirical

1072 words - 5 pages effort has been invested. Though Hafenbrack (2014) accurately portrays the findings of the study, the article puts too much of an emphasis on the conclusions while essential details from the methods are left out, potentially misleading readers. In a multipart experiment, Hafenbrack et al. (2014) devoted Study 1 to establishing a positive correlation between mindfulness meditation and resisting suck cost bias. However, the popular

An Analysis Of Mtv According To Popular Culture Theoriciens Q.D. Leavis And Theodor Adorno.In Other Words, Critisizing Mtv Both In Concervative And Liberal View

1422 words - 6 pages related to an ideology or have an ideological view and they naturally try to spread it. According to Leavis, as elite is interested with high art they have no relation with consumerism. So, as it is obvious that on the basis of the group behind MTV there is consumerism, we can say that MTV is controlled by elites. As a result, in the first level, according to Leavis' critic MTV is a product of popular culture.Additionally, according to Leavis "Art