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From Naturalisation to Sacralisation: Changing Paradigms for Analysing Visual Advertising
Unformatted Document Text:  12 12 Whatever ads were intended to do, they may also entertain, subvert, annoy; they may provide the occasion for other texts and all sorts of uses. In this book, I start with the pleasure I take in ads, with the sense I have that they can be fun, and I follow this to some of the diverse interpretations that might be possible(Myers 1994: 27) According to Myers, advertisements have changed since the 1960’s and became characterised by the play of formal elements such as phonetic and visual puns, parody, reference to other ads, and the incorporation of elements from other genres. He relates to this to the rise of more and more immaterial products such as banking and Internet services. Advertisements increasingly refer to themselves rather than the product. Their performative function is to draw attention to themselves and create a sense of a world associated with the brand. They do this, he will argue, through play with genres and intertextuality The essence of Myers argument is that advertising plays with the limits of linguistic communication, between it and other texts, other genres and other ads. This creates an active audience who are deeply involved in the process of defining the ad and its context collectively. This process of unravelling the puzzle of the advertisement includes defining its context. Hence Myers’ position remains one which emphasises the freedom of the reader to decode the text but points to the fact that the text produces the context. Myers quotes Patmores 6 discussion of British ads for Silk Cut cigarettes which do not even mention the product or its name, where meaning can only be obtained by contextual knowledge. They rather draw attention to the brand, help create an advertising world for the brand. We can note the importance given to the frame in these texts. How do ads negotiate the frame which is the space which is at the edge of the advertisement, the frontier between text and context?. Fowles(1996) also emphasises the frame but argues that advertising is constantly being defined by its relations with popular culture and that audiences use the texts of popular culture to define themselves as social and gendered subjects. Hence, television commercials are framed within a programming schedule of a series of popular culture television shows. Fowles(1996: 90) sees the textual frame of advertisements as critically important space of negotiation. There is a constant attempt to push the advertisement into the context of the whos or the magazine articles around it. This, he argues is resisted by the consumer. The frame of any advertisement is problematic and contested. .. the advertiser is always pushing against perimeter constraints and the consumer may be pushing back. This can be done, he argues, for example, by an advertisement “bleeding” on the page, or by increasing the volume of the television commercial. For Fowles, the tension between the frame and the non-frame is constantly being negotiated by the reader, by the producers of TV 6 Examples of the silk cut campaigns can be consulted at the following websites. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/crl9502.html , http://www.subliminalworld.com/SILKNTRS.HTM#Buds%20of%20Mayhttp://www2.prestel.co.uk/aul/photomanip/adverts.html

Authors: Doyle, Waddick.
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12
12
Whatever ads were intended to do, they may also entertain, subvert, annoy; they may provide
the occasion for other texts and all sorts of uses. In this book, I start with the pleasure I take
in ads, with the sense I have that they can be fun, and I follow this to some of the diverse
interpretations that might be possible(Myers 1994: 27)
According to Myers, advertisements have changed since the 1960’s and became characterised
by the play of formal elements such as phonetic and visual puns, parody, reference to other
ads, and the incorporation of elements from other genres. He relates to this to the rise of more
and more immaterial products such as banking and Internet services. Advertisements
increasingly refer to themselves rather than the product. Their performative function is to
draw attention to themselves and create a sense of a world associated with the brand. They do
this, he will argue, through play with genres and intertextuality
The essence of Myers argument is that advertising plays with the limits of linguistic
communication, between it and other texts, other genres and other ads. This creates an active
audience who are deeply involved in the process of defining the ad and its context
collectively. This process of unravelling the puzzle of the advertisement includes defining its
context. Hence Myers’ position remains one which emphasises the freedom of the reader to
decode the text but points to the fact that the text produces the context. Myers quotes
Patmores
6
discussion of British ads for Silk Cut cigarettes which do not even mention the
product or its name, where meaning can only be obtained by contextual knowledge. They
rather draw attention to the brand, help create an advertising world for the brand. We can note
the importance given to the frame in these texts. How do ads negotiate the frame which is
the space which is at the edge of the advertisement, the frontier between text and context?.

Fowles(1996) also emphasises the frame but argues that advertising is constantly being
defined by its relations with popular culture and that audiences use the texts of popular culture
to define themselves as social and gendered subjects. Hence, television commercials are
framed within a programming schedule of a series of popular culture television shows.
Fowles(1996: 90) sees the textual frame of advertisements as critically important space of
negotiation. There is a constant attempt to push the advertisement into the context of the
whos or the magazine articles around it. This, he argues is resisted by the consumer.
The frame of any advertisement is problematic and contested. .. the advertiser is always
pushing against perimeter constraints and the consumer may be pushing back.

This can be done, he argues, for example, by an advertisement “bleeding” on the page, or by
increasing the volume of the television commercial. For Fowles, the tension between the
frame and the non-frame is constantly being negotiated by the reader, by the producers of TV
6
Examples of the silk cut campaigns can be consulted at the
following websites.
http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/crl9502.html
,
http://www.subliminalworld.com/SILKNTRS.HTM#Buds%20of%20
May
http://www2.prestel.co.uk/aul/photomanip/adverts.html


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