Sunday, December 12, 2010

Images of the Contemporary Nuclear Family in French Tourism Advertising by Krista Tietjen

French travel brochures are the medium through which travel companies advertise various destinations and activities. Beneath the surface images of these advertisements it is important to take note of what the aesthetics of a travel brochure are suggesting about family values. There are three separate travel brochures that are appropriate to examine in relation to the image of the French nuclear family. Each of these brochures was recommended from a travel agency on Rue de l'Opera in Paris, France after a specific request for a "family vacation" brochure. The first brochure comes from Aquitaine and is mostly sports and family activity based. Its advertising approach is both verbal and photographic.

The second is a large booklet-style brochure from LOOK Voyage that advertises summer month and tropical destinations. Its advertising approach is similarly verbal and photographic.

The final brochure is from Odalys Vacances and caters to ski resorts and winter month activities, and really only has photographic advertising.

Looking at the images presented in each of the brochures, it is clear that these travel agencies aim to reach what is defined as the contemporary nuclear family. This family is further defined through the images of these brochures, and comes to be specified as Caucasian, middle to upper class, with both parental figures present. There are no images of any type of family that does not fit the traditional family stereotype. There are also no images representing families of different ethnic groups. Instead of reaching out to different races and ethnicities, in order to relate to a wider pool of customers, these brochures do not exit the realm of the image of the white family. This could suggest that the images presented in the brochures represent the types of families that are most devoted to the development of domestic unity, although this may not be the intention of their advertisements. Although every employed citizen in France is guaranteed a vacation, it is interesting to note how the tourism industry shapes the ideas of where the best destination for a family vacation is, who should be going, and what they should be doing.

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