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Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising

Introduction

Thesis: In his “Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture” Stuart Ewen expresses an idea that advertising was quite effective at the turn of the twentieth century due to presenting the products as enhancing the self in a social setting. This cannot be agreed with because in those times advertising was more oriented towards creating brands, rather than towards informing the consumers about a particular product; over the years, however, the effectiveness of advertising has changed significantly because at present, the advertising is aimed at improving the design of the products in order to attract more attention to them, as well as raising the consumers’ awareness of themselves (their values and behaviors) and different social issues.

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Discussion

The lifetime of the manufactures’ brand largely depends on the advertizing campaigns and the techniques applied in it. Certainly, most buyers are likely to purchase the product because of the famous brand but because of the product itself1. Getting back to the nineteenth century, advertising industry was initially meant as the ability to set the relations between the mass media channels and the manufactures in order to react properly to the new needs of economy2. In his “Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture”, Stuart Ewen expresses an idea that advertising was quite effective at the turn of the twentieth century due to presenting the products as enhancing the self in a social setting. This cannot be agreed with because in those times advertising was more oriented towards creating brands, rather than towards informing the consumers about a particular product; over the years, however, the effectiveness of advertising has changed significantly because at present, the advertising is aimed at improving the design of the products in order to attract more attention to them, as well as raising the consumers’ awareness of themselves (their values and behaviors) and different social issues.

Ewen’s strong belief is that in the 1920, industry was predominantly focused on the creating the brand conforming to the social environment, which serves as a platform of further industrial processes. In other words, he advocated the theory of consumerism both as the purpose and as the techniques applied in the production sphere. The primary significance of advertising, thus, lied in the creating the unified culture and social setting that would facilitate the further industrial development. Ewen gives an appropriated definition of the brand creation and its functions. It worth saying that if the functions of the brand lies in shaping the culture, than advertising serves as an effective tool monitoring the supply and demand of the customers3.

While analyzing the commercial situation in the beginning of the twentieth century, Ewen’s observation showed that further utilization of design in business acquired a different function. The advertising at this stage was a means of presentation of the political power thus diminishing the importance of cultural and social identity. If the goal of advertising lies in the imposing the new customs and traditions on people, than advertising presented the false scope of advertising thus directing at the self-awareness but not at promoting the product4. Here, it is necessary to mention that such an approach managed to influence the identity but this approach was now perceived as the capitalist method to hold the ideological power thus pursing political goals but not commercial. The reality, hence, was presented though the desire of the capitalism to penetrate into the social setting through proving the information about the product.

Nowadays, advertising underwent considerable changes both ideological and strategic. It is obvious that this business occupies the giant segment of economy in each country. Companies spend the enormous sums of money in order to promote the fruitful relationships with the consumers. In that regard, there have emerged the new principles of product development and design to attract the consumers. First of all, advertising here may affect the prices that directly influence competitiveness of the industries5. Due to the fact that there is a great variety of brands nowadays, it is necessary to focus on the improvement of the product design as the fastest method of the product development6. Nowadays, it is hard to invent the new product so that it is simpler to modernize the appearance and the functions of the product. Good and original design may attract a vast market segment, improve the product performance, and leverage the competitive advantage7.

The improved product design contributes into marketing and the existing products, as well as the new ones. The modernized features of the product will foster the communication between the consumer and the producer and influence the profitability of the businesses. Further, the improved design contributes to the improved company image and its position at the market. This new approach also influences the political and social issue thus affecting the philosophy of life8. Referring to Ewen’s work, it is worth saying that though the methods of advertising completely changed, still the outcomes are still the same.

The commercial business continues to penetrate the social life of people and to adapt them to the current political and cultural situation. Moreover, it influences the consumers’ self-awareness, their personal behavior, and values. It is natural that advertising penetrate our life through the TV ads and the press thus becoming the part of it. While watching and perceiving the advertisement, a consumer shapes his outlook on the product and its quality thus forming his own preferences and self. Arising from this, advertising forced people to subconsciously form certain values that currently stimulate the self.

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Owing to the fact that modern advertising is aimed at shaping the moral values and material preferences, it therefore contributed to the fight with social problems. It is acknowledged that commercial business “seeks to create meanings that will resonate in some way with our sense of social identity and our cultural derived values, aspirations and fantasies”9 Advertising is actively used in our social life, as this business focuses on the personality encounter; it is also frequently applied in the daily communication. Therefore, the product promotion also functions as an effective tool in handling the social setting. The concept of advertising is also connected with cultural setting that frames its main ideas. The comprehension of ads and brands contributes is framed on the bases of social context where social reality and human factor are closely interconnected. Despite the fact that advertising is directed at individual needs, it still maintains the concept of self-identity and highlights the social and cultural constraints each person faces in daily life.

The Ewen’s empirical approach proves that advertising also connected with gender and ethnicity, as the main object and source of manufactures; these aspect are considered the underpinning of this advertising industry10. In general, this field of marketing invaded mostly all spheres of life thus becoming the basis of human behavior and the source of problem decision.

The thorough examination of the issues proves that the modern advertising has changed its goals and ideology in comparison with the goals presented in the beginning of the twentieth century. The previous argument proved that social setting and self were trifle importance for the capitalist industry, as it was directed at mass product that left no choice for people11. Therefore, Ewen’s ideas on the effectiveness of advertising were quite erroneous; the brand creation was not based on social needs and the self. At the present moment, product design expresses the awareness of the manufacturers of actual needs of society.

Bibliography

Ewen, Stuart. Captains and Consciousness. New York: McGrow Hill, 1976.

Cortese, Antony Joseph Paul. Provocateur: images of women and minorities in advertising. US: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004.

Campbel R. McConnel, Stanley L. Brue. Economics: principles, problems, and policies. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2005.

Hackley, Christopher E.. Advertising and promotion: communicating brands. US: SAGE, 2005

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Jones, John Philip and Slater, Jan. What’s in a name?: advertising and the concept of brands US: M.E. Sharpe, 2003.

Leiss ,William, KlineStephen, Jhally Sut. Social communication in advertising: persons, product &images of well-being. London: Routlaedge, 1990.

Levin Mark, Katal Ted. T.. Improving product reliability: strategies and implementation. US: John Willey and Sons, 2003.

Press, Mike and Cooper, Rachel. The design experience: the role of design and designers in the twenty-first century. US: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003.

Shah. Advertising N Promotion US: Tata McGrow-Hill, 2009.

Sinclair, John. Images incorporated: advertising as industry and ideology. London: Routledge, 1987.

Footnotes

  1. John Philip Jones and Jan Slater. What’s in a name?: advertising and the concept of brands (US: M.E. Sharpe, 2003). 3.
  2. William Leiss, Stephen Kline, Sut Jhally. Social communication in advertising: persons, product &images of well-being. (London: Routlaedge, 1990). 160.
  3. Stuart Ewen. Captains and Consciousness. (New York: McGrow Hill, 1976). 53-55.
  4. Ibid., 64
  5. Campbel R. McConnel, Stanley L. Brue. Economics: principles, problems, and policies. (New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2005) 477.
  6. Mark Levin, Ted. T. Katal. Improving product reliability: strategies and implementation. (US: John Willey and Sons, 2003) 10.
  7. Shah. Advertising N Promotion. (US: Tata McGrow-Hill, 2009). 102.
  8. Mike Press, Rachel Cooper. The design experience: the role of design and designers in the twenty-first century. (US: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003). 38.
  9. Christopher E. Hackley. Advertising and promotion: communicating brands. (US: SAGE, 2005). 38.
  10. Antony Joseph Paul Cortese. Provocateur: images of women and minorities in advertising. (US: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004)109.
  11. John Sinclair. Images incorporated: advertising as industry and ideology. (London: Routledge, 1987)1.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 19). Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/design-self-and-society-concept-of-advertising/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 19). Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising. https://studycorgi.com/design-self-and-society-concept-of-advertising/

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"Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising." StudyCorgi, 19 Nov. 2021, studycorgi.com/design-self-and-society-concept-of-advertising/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising." November 19, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/design-self-and-society-concept-of-advertising/.


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StudyCorgi. "Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising." November 19, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/design-self-and-society-concept-of-advertising/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2021. "Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising." November 19, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/design-self-and-society-concept-of-advertising/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Design, Self, and Society: Concept of Advertising'. 19 November.

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