Advertising Discourse and “New” Ideologies in Spain

Advertising Discourse and “New” Ideologies in Spain

Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9790-2.ch009
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According to Pollay's metaphor, advertising works like a distorted mirror showing to society a slanted image of the reality. This means that, in spite of this reflected image being predominantly conservative, the advertising should pay attention and incorporate the changes that appear in the sociocultural and political contexts in order to impact on the target audience. In Spain, for example, “new” ideologies like ecologism or feminism have found their echo in advertising, although in most of the occasions as a mere pretext to sell goods. Thus, the purpose of this article is to analyse the background of recent Spanish advertising in consonance with the so-called “new” ideologies to check how the messages represent the changes claimed by society.
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In its attempt to engage and influence its target audience, advertising is obliged to adapt to the predominant symbols and cultural values in such a way that these ultimately reveal “the identity of the target audience, namely its shared ideology” (Douthwaite, 2008, p. 280). This is related to the consumers' cognitive processing, since they will interpret the advertisements based on their subjective experience (Chang, 2013). In this respect, following McCracken, who determines that “Advertising is a conduit through which meaning constantly pours from the culturally constituted world to consumer goods” (1986, pp. 75-76), Hackley (2002) resorts to the panopticon metaphor to evince how advertising agencies should monitor consumer behaviour and tastes in order to accommodate their messages to the public at large.

As Marshall McLuhan stated, even if only a few ads were left on earth, it would still be possible to chart the history of the world perfectly. This amounts to saying that advertising can be understood as a mere mirror that reflects the cultural values of a specific social reality (Pollay, 1986; Clark, 1988); a claim that has served as an argument to counter criticism of its cultural role. However, the problem lies in the fact that advertising neither reflects nor treats the values of a particular culture equally, but enhances some to the detriment of others, appropriating and channelling existing motives and tendencies (Alba de Diego, 1976, p. 90). Thus, advertising—as Clark (1988) would say—even though it does not create a stereotyped vision of reality, it at least accentuates and perpetuates it.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Horizon of Expectations: The presuppositions—dependent on the spatio-temporal context—which a reader has when he/she receives a text.

Ecologism: “New” ideology that considers the non-human natural environment deserving of moral consideration, elevating it as a priority for the socioeconomic and political systems.

“New” Ideologies: Ideologies (e.g., feminism, ecologism, multiculturalism) that, despite finding their roots in the nineteenth century, face the so-called classic ideologies (e.g., anarchism, conservatism, liberalism, socialism).

Distorted Mirror: A Pollay’s metaphor that indicates that advertising shows a biased vision of reality in order to achieve its objectives.

Social Movement: Group of activists who work together for social or political change and whose organizational structure is not necessarily clearly defined.

Femvertising: Marketing trend based on the representation of feminist values and female empowerment in advertising.

Greenwashing: Marketing practice that deceptively promotes products and brands as environmentally responsible.

Panopticon: A prison structure designed by Jeremy Bentham in which the cells were arranged around a central watchtower, which allowed the prisoner to visually control all the imprisoned.

Citizen Journalism: Reporting and dissemination of news by the general public through the internet.

Brand Spain (in Spanish, Marca España): State policy that aims to improve the perception of the country inside and outside of Spanish territory.

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