By: Sungguk Bae
Do you know how many ads we are exposed to daily? According to Consumer Reports, the average American is exposed to 247 commercials each day. We have accepted commercials both in conscious and unconscious ways. Why is it hard to live somewhere without advertisement? Commercials imply strong a purpose to express their images or distorted images. Both images are making the purpose of getting attention from people. It poses an ideological problem in our society. Storey said that commercials are widely favored and well liked by many people. It closely affects our individual life-style. We will figure out how commercials can bring ideological trouble in society and how advertisements become a part of popular culture.
In Storey’s book, an ideology is regulated that is a certain masking, distortion, or concealment. It’s absolutely true. I think everyone would have heard the Nike’s slogan “Just do it” at least once during the 1990’s. It was Nike’s typical catchword but it was not the typical advertising representation. They tried to pass an unspecified image to people rather than just advertise the product. It is a purpose to make customer’s own interpretation. In 1991, Nike made a meaningful and speechless commercial for the 25th Super Bowl. It shows people who practice ice hockey, soccer, gymnastic, baseball, football, boxing, golf, basketball and more sports activities. We aren’t sure they are wearing Nike or not until the end of the scene. They practice without speaking. Finally, at the end of the scenes, the advertisement gently reveals the Nike’s logo.What does that mean? People naturally have a question about the commercial. That is a first step of company’s purpose. And then people have their own interpretation. This is a second step. Lastly, people begin to share the interpretations what they think. This is the last goal. People start to think the sports wear company doesn’t sell only shoes, balls, tools, but it also boosts sports spirit and mind. Therefore, this commercial’s masking, distortion, and concealment appeal very well to us.
Commercials can be a strong weapon to promote new cultural flows. It means new popular culture can be made by advertisement. In the Storey’s book, popular culture is defined as mass-produced commercial culture. In 1990, Adidas begins to combine sports and culture. The Adidas company tried to mix many different cultural sources into one specific topic. Adidas opened a fresh event for street basketball players; 3 on 3. It was not a typical basketball game. The Street wall was filled with colorful graffiti, people ride the hip-hop rhythm when they dribbling, they wear big jersey and pants down to the butt, and players play creatively on the court. Those things are the means of representing street basketball. Now, a term of hoops is not the simple basketball. It’s colorful, artistic, creative basketball. How do they make this complicated mixture of culture? They think the culture originates from the people. They just gather the people and make new trend. 3 on 3 street basketball, of course, had a huge success from this promotion. Although the popular culture could be from ordinary people’s life, it is picked randomly by big companies by theirs purpose.
In “Practices of Looking”, it says ‘We are surrounded by images that play with representation, unmasking our initial assumptions and inviting us to experience layers of meanings beyond the obvious or the apparent real or true meaning.’ Paradoxically, I think we need to pay more attention to commercials. We should check their purpose in the commercials so that we make our own culture. We don’t have to be the easy movable customers who tend to buy the stuff from cool commercials.