Every day in our lives, and especially at Christmas we are bombarded by advertisements. Even if we don’t read a paper, watch television or walk around with our eyes closed, we will find it impossible to avoid some form of publicity, whether it might be the latest offer at the local supermarket or some adverts on the television. But we are not aware of the impact advertisement has on the individual. Have you ever experienced the power of public advertisement?
The primary function of advertisement, we know, is to introduce a wide range of consumer goods to the public. But that is clearly not its only role. Advertisers try to manipulate people into buying a way of life as well as goods. Some critics even suggest that it works as myths in primitive societies because it transmits values and beliefs telling people simple stories and explanations which help them to organize their thoughts and experiences and to make sense of the world.
Activit 1: We will analyze one of these Christmas adverts. Answer the following questions:
1. What is being advertised?
2. Where and when can the ad appear?
3. What is the audience?
4. Where is it set in space and time?
5. Who are the participants?
6. What do they do?
7. What key objects are featured?
8. What part is played by words (slogan, lyrics of the song)?
9. Which features are foregrounded and which are backgrounded?
10. What key inferences must the audience make in order to make sense of the ad?
11. What intertextual references can you discern (to other ads, to other genres, to other people etc.)?
12. How else does the ad seek your involvement?
13. What does the product seem to symbolize?
14. What does the ad seem to suggest about gender roles, class/status, age, ethnicity or self-identity?
15. What cultural assumptions and values seem to be involved?
Activity 2: Take a look at the Spanish version of the ad and compare both songs.
Activity 3: Now listen to the English song and sing along.
Activity 4: Go to the following website and choose one of best the Christmas ads and answer the 15 questions above.
Activity 5. Write a comment to this post sharing with us your best Christmas advert. It can be an image or a video.
Don’t be fooled by advertising this Christmas time!