M84MC (2012-13) Lecture Three: Communication as Structure – part 2

This is the second of the two lectures dedicated to analysing  applied communication from a  structural perspective. The lecture considers how the history and practice of advertising can be applied to the analysis of the image constructed by Madonna and Lady Gaga. The lecture also examines the mechanisms of branding and product placement, and its associated moral panics.

Lecture slides: M84MC.03– 17 Oct 2012

Homework – due 24 Oct 2012

Think of your  favourite ad. How do you position yourself vis-à-vis it? Do you like because it is convincing? Do you like it despite what it’s trying to say, or how it’s saying it? How easily persuaded are you?  Post your work as a comment to this blog entry.

Lovely work you all–well done!

It is apparent from the range of your analyses that we all have complex reactions to advertising, which go well beyond the simplistic Pavlovian approach some theorists used to propugnate.


Choi and Rifon.2007.Celebrity Advertising-excerpts

11 thoughts on “M84MC (2012-13) Lecture Three: Communication as Structure – part 2

  1. Pingback: M84MC – Applied Communication (2012-13) | Mafalda Stasi

  2. Francien Broekhuizen

    Reflection Sophie Dahl Advert

    Although the advert is quite old already I have chosen the Opium advert featuring Sophie Dahl. I remember I was about the age of 13 when the advert was launched and I remember I really liked the advert. I thought the advert was beautiful by the way the photo was made and how the colours were used. Besides that I thought the advert had some sort of power in it which I liked very much and I felt the advert had something mysterious. I also read some things about it in some of my magazines, the critiques of those articles were very positive as they saw this advert as emancipating for women and their bodies as they Sophie Dahl was relatively ‘fat’, but still admired because of her body. They saw it as a proof that women in the new millennium were allowed to have some more fat again. I kept the advert and I still have it.
    However I must say that I never bought the Opium perfume and for me the advert is not linked to the project but a beautiful and maybe artistic photo on its own, therefore I don’t think that I was able to link the brand and the product with the advert. On the other side the advert has a clear link with Sophie Dahl who I didn’t know before I saw the advert, but I remember I did some research about her after I had encountered the advert.
    When I read something about the article a few months ago I discovered that there was a lot commotion about the advert in Britain as it would objectify women. When I saw the advert again I understand their comments, but in 2000 I didn’t think anything like that and I didn’t have any problems at all with the advert. In my memory I only remember the colours of the advert and the shape of Sophie’s body as that were the things I paid attention to, for me that was what the advert was about, not about sex or objectification of women.

  3. Tereza Krtickova

    Czech Christmas Kofola Advert: „Prasátko“

    If I think of any favourite ad I always remember the one promoting Czech drink called Kofola. It was released in 2006 before Christmas. It is about small girl and her dady going together in the woods on Christmas day to cut off („steal“) the Christmas tree. In the time they talk, wild-boar appears and they have to quickly run away. It plays with the typical Christmas traditional myth, that if one is fasting during Christmas day, in the evening one will be rewarded with the appearance of the „golden piggy“. Traditionally, it should have brought wealth and good harvest to the family in the upcoming year. In the advert, the girl asks dad, if she has to really wait till the evening to see a piggy. He is convincing her that she really has to. Then she asks if it will have the big hooked teeth. Dad replies again, that if she will fast, the piggy can have even hooked teeth. She sais that she does not have to because she already sees it. And then dad notices that this wild-boar appeared behind his back and they have to run away.
    I remember falling in love with that advert immediately. The girl is very cute and how she innocently talks about that wild-boar she sees in front of her became sort of catch phrase among Czechs. The advert became so popular that it appeared again on TV before Christmas in next years. Whenever I have seen it again , it reminded me that Christmas time is coming soon. It became kind of symbol of Christmas to me and even for the x-time I see it, it makes me smile and feel nice. The advert has great sense of humour and brings the atmosphere of almost idylic Christmas. (no stress, no rush, nothing about bying gifts, etc…) Maybe because it is untypical from most of the persuasive, agressive adverts, that it is why it stands from the crowd. I would feel quite sad, if they will stop showing it.
    As I am writing this, I am just realizing that I can talk about the advert a lot, but actually I barely mention the product it is promoting. Maybe it is because the actual product, the drink is not part of the story in the advert, it appears just at the end when is mentioned the motto of the Kofola company and the logo appears. So, even if I think the advert is very convincing for me with its story, because it changes my feelings and emotions in such a good way, I am not sure if the advert made its part in the promoting the product well. Definitely, it did not convinced me to buy the drink, but it may be done by the reason that I do not like the drink itself. But anyway, I still acknowledge and link this advert with the company Kofola and although I do not like the product and do not buy it, I still love the advert.

  4. Teodora Grigorie

    The ad I chose to analyze was created for the dating website Match.com. The story of the commercial follows the encounter of a young boy and a young girl at a train station. They are sitting on opposite platforms and the boy is trying to get the girl’s attention by playing a ukulele (small Hawaiian guitar) and by singing improvised lyrics. He tries to guess her age, her natural color of hair, her destination and she actually responds to this little game, by starting dancing and laughing.
    In my opinion, the message sent by this ad is that one cannot plan falling in love or the moment when he/she will meet the perfect pair and sometimes it happens when you least expect. Even more, the owners of the Match.com website try to position it in consumers’ mind as a place where nice encounters happen all the time and you can start your love life simply by creating an account.
    I like this video because I find it very funny and very actual. Using two young actors made it more appealing, because I can relate to them. I don’t think it is very convincing because it doesn’t influence me to go and log in on the online platform, but that is because I am not in their target since I am not a single person. Nevertheless, the video has the power to make you desire that kind of story in your life, to find the prince charming in a normal place like the train station. Of course, the commercial has some uncommon elements in it, because, to be honest, if something like that would happen in the real world, some of us would think that that man is crazy or have some serious issues. However, I like this video despite of this aspect, because I consider that it sends a very important message. I cannot be easily persuaded, because I have studied the marketing elements that are used in commercials and I know how important it is to use emotions in one, but I still enjoy watching those that are funny and well done.
    All this being said, I think Match.com really succeeded in getting the public’s attention by telling interesting, funny stories in their commercials and making people truly find themselves in them.

  5. xinlinlee


    “Naobaijin” is an health care product for old people. This AD is famous in China over 15 years. It is showing that an old Cartoon couple with crutch walking slowly. They throw away the crutch when the music sounded and change their clothes to different style ,dancing together. They become younger,flexible and happy. With their action,the ad language speaking by a man, it is not just words, it is a song. Because song is easier than real words to remember.The song is meaning” we don not accept gift this year and accept gift only take Naobaijin.” In the next year before Spring Festival, it is showing a new one. The couple didn’t change, they dress a new clothes and doing the same action, the song change words to ” Send gift with more healthy, also accept gift is Naobaijin”. In next 13 years, the cartoon couple change different dancing style, like Michael Jackson, Traditional Hawaiian dance, Africa Traditional style, Jeans, Ballet, Chinese Traditional style and so on. The song and the words doesn’t change in last 15 years. Every body know the AD and the product.

    It is clearly to show the affect of product. 1. It is for old people. 2. It is a health care product. 3. It as a gift to sale. 4. It is a symble for showing your love to your parents.
    It is very easy to remember, because it just 2 sentences. In China, give parents a present is a traditional action, so everyone will do. The children want bring health and happiness to their parents, so this product is a good choice because every parents know that.The product is a symble of love and regards. It is very successful AD in China. 1.It is conforms to the Chinese traditional 2.Cute cartoon image is kindly and popular 3. The dance has characteristics and attractive 4 Improper health products to sale, into a gift is better 5.Production costs low, cartoon characters is spokesperson. Different cultural symbol is the key to the success of advertising, lovely, healthy image is the old man had hoped. I like the AD because it is simple and as a symble lives in our daily life.

  6. Jennifer

    One of my favorite adverts is a McDonald’s ad from the French campaign “Come as you are” (2010). The advert represents Astérix, Obélix and the entire villager in a McDonald’s restaurant. Like at the end of all the comics, they are in a banquet, eating, drinking and singing. It is a very close village. And of course, if you know this comic you will recognize as usual Assurancetourix (Cacofonix in English) outside bound and gagged.
    When I saw this advert, I jumped in the time. It reminded me my childhood and when I worked as a team member in the restaurant. In France, Astérix and Obélix is a very important comic. Like every kids, I learned French with this comic. I like this advert because it brings me some good memories. Even when I worked in McDonald, I had a lot of fun with my friends (despite some horrible customers).For me, this advert gives two messages:
    – The slogan “come as you are” can be translate by “we do not judge you”
    – The drawing brings the message: “McDonald is THE place to be with your friends for all the occasions”
    For me it was a good advert but I know the advert has been controversy in France. Some peoples were scandalized and disgusted because their “heroes” were used to promote McDonalds. But it is not the first company who use Astérix and Obélix, for examples Nutella (2000), Mars (1996) or Danone (1992). I think, I do not really connect McDonald to the comic. I have my own interpretation. I more focus on Astérix and Obélix comic than the promotion of the restaurant.

  7. Kelebonye Bagai

    I generally got caught up in a children candy advert about “monster pop”. The advert was accompanied by a sweet melody of children singing and holding the candies. Everyday before the news it would be played and it went on like ” I love the flavour, I love the candiness.” The advert actually changed to include a middle aged man. I became curious and went to buy the monster pop. I found out that the outside shell was a sweet and the inside was a chewing gum and it was basically for kids. I honestly did not think before buying it, I was just led buy the song. The other thing that made me buy it was because there was a middle aged man also singing about it.
    I like the advert because it is straight forward and does not make me think very hard as some adverts normally do. It might be because its intended for children but I find it more interesting and a bit innocent because it does not bring any hidden expectations.

  8. Banke Asiwaju

    The advert i analyzed was the big bad wolf story for the guardian. The advert retells the old story of the three little pigs and the wolf in a modern way. How the story would be handled in the world today. The advert was done in a modern British setting. The advert started with a headline on the guardian “Big bad wolf boiled alive” The police surrounded the house of the third pig and then broke the door and windows into the house and went to the kitchen where the wolf was being boiled alive in a pot and then they took the pig into custody.It showed the police gathering forensic evidence from the pig’s house The advert showed how people react and analyse news on the internet. It showed the peoples reaction and opinions on the guardian website comments and social networks like you tube and twitter. It showed how people decoded thee information and formed opinions on who was right and if the wolf deserved it or not etc. It showed fictional arguments on how the wolf couldn’t have blown down the pigs houses because he had asthma and used simulations explaining how it was impossible for a wolf to blow houses down. The advert played out like a real trial and found the pigs guilty of trying to commit insurance fraud for financial motives as they struggled with mortgage and using the wolf to cover their tracks. This caused riots around the world and caused debates. The advert showed different ways that the guardian can be used such as on tablets (ipads, galaxy tab) etc, Smart phones, print and computers. I like the advert because it was a very creative and realistic retelling of an old story. It was very entertaining and shows different ways news can be interpreted and used. As much as i liked the advert, i wasn’t persuaded to go to the website because i already have news websites that work just as well.

  9. Rehema Nakalema

    I had never seen British adverts in my life but when i saw the John Lewis advert, i just fell in love it, Its a love story that just draws you in with this couple leading parallel lives but connected by the love for the same things,they walk down the same street and go to the same places and feel the same effects of those places and things its like they are walking side by side except they are physically decades apart but at one moment,they very nearly touch and it is magical and then they argue and the guy is left standing there hurt and they apologize and they r reunited and they ran off happy. For me, i always get too drawn in i tend to forget it is an advert,especially a John Lewis advert. I never really get the “never knowingly undersold slogan” but i just love it. The song is just perfect it tells the story and captivates you.As it ends,it states,”whats important doesn’t change ,Never knowingly undersold since 1925 ”
    I love the advert but the fact that i tend to forget that its John Lewis or that i don’t really understand the slogan,I really aren’t enthused about checking the store out.

  10. Nnamdie Kierian

    the ad i choose to analysi is that of Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubille. the ad is a british ad with the british settings and was on published on the 31st of May 2012 on a social media platform called You-tube by Appelboompemen. the first time i stumbled on the ad on youtube, series of questions came in to my head and i began to ask myself what message is this ad trying to pass across? Could it be that the Queen is celebrating her 60th birthday? this question was as a result the way the ad was constructed, the different elements that was applied in the ad One of which is the song, the British flag, the coat of arm, dates, the word of felicitation, the different images that represents the Queen in different stages, and the crown.

    what drew my attention to the ad was different ways in which the queen was represented and the back ground music which happened to be the british Anthem, the british flag, the british coat of arm etc. in my own opinion, the song was more like a chant on one hand and an exhortation on the other hand and a prayer in another breath. i would say that all this elements was used to complement the Anthem.i really like the ad because it connotes different meanings but i was neither convince nor persuaded because there was nothng persuasive about it.

  11. Mafalda Stasi Post author

    Lovely work you all–well done!

    It is apparent from the range of your analyses that we all have complex reactions to advertising, which go well beyond the simplistic Pavlovian approach some theorists used to propugnate.


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