Please write a response in multi-paragraph form (400-500 words total) to the following prompt, making sure to elaborate on the arguments from the readings in your own words (lengthy quotes do not count toward the word count – instead, use your own words). Make sure to answer all the parts of the prompt fully, and to proofread your work before submitting it.
1. In Advertising as Religion, Sut Jhally argues that historically, advertisements emerged from modern consumerist culture and echoed Karl Marx’s notion of commodity fetishism. What is commodity fetishism and how does it relate to advertisement cultures?
2. In “Rhetoric of the Image,” Roland Barthes analyses the Panzani advertisement in his semiotic approach and concludes that in the ad “the literal image is denoted, and the symbolic image is connoted” (37). What is denotation and connotation according to Barthes, and more importantly, how is Barthes’ approach to analysis advertisement differ from Jhally’s.
3. Referring to screenings from this week, give an example that substantiate Jhally’s comparisons between advertisement industries to organized religion.
for the book Mythologies by Barthes, just read pages 58–61 and 107–115 of this book.
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In Advertising as Religion, Sut Jhally discusses commodity fetishism, which is an emergent property of advertisements in a capitalistic society. Commodity fetishism is the removal of the information about who made the product or how they made the product and replacing it with a magical story of how the product will bring you social happiness. Thus, commodity fetishism removes the true social relations that a product carries and replaces it with an imaginary social relation that is designed to convince the consumer to purchase the product. These imaginary social relations often are fantastic and magical and therefore have a stronger allure than the real interactions, convincing more people to purchase the product. Additionally, because the social relation was not real, once the product has been purchased people are not satisfied. This leaves them hungry and ready to purchase more products that promise them happiness. Therefore, this system an effective way to keep a
Denotation is the information that is explicitly displayed, be it image or text. Connotation is the information that we receive from the denoted information, that is a result of some other effectively ubiquitous knowledge that people possess. In the Panzani advertisement, as Barthes claims at the end of the article, the literal image is the denoted information. However, the information that Panzani represents fresh Italian food, is a result of our knowledge that the name “Panzani” is Italian and that being in a bag with other fresh food means it is also fresh. Barthes’ approach to analysis seems to presuppose that we already have the additional information to reach the conclusions of the advertisements are targeting. In contrast, Jhally’s approach believes that advertisements are training our ways of thinking, and defining our knowledge of social interactions.
In the screening, Advertising at the Edge of Apocalypse, Jhally demonstrates how the current form of advertisement is similar to organized religion. In modern advertisements, there is a magical story as to how performing some action, such as buying a product, will result in social happiness. This is effectively the same as what religion promises, except it lacks the central morals that religion attempts to impose. For example, in the Bicardi commercial, it shows you that if you by Bicardi, you will immediately be having the best party of your life. This is similar to being told by religions that is you act morally, you will be sent to heaven.
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MYTHOLOGIES Books by Roland Barthes A Barthes Reader Camera Lucida Critical Essays The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies Elements of Semiology The Empire of Signs The Fashion System The Grain of the Voice Image-Music-Text A Lover’s Discourse Michelet Mythologies New Critical Essays On Racine The Pleasure of the Text The Responsibility of Forms Roland Barthes The Rustle of Language Sade / Fourier / Loyola The Semiotic Challenge S/Z Writing Degree Zero MYTHOLOGIES Roland Barthes Selected and translated from the French by ANNETTE LAVERS THE NOONDAY PRESS – NEW YORK FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX 2 Contents Translated from the French Mythologies (c) 1957 by Editions du Seuil, Paris Translation (c) 1972 by Jonathan Cape Ltd. All rights reserved Library of Congress catalog card number: 75-185427 Of the essays reproduced in this book, “The World of
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