Orientalist Approaches in Advertising: Sample Advertising With Nike's “What Will They Say About You?” Slogan

Orientalist Approaches in Advertising: Sample Advertising With Nike's “What Will They Say About You?” Slogan

Simge Kırteke
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7180-4.ch055
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Brands offer indicators to audiences through advertisements in many topics such as political, ideological, economic, and cultural. In particular, while creating their advertisements, international brands make use of the indicators that assume the cultural and demographic structure of the geographic location they are published in and carry out advertising campaigns under the influence of Orientalism. With these advertisements, it is presented how the West shows the East with an Orientalist perspective to the audiences that the advertisement reaches both in the geographical location where it is published and in the international geography. Within the scope of this study, the Nike brand, which emerged in Western societies and became a big name in the international arena, the advertising campaign with the slogan “What will they say about you?” and the SHE (Saudi Heroines Empowering a Nation) advertisement were examined and compared with the method of semiotic analysis, and their relationships with Orientalism were explained.
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Brands aim to establish an emotional bond with the brand by influencing the consumers with different experiences and methods with the advertising campaigns they create. When looking at today’s ads, instead of product benefit or price information, it is seen sub-texts created by the brand through indicators. For example; in the advertising campaign of a cosmetic brand, texts and indicators emphasizing women’s freedom are conveyed to the consumer and in this way, the opinions of the brand are more prominent than the product. Brands use this strategy with many topics such as politics, gender inequality, freedom and culture. From time to time, topics that are on the agenda in society are used in advertising campaigns.

The East-West distinction is an issue that shows its existence in every field from past to present. This subject, which was frewuently encountered in works of art in the past, has become an academic fields of study in time and has been used in various fields. The name of this distinction used in academic research is orientalism. The basis of these studies is that the West evaluates the East from a single perspective. It is seen that also the subject of orientalism has been the subject of many fields from past to present. One of these areas is advertising. Thanks to mass media, which is one of the best ways to reach individuals and masses, brands are also preparing communication methods in accordance with their target audiences. With the changing and developing world, the limitations of the language used in advertisements are also decreasing. They can easily convey the messages that individuals or masses want to convey to the subconscious through indicators.

Nowadays, brands create advertising campaigns by creating product-subject integrity even on issues that are not related to their products. World-renowned brands can be more powerful in preparing advertising campaigns on issues affecting societies. In other words, after proving themselves to a certain target audience, they can convey the brand message to the target audience with more bold methods. With the language, image and sound elements they use, they can touch on very deep issues that concern societies even through “a shoe”. The advertisement film of the Nike brand, which has been examined in this section, is an example of the efforts to influence the consumer with product-subject integrity. The focus of this commercial is a discourse that criticizes the point of view of society instead of the product, and the subject of orientalism is mentioned in the subtext of this focus. In this episode, Nike brand’s “what will they say about you?” the advertisements with the slogan was examined with semiotic analysis and what was said in the subtext of this advertisement was explained. And examples showing that there are thoughts reflecting the opposite of this advertisement in eastern countries.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Orientalism in Advertising: Prepared with an orientalist point of view and presented to people through mass media.

Orientalism: It is the field of study where the west defines the east from its own perspective.

Occidentalism: It is the field of study where the east defines the west from its own perpective.

BRAND: The brand includes any signs such as words, figures, letters, numbers, the shape of the goods or their packaging, which can be displayed by drawing or expressed similarly, broadcast by print and reproduced, provided that it enables the goods or services of one business to be distinguished from the goods or services of another business.

Nike: It is a sporswear brand.

Advertising: It is the delivery of a brand, product, or service to the target audience via mass media.

Otherize: View or treat (a person or group of people) as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself.

Self-Orientalism: It is self-orientation of a society or an individual.

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