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From Naturalisation to Sacralisation: Changing Paradigms for Analysing Visual Advertising
Unformatted Document Text:  3 3 away from girl two who is clutching it with all her force. Girl one’s face is full of determination and Girl two with fear of losing the bag. The bag is desirable because someone else wants it. Its value is produced by the demand for it. What” breaks our visual dictionary (for the concept, see section 5) is that they are one and the same girl. This seems to be an illustration of Berger’s famous remark. “ The publicity image steals her love of herself as she is and offers it back to her for the price of the product” (Berger 134) This ad and advertising in general according to Berger creates a feeling of lack in the reader/consumer, a feeling that can be overcome by purchase. Berger’s contribution prefigures the use of Lacan by later scholars (eg. Bignell 1997:68, Williamson 1978:61) pointing out the sense of lack produced by advertising. Lacan argued that a child recognising itself in a mirror is faced with two contradictory notions of itself. This split produces a sense of lack which is constitutive of human experience. To quote Bignell’s oversimplified vision of Lacan applied to women’s magazines .”These images--- represent the better self which every (sic) woman desires to become The desire to become the better self represented by the visual sign is a desire to overcome the lack which all humans experience. “ This theory applies well to the image we have chosen. What distinguishes between the two selves is the bag. It fulfils the lack felt by girl on the right. Perhaps, the girl on the left is the better self who is somehow whole because she has the bag. Williamson (1978:65) would apply Lacan and go much further. “ Ads are set up in your active relationship towards them, the fictional creation of an impossibly unified self: an Ego-Ideal. They show you a symbol of yourself aimed to attract your desire; they suggest that you can become the person in the picture before you. But this merging of an objectified image of yourself is impossible: the desire for it is simply channelling the pre-Symbolic Imaginary Ideal Ego.” It is unclear if Berger had ever read Lacan but he was able to convey a very simple idea about advertising, the idea that it plays on a sense of lack, of dissatisfaction with self that can never be fully changed. Through this process of associating desire and identity with the consumer product, advertising naturalises the desire for consumer products as being inherently human. Berger’s critique of advertising was then be taken up by an increasingly critical left. . Part 2. Judith Williamson and Juxtaposition The most influential figure after Berger was Judith Williamson. She formed part of a movement in the English academy which was based on the reception of French structuralist theory, Althusser, Barthes, Foucault, Lacan and Saussure. The application of this theoretical corpus to popular culture was to give rise to the new discipline of Media and Cultural studies, which is now taught in many English secondary schools and Universities.

Authors: Doyle, Waddick.
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away from girl two who is clutching it with all her force. Girl one’s face is full of
determination and Girl two with fear of losing the bag. The bag is desirable because someone
else wants it. Its value is produced by the demand for it. What” breaks our visual dictionary
(for the concept, see section 5) is that they are one and the same girl. This seems to be an
illustration of Berger’s famous remark.

The publicity image steals her love of herself as she is and offers it back to her for the price
of the product
” (Berger 134)
This ad and advertising in general according to Berger creates a feeling of lack in the
reader/consumer, a feeling that can be overcome by purchase. Berger’s contribution
prefigures the use of Lacan by later scholars (eg. Bignell 1997:68, Williamson 1978:61)
pointing out the sense of lack produced by advertising. Lacan argued that a child recognising
itself in a mirror is faced with two contradictory notions of itself. This split produces a sense
of lack which is constitutive of human experience. To quote Bignell’s oversimplified vision of
Lacan applied to women’s magazines

.”These images--- represent the better self which every (sic) woman desires to become The
desire to become the better self represented by the visual sign is a desire to overcome the lack
which all humans experience
. “
This theory applies well to the image we have chosen. What distinguishes between the two
selves is the bag. It fulfils the lack felt by girl on the right. Perhaps, the girl on the left is the
better self who is somehow whole because she has the bag.
Williamson (1978:65) would apply Lacan and go much further.

“ Ads are set up in your active relationship towards them, the fictional creation of an
impossibly unified self: an Ego-Ideal. They show you a symbol of yourself aimed to attract
your desire; they suggest that you can become the person in the picture before you. But this
merging of an objectified image of yourself is impossible: the desire for it is simply
channelling the pre-Symbolic Imaginary Ideal Ego.”
It is unclear if Berger had ever read Lacan but he was able to convey a very simple idea
about advertising, the idea that it plays on a sense of lack, of dissatisfaction with self that can
never be fully changed. Through this process of associating desire and identity with the
consumer product, advertising naturalises the desire for consumer products as being
inherently human.
Berger’s critique of advertising was then be taken up by an increasingly
critical left.
.
Part 2. Judith Williamson and Juxtaposition

The most influential figure after Berger was Judith Williamson. She formed part of a
movement in the English academy which was based on the reception of French structuralist
theory, Althusser, Barthes, Foucault, Lacan and Saussure. The application of this theoretical
corpus to popular culture was to give rise to the new discipline of Media and Cultural studies,
which is now taught in many English secondary schools and Universities.


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