The Construction of the Social Roles Attached to Women in TV Commercials Through the Narrative

The Construction of the Social Roles Attached to Women in TV Commercials Through the Narrative

Nilay Tan Çakır, Recep Yılmaz
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9251-9.ch010
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This study is aimed to show how the gender characteristics attributed to women reflect in the advertisement narratives and how these construct through narratives. The first part of the study is presented the concept set related to the subject. In the second part, an analysis by adhering to the conceptual framework is drawn by the literature review. In this section, television commercials, which are first in Turkey, are analyzed despite the upward trend in digital media and advertising investments. In the 2019 Crystal Apple advertising competition, 16 commercial films that received the Crystal Award in the TV and Cinema category were determined as a sample. In the study, the paradigms that form the basis of the qualitative research approach are accepted. In addition to the narrative analysis method, it also supported content analysis. The research results reveal the essential components of the advertising narrative, the roles attributed to women in television advertisements, and how they are constructed through narrative.
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When the components of narrative are examined, it can be seen that “story” and “discourse” are the most crucial concepts which are used define narrative. H. Porter Abbott uses the term “narrative” to refer to the combination of story and discourse and defines these two components of narrative as “Story is an event or sequence of events, and narrative discourse is those events as represented” (2002, p. 16, cited in Herman et al., 2005, p. 469). In order to study the structure of a text or make a structural description, narratologists decompose the components of narrative and attempt to identify their function and relationship. Narratology has a significant place in the literature worldwide. The fundamental approaches to the narrative analysis used in the present work is primarily based on Manfred Jahn’s studies. He is an eminent scholar in the fields of narrative theory, narratology, and narratological film analysis (Jahn, 2015). In addition, the works of David Herman (Herman et al., 2005) and Marie-Laure Ryan (Ryan, 2004), both of whom address the approaches in classical and modern narrative theories together, made big contribution to the present study. As for the works in Turkish literature, we benefited from Bahar Dervişcemaloğlu’s study in which the components of narratology were addressed in detail (Dervişcemaloğlu, 2014), and Nedret Tanyolaç Öztokat’s study (Tanyolaç Öztokat, 2005) was chosen as the reference for narrative analysis.

Several theoreticians including Barthes (1975), Chatman (1990), and Bal (1985) argue that anything that tells a “story” is a narrative, regardless of its genre. Manfred Jahn also held the same opinion with those scholars in his study. He claimed that narrative involves anything that tells or presents a story (Jahn, 2015, pp. 43-48). From this perspective, it can be said that advertisements which present a story may also be considered as a type of narrative. According to Herman et al., it’s the medium which determines whether an advertisement has a narrative structure or not. In this respect, radio and television, which present a story world mimetically, are appropriate media for narration (Herman et al., 2005, pp. 52-53). In Escalas’s study conducted in 1998, content analysis of tv advertisements was performed, and it was found that approximately one fourth of all tv ads at that time were in the form of narrative. To her, advertisements tell stories because stories involve, captive, and entertain consumers. Apart from all these, stories communicate with consumers and persuade them (Escalas, 1998, pp. 267-268). In this consumer age, advertising narratives have a significant role for both advertisers and agencies in terms of persuading consumers. In addition, the scholars conducting interdisciplinary studies in communication sciences argue that advertising narrative is a field of study with a high growth potential. The works of Jennifer Edson Escalas (Escalas,1998), Chingching Chang (Chang, 2012), Rashmi Adaval (Adaval, 1998) and Recep Yılmaz (Yılmaz, 2014) also contributed to the design of this study since they acknowledge advertisements as a form of narrative.

When you simply read/watch a text with a story, it would be difficult for you to ascertain that the text structurally involves a number of elements. However, when considered as a narrative and broken up to its components, a text would provide you with several findings. As an example, let’s have a look at the introductory text for the advertisement of Profilo XXL Refrigerator (Profilo, 2020):

Key Terms in this Chapter

Narrative: Anything that tells or presents a story.

Qualitative Research: In this process, “perspective” is important, and it is accepted that there is no single “correct” or “correct” for events and phenomena.

Narrator: A person who narrates something, mostly a character who tells the events of narrative.

Structuralism: It is a method for the interpretation and analysis of human cognition, behavior, culture, and experience that focuses on the oppositional relationships between elements.

Character: S/he is a narrative person and an element of narrative theory.

Narrative Analysis: The analyzes mainly focused on the “structure” and the “meaning” that exists in that structure.

Social Roles: The role people play as members of a social group.

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