• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Images function on many different levels, both reflecting society and playing an active part in recreating that society - Do representations in advertising reflect the diversity in our multicultural society?

Extracts from this document...


97d77656 Images function on many different levels, both reflecting society and playing an active part in recreating that society. Do representations in advertising reflect the diversity in our multicultural society? An advertisement is more than a label attached to a given product or commodity to highlight its availability in the market place. Its importance is as paramount as the commodity in which it is deeply embedded. Consumers do not simply purchase the product or service out of necessity, but moreover because of the image that is constructed within the advertisement that accompanies the commodity. They are making an ideological transaction- they are buying the image or statement that the product says about its user, procuring not just objects but the ideas and meanings carefully orchestrated by the advertisers. The world depicted by advertisers is more than "ideal", it is portrayed as real and attainable, the only world in which we should live and flourish as a consequence. Individual advertisements actively infer certain meanings and reproduce particular social ideologies which can subsequently reinforce inequality and domination of a preferred culture in society. Judith Williamson argues that advertisements "do not impose their meaning upon us from above but we construct the meaning of an advertisement, at the same time reproducing dominant norms". Williamson continues that readers will "fill in the gaps deliberately left by advertisers, which often have significant class, gender and racial overtones". ...read more.


Advertisers are keen for the audience to infer this preferred meaning and employ black models, who are celebrated for their emotion in music and dancing, to foreground these connotations. Advertisements for financial institutions illuminated difference again between white and ethnic minority participants. Seventeen per cent of all adverts featuring white participants were for financial institutions, compared to only ten per cent for ethnic minorities. It appears banking is a bastion for white representatives, as advertisers for financial institutions are keen to impress a notion of trust, honesty and sound business acumen. These are attributes not commonly associated with stereotypical images of blacks, often painted as untrustworthy, dishonest and linked to income of illigitimate means. It carries overtones of the purity and cleanliness of being white, instilled not only by advertising but throughout the history of art, literature and cinema. The report also found that the immediate location of ethnic participants in advertisements adhered to several stereotypes. "Black Americans" accounted for eleven per cent of all their appearances in a "Menacing" or "Urban" setting, at least seven per cent greater than any other ethnic group. Seventeen per cent of "Asian" appearances were at "Work" , again greater than any other group. These classifications support the recognised stereotype of the streetwise ghetto gangster and the innate work ethic stereotypically associated with black Americans and Asians respectively. The examination of the role played by ethnic minorities and white participants in advertisements extracted comparable differences. ...read more.


Goffman says of advertisements "One can probably make a significant negative statement about them, namely, that as pictures they are not perceived as peculiar and unnatural". Images projected in advertisements are not innocuous. We are repeatedly invited to read the multi-level meanings of advertisements every day. Cultural representations or misrepresentations can further alienation and oppression via the exclusion of people constructed as different or even inferior. Iain Ramsay comments that "discrimination in consumption markets may be fuelled by cultural stereotypes which may in turn be fuelled by advertising stereotypes". Advertisers skewed reflection of society to satisfy its own capitalist agenda is compounded by its notable neglect of the multi-cultural composition of society. It appears only certain facets of minority culture can penetrate the all-pervasive western, white culture. Ultimately, however, those facets must first be refined, distilled and presented virtuous so as to ever enhance the commercial appeal of the commodity. Advertisements highlight the cultural position of society via subliminal meaning. The current array of advertisements would suggest society's position is firmly on white, western culture, with minority cultures fixed on the periphery. The inherent problem surrounding advertising is that it is regulated under a criteria of "taste", "decency" and "the likelihood to cause offence". This reduces the overwhelming expanse of advertising to that of an abstract. Advertisements are reviewed singularly and thus the broader issues of exclusion, the political histories of some social groups and the conceptualisation of ideologies escapes regulatory criticism. It could be argued that it is the laws and regulation on advertising that first must be addressed before the mindsets of advertisers can ever be realigned. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Advertisements section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Advertisements essays

  1. The History of AdvertisingTypes and Functions of AdvertisingAdvertising in mass media.Advertising agencyDomestic advertising

    It is necessary to know what feelings are born in them under the influence of advertising, whether the advertising argument is successful and whether it is made correctly. The third one, how strong is the force of influence. We should admit whether the consumer will run to buy these goods

  2. Gender stereotypes in two adverts and how the US Government publicises its War on ...

    If my grandfather saw the commercial, he would likely say something like, "Those jerks who blew up the buildings got their money from drugs. Don't you do drugs, now." This is exactly the purpose of the commercial, and since elderly voters turn out to the polls in high numbers, the commercial is now becoming a powerful political tool.

  1. New Criticism

    and idiosyncratic (affective) responses (Lush grass should not make the reader think of cows however often he or she has seen cows in lush grass unless the poem clearly directs the reader to associate cows and lush grass). The aesthetic qualities praised by the New Critics were largely inherited from the critical writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

  2. An investigation Into The Different Marketing Language of Holiday Brochures For Different Age Groups.

    When describing the discourse of the brochures it is easy to assume that one will be more sophisticated than the others and may be superior in lexis and pragmatics. I am expecting to find Forever Young the most sophisticated brochure because it is aimed at the more mature audience, the over 50's.

  1. Nigeria's Black Gold and Black Market.

    To cut the long lonely story short I wasn't given any gold, I mean the black sort, because I was not recognised as a retailer, it was too dark for me to be recognised. President Olusegun Obasanjo has not only failed to fuel Nigeria, he has also failed to keep Nigeria lighted.

  2. "The Advertising and Selling Program of the Avon Cosmetics Inc."

    It is considered that radio is an important medium for education and public information and is severely restricted its use for commercial advertising. Radio advertising time is sold in much the same way as is television time, and the same methods of audience measurement are used.

  1. Gender Stereotypes in Advertising.

    Through the ages men have been considered to be financial providers, career-focused, assertive and independent, whereas women have been shown as low-position workers, loving wives and mothers, responsible for raising children and doing housework. Nowadays a family model is based rather on a partnership than on patriarchy and women have more rights and possibilities on the labor market.

  2. This ad, for Cannery Row, shows a picture of three children playing on a ...

    This implies that Cannery Row is a place for rich people to go on vacation. The children on the beach are smiling and appear to be playing a game and getting along well together. This happiness would appear to be brought on by their surrounding ? they love being at the beach and just having time to play.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work