Grandiose Mirrors of the Self: The Narcissistic Narrative in Ads

Grandiose Mirrors of the Self: The Narcissistic Narrative in Ads

Sena Şahin, Recep Yılmaz
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9251-9.ch002
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Advertising narratives mostly use narcissistic discourses while appealing to the self of today's people to provide identification and transfer between the consumer and the brand. The study focuses on advertisements that promise to complete the lack of spiritual structure that the consumer's ego needs and desires based on a narcissistic narrative. The article's main question is how the promise of completion in the advertisement is realized through the egocentric structure in the advertisement narrative and how it is included in the story. Another focal point of the work is how and within which themes the transference between the narcissistic narrative in the advertisement and the consumer affects the consumer and how this interaction will be evaluated from a psychoanalytic point of view. This chapter offers the reader an analytical discussion to open these issues.
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What Is Narcissism?

The origin of the concept of narcissism is based on the myth that the Greek mythological hero Narcissus saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with himself. There are many versions of the myth, but the most common and classic is the one in which the love between Narcissus and Echo is stuck with the impossibility of the idealized self.

Narcissus was an impeccably beautiful young man favored by the nymphs, but he paid no attention to the fairies. A fairy named Echo, who is very fond of him, approaches Narcissus one day and is harshly rejected. Destroyed by his shame and grief after the event, Echo vanishes, leaving only his echoing voice behind. In the face of this demand of the water nymphs, who want Echo's revenge, the Gods decide to punish Narcissus with having unrequited passion: One day, Narcissus, looking at a clear puddle on the mountain, sees his reflection there and thinks he has met a beautiful spirit living in the water. He cannot separate himself from this image that looks at him above the water but does not respond and disappears every time he touches the water to embrace it. He eventually drowns and dies by falling into the water (Gençtan, 2018, p. 257).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Narrative Advertising: A type of advertisement that conveys the message of interest to the consumer about the brand and product through a plot by using narrative elements such as narrative characters, temporality, and spatiality (Yilmaz, 2017).

Narcissistic Identification: The state of a person’s desire for an object that will fulfill a function that is missing in himself that can satisfy him and to reach satisfaction by having it (Hall, 2010).

Primitive Idealization: It is a primitive defense mechanism that can continue from early childhood to adulthood. The individual encodes idealized individuals as if they have superhuman strength and can achieve anything (McWilliams, 2017).

Self-Object Needs: These are the needs that the so-called self-objects must meet to prevent the self-injury of the individual. Kohut's self-object conditions consist of the need for idealization, other-self transference, or twinning, mirroring (Kohut, 2020).

Grandiose Self: The omnipotent and perfect self-image that the narcissistic personality ideally determines through archaic objects and wants to create in himself (Kohut, 2020).

Self-Object: Objects that the person experiences as an extension of himself and invests narcissistically to maintain himself. They are persons or experiences that are called objects because they keep the functionality of the self rather than a real object (Kohut, 2020).

Omnipotence: The primary (primitive) defense mechanism in which a person assumes that his power is unlimited, can do anything, and has absolute control over the world (McWilliams, 2017).

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