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Advertising and Culture.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2172A/B
Gale Cassidy

Advertising and Culture Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture - 1938 N.W. Ayers changed public attitudes toward diamonds to transform them from a financial investment into a symbol of committed and ever lasting love o Diamond is forever - Institutional structure of the consumer society orients the culture towards the world of commodities o Market place is the major structuring institution of contemporary consumer society (advertising) - Public discourse soon became dominated by the discourse through and about objects o Transmitting information about products, using the available means of textual communication offered by newspapers o Move from being purely text-based to image o Integration of radio and TV commericals - 1920 Development of an image-saturated society, need to sell increasing quantities of nonessential goods in a competitive marketing place using the potentialities offered by printing and color photograph o Saw the progressive integration of people into messages instead of for reason why you should buy the product  Don’t see real people, but we see representation of people who stand for reigning social values such as family structure, status differentiation, and hierarchical authority o People do not properly decode the ever more complex messages  Advertising industry had to educate as well as sell  Written material explained the visual material o The consumer society was literally being taught how to read the commercial messages  Postwar period the education was complete and the function of written text moved away - In contemporary world, our media are dominated by advertising images o Public space has been taken over by information about products, and most of our sporting and cultural events are accompanied by the same of a corporate sponsor - Advertising is ubiquitous – it is the air that we breathe as we live our daily lives Advertising and the Good Life: Image and Reality - Advertising, “a discourse through and about objects” - Advertising talks to us as individuals and addresses us about how we can become happy o In order to understand the system, we need to inquire into the definition of happiness and satisfaction  Social life > material life locus of perceived happiness  Commodities are only weakly related to theses sources of satisfaction  Advertising promotes images of what the audience conceives of as the good life – connected to the product they are selling  Market place cannot directly offer the real thing, but it can offer visions of it connected with the purchase o Advertising doesn’t always mirror how people are acting but how they are dreaming - Advertising is not simple manipulation, but Partipulation: The audience participating in its own manipulation - Recent social thinkers describe the contemporary scene as a jobless economy or as reflect the paradox of affluence o It is not simply a matter of being ricked by the false blandishments of advertising but the institutional structure of a market society that propels definition of satisfaction through the commodity image system o An ensemble of satisfaction and dissatisfactions, Consumer uncertainty and confusion o Image system of the market place reflects our desire and dreams, yet we have only the pleasure of the images to sustain us in our actual experience with goods o Construct their identities through the commodity form\Super natural magical world where anything is possible with the purchase of a product o A mixture of psychological, social and physical roles in its relation with people. o Most basic and fundamental of levels, performing seemingly magical feats of enchantment and transformation, bringing instant happiness. - In short, the advertising image–system constantly propels us toward things as means to satisfaction o Best regard advertising as a propaganda system for commodities – better buy than not to buy o Happiness lies at the end of a purchase The Spread of Image-Based Influence - Four other areas in the contemporary world where the commodity system has its greatest impact o Gender identity  Sex appeal as strategy to get attention and persuade  Domain of gender display of not the way that men and women actually behave but the ways in which we think men and women behave  Distorts our perceptions and offers little that balance out the stress on sexuality  Sex = instant communication  Iconography of the modern culture seems to be obsessed with sexuality o Realm of electoral politics  Social commentary on politics from perspectives that has mostly concerned the manner in which the focus has shifted from discussion of real issues to a focus on symbolism and emotional based imagery  More about feel good or bad than the real issues o Implicated by the changes in way that toys are marketed  Kids play is now structured around marketing considerations.  Children’s imagination play has become the target of marketing strategy, define the limits of children’s imaginations  Less an exploration and solidification of personal experiences and developing conceptual schema than a rearticulating of the fantasy world provided by market designers  Parents find it hard to play with children because they do not share the marketing fantasy of toys  Boys and girls experience difficulty playing together as well o Colonized areas of life that were previously largely defined by auditory perception and experiences  The real of listening becomes subordinated to the realm of seeing, to the influence of commercial images  Listen to the music than watching the music videos Speed of Fragmentation: Toward a Twenty-First-Century Consciousness - The commodity information system has two basic characteristics: o Reliance on visual
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