book review 2 - In Chapter 8 of Advertising the American...

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In Chapter 8 of Advertising the American Dream, the author describes some interesting phenomena during 1920s to 1940s about advertisements using similar visual settings and layouts repeatedly and frequently which then all together rendered into what he called as the "visual cliche". From his point of view, these overuses of certain visual elements were due to the illustrations' ability to attract attentions and to arouse desirable emotions without offending the audiences or provoking them into outrage at the advertiser's presumption. Comparing with texts the illustrations could offer advertisers a safer and freer space to convey their ideas. As the author explains at the beginning of this chapter that "the potential superiority of the 'visual statement' became evident in case where the advertiser's message would have sounded exaggerated of presumptuous if put into words." What's more, as the author addresses at the end of this chapter, he finds out that there are large amounts of warnings concerning the verbal superlatives using in the advertisements and vague qualities of the product, whereas critics and worries about the ubiquity iconic visual cliches only cover a little proportion, even though the further influences the visual cliche could bring about might be much larger. In conclusion, the author defined the visual cliches to be one of the most pervasive and least questionable contributions of advertising to the popular fund of images through frequent repetition. In this whole chapter the author lists lots of examples which illustrate his opinion vividly. He splits the chapter generally into 2 parts, the Fantasies and the Icons. In the fantasies part he first uses two typical examples, the office window and the family circle, to illuminate the concept he called "fantasies of domain." The Office Window: Showing Mr. Consumer, always a successful businessman observing an unobstructed view of factories from a unrealistically gigantic window in his office, and always with a telephone at his hands. This setting symbolized prestige and power of the man and expressed a feeling that the man was a "master of all he surveys." Later the view scene transfered into skyscrapers to be modern and to suggest a window on the future. Besides, ads showing women with window were very rare and were often used to reinforce the notion of an exclusive control by male. There are also some other advertising tableaux of these window views which show a scene of conference. The Family Circle:
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2012 for the course ADV 865 taught by Professor Dr.thomashove during the Spring '11 term at Michigan State University.

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book review 2 - In Chapter 8 of Advertising the American...

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