By Judith Williamson
Judith Williamson doesn't easily criticize ads at the grounds of dishonesty and exploitation, yet examines intimately, via over 100 illustrations, their undoubted popularity and attraction. The overt fiscal functionality of this charm is to make us purchase issues. Its ideological functionality is to contain us as 'individuals' in perpetuating the guidelines which advocate the commercial foundation of our society. If monetary stipulations are those that make ideology beneficial, it truly is ideology which makes these stipulations look useful. to be able to switch society, the vicious circle of 'necessity' and ideas has to be damaged. interpreting ads is an try and forge, in our reputation not just of the photographs and values of advertisements, yet of the 'transparent' kinds and buildings during which they're embodied. It presents a 'set of tools' which we will use to change our personal pereptions of 1 society's subtlest and most complicated different types of propoganda.
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Extra resources for Decoding Advertisements
2 But their commercial impact is arguably disproportionately large in relation to this figure. An advertising practitioner described the standard industry view on this: Basically, if you want to build a brand, posters are the strongest medium. They can be seen everywhere, they’re impactful, they make you look big. People might miss a TV ad, but if they’re driving in [to a city] on the same arterial routes every day, they won’t miss a poster. And you can do it quite cheaply. You can just take six arterial routes and have a poster on each of them and everyone thinks that they’ve seen the biggest brand around.
This loose conceptualisation of spatiality was illustrated in the study time and again. Cities were understood not as fixed arrangements of specific locations but as spaces and times of density − densities of people which could be translated by market research’s classificatory practices into ‘target markets’. The busy urban road, the pedestrian shopping zone, the sides of buildings, buses moving along commuter routes, all figure in the industry’s understandings and mapping techniques but not as cartographically determinate sites in a city.
But the practices I observed suggest something more – an awareness among practitioners that the referentiality of their classifications and calculation to ‘the real world’ is mutable and flexible, and that the commercial energy or vitalism which is performed in these market practices and relationships can be tapped for their benefit. Massey argues that space is ‘a simultaneity of stories-so-far’ (2005: 9), but times and spaces are here folded together with an eye to the future and we also need to understand the product of this folding as a temporal and spatial simultaneity of stories-to-come.
Decoding Advertisements by Judith Williamson