This book argues that advertisements are an ideal site for observing how the logic of the commodity form expresses itself culturally and socially. The aim is to produce a study of visual ideology which will move students to consider the deep ideological structure of ads. Though our media pundits bother endlessly about ads, the fixation on whether ads are deceptive or subliminal diverts us from the real material and ideological impact of ads in modern society. The material impact of ads lies in producing and reproducing a currency of sign values that can be joined to commodities; ideologically the sheer number of ads that we process numbs us into an acceptance of the social logic imposed by the framework of the commodity form. It is here that mystification takes place, it is here that we are encouraged to embrace reified social logic as if it were natural. The author examines how advertisements frame meanings, and how these frames help to organize the ways we see the world. By dissecting and decomposing these frames, advertisements can be made to locate the meaning of hegemony in relation to commodity culture. The book shows how ads commodify meaning.
It also tracks the cultural contradictions of commodifying meaning in consumer advertising and examines ad campaigns which attempt to distance themselves from the rhetoric of the commodity self, pseudo-individuality and commodity fetishism. Original, powerfully argued and full of illuminating examples, this book will fast become a benchmark in the study of advertising culture.