Types of Focalization in Advertising Narrative

Types of Focalization in Advertising Narrative

Deniz Özer (Ondokuz Mayıs University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9790-2.ch002


In this chapter, the use of the types of focusing in the narrative discourse that direct the perception of the narrative in ads is discussed. In the context of Gerard Genette's focus theory, the study focuses on what are the elements that are prominent in advertisements and which give a perspective to the target audience. The aim of the study is to determine the types of focus used in advertising and the elements that strengthen the advertising narrative. Ads are trying to attract the consumer's attention and are consciously prepared as a form of communication of the contents of the mind that leads to purchase behavior. Therefore, this study to focus on advertising is important to reveal a topic in the advertising literature and to help cover the gap here. The narrative focus in advertising is based on the classification of Genette.
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Narrative is a basic way of construing and making sense of experiences and generally the world. It began to be systematically examined beginning from 1970s, and it extended as a subject examined in many fields of science such as psychology, sociology, philosophy, history, culture, theology, medicine, and education (Dervişcemaloğlu, 2014, pp. 49-50). The narrative theory is also used as an effective analysis in film texts (Deleyto, 1991, p. 162). Narrative is one of the most important elements of texts. Advertising narratives have a more complex structure, namely, they shape through a combination of many visual and auditory elements. Basic function of advertisements is to create difference between similar products and brands. They create linguistic, visual and auditory structuring for such differentiation. In this framework, superlative forms of adverbs are used, and messages are created that eliminate the communication gap between the advertising texts and manufacturers and consumers. Auditory similarities, echoes, repetitions and iterations are used so that advertising texts can be understandable and memorable. Categories of products are the factors that act to determine those elements. For instance, flavor and taste are emphasized for food products, and cleanness and whiteness for cleaning products (Yılmaz, 2004, p. 12).

Genette presented the focalization theory for the analysis of narrative discourse (Çıraklı, 2015, p. 24). Focalization is defined as the selection and classification of narrative information. A story is narrated from a perspective. The ideas presented in that perspective are called focalization. Focalization is an important phenomenon that guides the perception of the narrative, and the voice of the narrator helps us understand what the mode of the narrative is. Attention is drawn to whose eyes an event or an object is conveyed through as well as to whose voice it is narrated in (Çıraklı, 2015, p. 7). Determining the perspective here “determines what elements the narrative will be established on, what will be focused on, and how and in what aspects the narrative will be evaluated. Perspective is important in determining the essence and direction of the text, in ordering the various ideas of the narrative, and in showing who the important person is in the text” (Akyıldız, 2016, p. 96).

In this study, the purpose is to find out the uses of types of focalization in advertisements. In this study, uses of types of focalization in advertising that take place in narrative discourse and that guide perception of narrative are addressed. In the study, the elements that are given prominence and that give a perspective to the target audience in advertisements are examined within the framework of the focalization theory of Gerard Genette. In this context, types of focalization are determined, which are used for the purpose of establishing a strong meaning and narrative in creating texts in advertisements, and the way the types of focalization are used in television advertisements is examined. In the first part of the study, narratology and the theoretical frame in which the theory and types of focalization, which guide the perception of the narrative, are mentioned are explained. In the second part, types of focalization are examined over examples of advertisements. Purpose of the study is to determine what the types of focalization that are used in advertisements and the elements that strengthen the advertising narrative are. An advertisement is a form of communication in which contents are consciously prepared that attempt to draw the attention of the consumer and that lead to the behavior of purchasing. Therefore, this study, done on focalization in advertising, is important in presenting a subject in advertising literature and helping close the gap here. Narrative focalization in advertising is created based on Genette’s classification. The analysis is made based on Genette’s classification of narrative focalization. In the conclusion of the study, functions of the types of focalization in advertising and the way they are used are evaluated.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internal Focalization: Internal focalization is narrating from the perspective of the character or characters in the story.

Types of Focalization: Focalization is the selection, organization and classification of the narrative information. A story is narrated from a perspective. The ideas presented based on the three types of focalization of Gerard Genette are called focalization.

Zero Focalization: In an unfocused narrative or in zero focalization, the narrator has more information than the story characters.

Focalization: Focalization is the selection, organization and classification of the narrative information.

External Focalization: In external focalization, feelings and thoughts of characters are unknown.

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