Why is there advertising?
Contradiction in advertising
oFind ways to explain why we should buy it ex. eco-friendly, no transfat, etc
When and why did ads begin?
oFirst: nationwide campaign for a shoe polish in England 1820s
oSocio-historical factors=advertising part of everyday life
oMust have a mass of consumers that are ready to buy the products and
sustain the system
oMass democratization= nearly everyone can consume.
•Migration and displacement
oLost of direct connection to land, work and trade
oHomogenization of workers: similar tasks
oCrisis of uniqueness, individuality
oCrisis of meaning-- of work and larger picture
oe.g. Factory workers.
oPeople need to be convinced of new meaning of life.
•Post industrial society
oPeople have connections with the environment, people they love etc.
•Ads try to re-connect us
oAds are a way of making things meaningful to us
oWe are no longer connected to the land
oWe no longer know the shopkeepers' names
oBut we recognize Dunstan Hines, Green Giant, brand...
oModern consumers society, based on mass consumption is a natural state of
affairs... It's inevitable
oIt is historically contingent
oBased on inherit values
oAdvertising reflects and influences what we value:
•Abundance of choices
Advertising and the End of the World
oThe advertised life is an emerging mode of being in w/c advertising not only
occupies every last negotiable public terrain, but penetrates the cognitive
process, invading consciousness to such a point that one expects and looks for
advertisez. Learns to lead life as an ad, to think like an advertiser.
Heterosexuality and Homosexuality
•Abercrombie & Fitch, Budweiser
•Starts to advertise in gay magazines
•-largest advertisers are beer companies
•Emphasis on "couples" and gays as "just like us"
•Bud Light's "Be yourself" campaign
In 1990s ads start working playfully with Stereotypes
•The "catch 22" of underrepresented groups seeking representation is that they are
always in the position of representing themselves in their difference from the
•Tends towards resurrection of stereotypes (Will and Grace); the difference is that the
stereotype is now being used for the benefit of the minority group itself rather than
the dominant group.
•e.g. Abercrombie madtv
Gay Ads (not Vague!)
Tobacco and Community -Specific Ads
•Philip Morris decided to target gay readers of Genre magazine in 1992
•Had modest hopes for the campaign but learned that gay people smoked more
•A wall street journal reporter made the ads national news by "outing" the tobacco
How did Gay People Feel about being targeted?
•Two main responses:
oGay leaders "felt the ads meant that barriers are beginning to fall" and that
"we respect you as consumers and want your business"
oOthers said "cigarrettes kill" The gay community already had health concerns
and didn't need the "Malboro man to pull the trigger".
•Black and Hispanic communities began resisting being targeted by tobacco and
•A similarity: gay publications need ad $ to survive, so took on ads from tobacco firms
•Black and hispanic communities in US urban centres also needed income, so took ad
$ from tobacco and alcohol firms.
Targeted Tobacco and Liquor Ads
•The black community
•The onion: gay smoking don't be a fag; atleast he's not a fag campaign
Where are the Lesbians?
•Representations of gay men are 3 times more frequent than representations of
oPay inequity: between sexes, ie. Gay men make more money than lesbians.
Other reasons for the missing lesbians...
•Commercial versatility of gay men as opposed to lesbians, ie. Patiarchy and
misogyny also present in the gay community
•"You cannot sell to gay men using lesbian imagery but you can sell to lesbians using
gay male imagery".
•Women are often coded as heterosexual; they presuppose the male gaze;
objectification of women is in the same style as their objectification within a
•We see female homoeroticism and the "straight man's lesbianism", ie. Two women
together for the benefit of straight male fantasy
•Female homoeroticism or the straight man's lesbianism
Lesbian Gaze Exists
•Common Visual Characteristics:
oWomen are twined. Ie. Look like each other; there is a subtle mirroring effect,
either in dress, looks, pose or all three
oWomen look at each other or at something else entirely, not out at the
(presumed male viewer), thus delimiting the ad's sexualisation or eroticism of
women to other women.
1950s: Daytime TV and ads
•Targeted women/home makers
•Examples: Youtube: hotpoint 1953 commercial, Koolaid, Vintage
Advertisers targeted General Population: The "middleclass"
•1960s-1980 TV ads targeted the newly monied "postwar" family
•US and Canadian economies boomed in the 1950s and 1960s
•People moved into the single-family home, and the "suburbs" were created and
enlarged for various reasons.
•Suburban family= good consumers: e.g. Edward scissorhands movie
•Suburban dream= house, family, car, dog,
Television and Advertising
oProduces 'rating' (% of total TV households watching program)