The Cultural context of Advertising

| November 18, 2015

1. Choosing two advertisements from different epochs could be the 1950s, the 1980s, the 1940s or 1960s; the choice is yours. Whichever you decide, you might find it useful to pick advertisements which evidence a distinct contrast in terms of ideologies, ideas and social attitudes. Here, and using the knowledge of visual language gained from readings, you are looking to consider how these advertisements reflect the cultural context of their times.
2. To address the ideological aspect of the brief you might find it helpful to use any one theory, concept or theme, covered during the course or in your reading. So, the basis of your comparison could have to do with say gender, sexual identity or class. Here, you’re looking to use semiotic tools in order to tease out the meaning of advertisements and how these might form the basis of an ideological comparison. For example, consider how the role of men and women in the household is represented in advertising of the 1950s compared with 2015 – what does such a comparison tell us about shifting ideas of gender identity ?
1. Barthes, R. (1973) ‘Myth today’ in Mythologies, Granada Publishing
2. Barthes, R. (1977) ‘The Rhetoric of the Image’ in Image Music Text, 
Fontana Press.
3. Branston, G & Stafford R (2003) The Media Students Book, 3rd 
edition, Routledge (see chapter 1).
4. Gripsrud, J. (2006) ‘Semiotics: Signs, codes and Cultures’ in 
Analysing Media texts, (eds) Marie Gillespie and Jason Toynbee, 
Open University Pressr
5. Fiske, J (1990) Introduction to communication studies, Routledge 
(London) (See chapters 3-6)
6. Williamson,J.(1978)DecodingAdvertisements(London:Marion 

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