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To What Extent Does Advertising Romanticize Cultural Consumption - Term Paper Example

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The author of the "To What Extent Does Advertising Romanticize Cultural Consumption" paper states that the benefits of critically examining the whole advertising message, not just the surface or sales message, is that it helps to sharpen one's critical sensibilities…
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To What Extent Does Advertising Romanticize Cultural Consumption
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Download file to see previous pages As a society, we are embedded in a culture of consumption. Neil Postman (cited in Kenway & Fitzclarence, 1999, p. 300) notes that by the age of forty the average American will have seen well over one million commercials and have "close to another million to go before his first social security check". “In order to comprehend the impact of all this advertising, on the society we must learn how to see through advertisements, for they are not just messages about goods and services but social and cultural texts about ourselves”. Root (1997) has pointed out:

As long as you are unable to decode the significance of ordinary things, and as long as you take the signs of your culture at face can free yourself from that sign and perhaps find a new way of looking at the world. You will control the signs of your culture rather than having them control you. (p. 18)

In order to understand how to read advertisements critically, we must begin to incorporate "popular culture as a serious object of politics and analysis" (Morley, 1992, p. 48). While all culture is worthy of investigation, popular culture is often devalorized as "sub-literature or para literature" (Eckhouse, 1999, p. 120). However, in critically reading even something as seemingly mundane as an advertisement we can begin to see "the political, social and cultural forms of subordination that create inequities among different groups as they live out their lives" (Giroux cited in Frith & McLuhan, 1997, p. 7). This type of critical pedagogy enables us to view aspects of popular culture within broader social, cultural, and political considerations. In the case of advertising, which has historically been linked to marketing and sales, it allows us to discover the broader social and cultural implications of these seemingly simple messages. 

Now if the product is the mental representation conjured up by the advertisement and supported by the story and the pictures, then the background, which includes users in their various settings, colors, accessories, layout and so on is the signifier. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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