A Film Analysis Related to Globalization and Capitalist Consumer Culture and Its Reflections on Advertising Industry

A Film Analysis Related to Globalization and Capitalist Consumer Culture and Its Reflections on Advertising Industry

Ozlen Ozgen (Atilim University, Turkey) and Kamile Elmasoglu (Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8491-9.ch013


In this chapter, the changes in consumer culture and advertising industry are analyzed within the frame of globalization and capitalism through a French film 99 Francs, released in 2007. In the first section of this study the headlines of globalization and capitalist network, the effect of globalization on the consumer, advertisement and advertising industry, and the functions of advertising agencies as the head actors in advertising industry are dealt with. In the second phase of the study, the French film called 99 Francs is semiologically analyzed. Within this context, firstly general information and formal expression of the film; secondly, inspired by Barthes' semiological approach, an analysis on “denotation and connotation” is addressed. Human, object, and setting images in the film are handled in accordance with the progress in the field of consumer culture and advertisement in the globalization period. Consequently, the advertisement industry has an effective long-term role on providing a circulation of mass consumers.
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Throughout the world, nearly within half a century, massive changes in several fields have been witnessed. Due to these changes - particularly in economics and then in other important fields like society, politics, culture, technology and communication - many developed and developing societies have correlatively been affected and started to affect one another. In this process, based on the idea that private enterprise is effective on the economy and that the state and economic affairs should be separated, “neo-liberal” policies have become functional. Capitalism as a socio-economic system developed with globalisation and facilitating expansion of “neo-liberal” policies has boosted competition, entrepreneurialism, materialism and especially profit in the market. Reisman (1998: 27) emphasises that the basis of institutions which are operating in a rational cultural environment and adopting a capitalist philosophy is mainly liberalism and economic interests. In order to lengthen their lifetime and flexibility, institutions are taking advantage of various opportunities that nature and affected from the values expanded by the institutions, individuals ensure sustainability and stability for the system by fulfilling the main act, consumption that makes the basic fuel of capitalist ideology. At this point, Uztug (2008: 94) states that in description of the needs that direct the consumer preferences, socialisation processes and mass culture play an effective role. The modern individual in the consumer’s role reforms their preferences and decisions not only according to consumption practices but also to a consumption phenomenon which has expanded all over the life. Because consumption phenomenon is a big part of the society. Furthermore, affected from materialist consumption and historical conditions, consumer culture centres the goods/commodities by continually supporting advertising activities of the institutions, as Hokkanen states (2014: 11-12). Considering the context of competition, advertising activities - which enhance consumer culture - are important. Thanks to the advancing advertising industry; advertisements, which have an important role in the expansion of capitalism, succeed convincing the consumer to go in whatever direction they wish.

From here on, in this study, the changes in consumer culture - the basis of capitalist ideology in globalisation age - and in the area of advertising which is considered an effective means of this culture are analysed through the French film “99 Francs”. Within the scope of this subject; firstly, globalisation and capitalist network and the role of these two on consumer culture are addressed. And then, functions of advertisement, advertising industry and - as a leading actor in globalisation age - advertising agencies are handled. In the second part of the study; firstly, in line with the semiological analysis of general information and formal expression of the film; secondly, inspired by Roland Barthes’ semiological approach - who is co-founder of semiotics - an analysis on “denotation and connotation” are being addressed. In the semiological approach of Barthes (2012: 84-85), denotation is the first system, and connotation is the second. The connotation system is the system where the expression system is formed by the signification system. Connotation refers to the content system of denotation or to the indicated. Content system is a system or an indicator system formed by signification system. As Ceken and Arslan state (2016: 508); denotation refers to expression system or to the indicator; connotation refers to content system or to the indicated. What a indication represents is denotation and how it represents is connotation. Barthes (2012: 85) remarks that connotation indicators are out of the indications (combination of indicators and the indicated) of denotation system. If there is only one connotation indicated of the connoting, several denotation indications bring only one connoting together. Briefly, in line with the semiological analysis of the film; humans object and setting images are brought together under the titles of denotation and connotation that appear in Barthes’ semiological approach. Thus, by through the indications in the film, hypotheses are made over what kind of values, ideas and opinions about consumer culture, advertisement, advertising industry, and advertising agencies in globalisation period.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Capitalism: Capitalism is the social system bases on the private ownership and financial interest and the economic system gives people the right to freedom. Capitalism is built on various basic principles such as “private property,” “personal interest,” “competition,” “market mechanism,” and “limited role” of government.

Consumer Culture: Consumer culture is a form of social activity that brings economy and culture together. Consumer culture aims to create a collective meaning to the consumer’s environment and to guide their experiences and to produce images, texts, and objects.

Advertising Industry: Advertising industry is the most important economic sector in the global capitalist system. Advertising industry has a significant place in meaning production processes which defines advertising as an activity of economic and social.

Advertising Agency: Advertising agency is defined as a “company/firm” specializing in the creation, production, the marketing and media services. Advertising agency consists of a professional team which work in various fields such as advertising agencies, communication strategies, art history, design, advertising activities, and marketing.

Semiology: Semiology is a science that consists of the basic indicator system like sign, picture and word etc. The fundamentals of semiotics have been provided by scientists such as the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and the French philosopher Roland Barthes.

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