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“Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self-defence to protect themselves from manipulation and control” -Noam Chomsky View “Merchants of Cool” No Logo by Naomi Klein

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“Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self-defence to protect themselves from manipulation and control”-Noam ChomskyView “Merchants of Cool”


No Logo by Naomi Klein

  • 2000 interview
  • Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising by Judith Williamson
  • Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising by Anthony J. Cortese
there are no accidents in advertising
There are no accidents in advertising
  • Advertisers spend an average $20-40 million on an average single campaign.
  • The average adolescent views 10 million advertisements by the time they are adults
  • Teens spent 100 billion dollars in 2000 and urged their parents on to spend another 50 billion
  • Cool hunting kills what it finds. The “mook’ and the “midriff”

The advertising industry is based upon differentiation also known as “branding.” It’s the process of making distinctions among similar products or services.

advertising funds the media
Advertising funds the media
  • Newspapers obtain 75% of their revenue from ads
  • Magazines draw 50% profit from ads
  • Television networks gain 100% of their profit from advertising
advertising as culture industry
Advertising as Culture Industry
  • Nostalgia

“whiteness” as a lost innocence

small towns, family rituals, traditional gender roles and other aspects of “simple life” before civil rights movement and second-wave feminism

Advertiser’s link products to values and the relationship bonds


Advertisers sniff out an audience’s values and emotions, package them, then sell them back.

  • Advertisements serve as a sociological mirror telling us what behaviour is appropriate for group membership.
  • We don’t see marginal or powerless groups in ads because they lack material and social status.
body language visual cues
Body Language/Visual Cues
  • Expression, posture, gesture
  • Sexual difference underscored
  • Women’s breasts and butt cleavage displayed, red, parted lips, blushing all signal sexual arousal and invitation
  • Relative size used to indicate power and authority
  • Body chopping reduces women to objects

Function ranking shows men doing tasks while women are passive

  • Body Clowning contrasts serious men with women in silly gestures with odd limb positioning
  • Subordination is ritualized with women in supine poses, head/eyes downcast. Men are dominant while women are submissive
gender in advertising
Gender in Advertising

Women are provocateur

Men are in control

Men are ageless

Light skinned




Men gain status from wealth and occupation

  • Young
  • Light skinned
  • Seductive
  • Passive
  • Thin
  • Women are the sum of their appearance

Masculinity is depicted as violent and predatory and in turn normalizes such behaviour such as domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.

  • Beer/liquor ads in particular associate their products as a means to subdue women
race in advertising
Race in Advertising
  • Equal presentation occurs in copycat ads where models of African or Latino descent are just darker skinned white folks.
  • Cultural attitudes reflect white privilege
  • Ethnic stereotypes persist: bestial, hyper-sexual, predatory, lazy, dim-wits, child-like
  • Models must conform to generic white standards of beauty

Black athletes used in advertising maintains stereotypes such as primitive or predatory.

  • Ads appropriate the idea that black=cool
  • Klein isolates this trend as “bro-ing”

Emotional transfer describes the process of how an advertisement generates feelings and then attaches them to the product.

  • Pay attention to the colour composition, camera angles, lighting, setting, props.
  • Identify a narrative or story being told in the advertisement. What’s happening among those present or absent in the picture?
  • Products are presented as symbols and as currency to purchase status.

Ads invite us to group membership by using flattery, fear or titillation.

  • How is language presented? Is the style formal, colloquial? Does the add use puns or humour? Is the meaning or message implied or direct from the copy?
at the sentence level simple compound complex
At the sentence level: simple, compound, complex
  • Simple=one independent clause

Women are limited to stereotypical roles in film.

  • Compound=two or more independent clauses

Women have reached social parity with men in terms of education and occupation, yet they are limited to stereotypical roles in film.

  • Complex=one independent clause and at least one subordinate clause

Women are limited to stereotypical roles in film, as Shirley MacLaine famously dubbed the parts “hooker, victim, doormat.”

  • How do we separate a grammatical sentence?
  • The period.
  • Too many short choppy sentences feels repetitive and awkward, so we revise to join them together in subordinate clauses.

The film industry regards the target audience as male. The producers fail to recognize women as ticket buyers. Movies that appeal to women do well at the box office. “The Devil Wears Prada” grossed over 300 million in sales.

  • 4 short sentences combined into one:
  • Despite the success of women-centered films such as “The Devil Wears Prada” which grossed 300 million, the film industry fails to recognize women as a target audience.

Use a semicolon to join two closely related independent clauses or as a “super comma” to separate a list of items when one or more of the items contains punctuation.

  • In the 1970s, a university graduate made 30% more than those with only a high school education; however, in 2007 the wage gap means a man with a bachelor’s degree will make 50% more than a man without the diploma.

As the “super comma,” a semicolon identifies for your reader what exactly belongs in a complex list:

Random House publishers has offices in New York, NewYork, Toronto, Ontario, San Francisco, California, and London, England.

Random House publishers has offices in New York, New York; Toronto, Ontario; San Francisco, California; and London, England.


The colon (:) is used to introduce a word, phrase, sentence, or list. It places emphasis on what follows. The colon signals the reader to stop and take notice.

Public outcry over the exclusion of Elizabeth May in the debates recognized the decision for what it was: A blatant case of sexism.


A comma plus coordinating conjunction signals that one grammatical sentence and the start of another.

  • Coordinating conjunctions: and, but, yet, for, so, or, nor,
  • They are followed with another subject and verb.

In the 1950s religion was viewed as a bulwark against communism, so it soon followed that atheism was a threat to national security.