Thursday, May 6, 2010

Royalty in European Advertising

by Caroline Waters

Allianz Fund. Advertisement. Staudinger Franke.

Allegory, consumerism, and metonymy via direct and indirect advertising have become so normalized and unnoticeable that the presence of royalty ideology in modern European advertising is overshadowed by its goal: to sell a product. The ideology behind advertising is the same behind circulated images of royalty; there is an insurmountable gap between royalty or models and a consumer, but the more their images become idealized via metonymy and allegory, the closer a consumer perceives to be in closing that gap, the closer a consumer perceives to having power.

Bvlgari. Advertisement. Vogue Feb 2010: 25-26. Print.

What greater manifestation of Debord’s words is there than the depiction of royalty in modern advertising, be it direct or indirect? It seems as though modern ad creative departments are taunting uneducated mass consumers. Fully aware that “the most modern aspect of the spectacle,” (power) is “also the most archaic,” they glorify the power associated with kingship, a governmental ideology that can be dated back to the African and Asian warrior-priests of the Neolithic period and more firmly established in European history (Debord).

OLT. Advertisement. “Charter.” OLT. 2008. Web. 10 April 2010.

Simply by knowing how much power they have, advertisers are free to do with it as they please. Thus, consumers are left with a question: What happens if absolute power transforms into absolute horror? Or, better yet, what if it already has? The fact that mass consumers have no understanding of an advertiser’s kinglike status nor their own meager role as a silent court, passively adhering to the spectacle’s tenacious production of social hierarchy, is certainly most frightening of all.

The royal stance in Le Look Chemise de Stella McCartney. Editorial. Vogue Feb 2010: 207. Print.

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