Thursday, 4 March 2010

Lecture notes 25.11.09

Advertising, publicity and the media.

Time square – new york – bombardment of publicity images.

25 million print ads created every year.

Consciously or unconsciously effect us. Mass advertising.

Karl marx 1818-1883 ‘communist manifesto’ 1848. ‘Das capital’ 1867 philosopher and social critic, theorist of social class structure.

Marxists argue we live in a consumer culture.

In commodity culture we construct our identities through the consumer products that inhabit our lives.

This is what stalwart ewan terms the commodity self idea of being an individual and shaping yourself by what you own.

Judith Williamson author of decoding advertisements.

Instead of being identified by what they produce.

Lives will be better by buying things as apposed ot what we do.

Symbolically assosiate a product with an ideal life.

The Stanley range ad – traditional ad, selling itself on its attributes.

Pipe ad – sells itself as a new trend.

How does commodity culture perpetrate false needs?

Aesthetic innovation

Planned obsolescence

Novelty (3 characteristics common to all false needs)

Makes us believe we need things that we don’t.

Products that are designed to breakdown – a trick to keep you spending.

Commodity fetishism

Basically advertising conceals the background history of products. In other words the context in which a product is produced is kept hidden.

Bastardisation of humanity.


Products are given human associations.

Products themselves are perceived as sexy, romantic, cool, sophisticated, fun.

Frankfurt school (set up in 1923)

Herbert marcuse – author of one dimensional man (1964)

Commodity culture manipulates us and makes us think one dimensionally, it stifles us.


Subsidizing the media quality


Positive sides to advertising

It seeks to make people unhappy with existing material possessions.

It potentially manipulates people into buying products that they don’t really want.

It encourages addictive, obsessive and acquisitive behaviour.

It encourages consumers, especially children to want products and brands that they cannot afford causing feelings of inadequacy and envy.

It uses images that encourage us to buy products and brands that have the potential to be unhealthy.

It encourages unnecessary production and consumption therefore depleating the worlds resources.

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