Reading Ads Socially
Reading Ads Sociallyargues that advertisements are an ideal site for observing how the logic of the commodity form expresses itself culturally and socially. The aim is to produce a study of visual ideology which will move students to consider the deep ideological structure of ads. The fixation on whether ads are deceptive or subliminal diverts us from the real material and ideological impact of ads in modern society. The material impact of ads lies in producing and reproducing a currency of sign values that can be joined to commodities. Ideologically, the number of ads that we process numbs us into an acceptance of the social logic imposed by the framework of the commodity form. It is here that mystification takes place and here that we are encouraged to embrace reified social logic as if it were natural.
Robert Goldman examines how advertisements frame meanings, and how these frames help to organize the ways we see the world. By dissecting these frames, advertisements can be made to locate the meaning of hegemony in relation to commodity culture. The book shows how ads modify meaning. It tracks the cultural contradictions of consumer advertising and examines ad campaigns which attempt to distance themselves from the rhetoric of the commodity self, pseudo-individuality, and commodity fetishism. Original, powerfully argued, and full of illuminating examples, this book will fast become a benchmark in the study of advertising culture.
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