Home Marketing Marketing and American Consumer Culture: A Cultural Studies Analysis
Marketing Something: Advertising Cruise Tourism
Advertisements sanctify, signify, mythologize, and fantasize. They uphold some of the existing economic and political structures and subvert others. Not only does advertising shape American culture; it shapes Americans’ images of themselves.
Katherine Toland Frith, Undressing the Ad: Reading Culture in
For the semiotician, the contradictory nature of the American myth of equality is nowhere written so clearly as in the signs that American advertisers use to manipulate us into buying their wares. “Manipulate” is the word here, not “persuade”; for advertising campaigns are not sources of product information, they are exercises in behavior modification. Appealing to our subconscious emotions rather than to our conscious intellects, advertisements are designed to exploit the discontentment fostered by the American dream, the constant desire for social success and the material rewards that accompany it. America’s consumer economy runs on desire, and advertising stokes the engines by transforming common objects—-from peanut butter to political candidates—into signs of all the things that Americans covet most.
Jack Solomon, The Signs of Our Times: The Secret Meanings of
© The Author(s) 2016
A.A. Berger, Marketing and American Consumer Culture, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-47328-4_9
Abstract This chapter discusses the relationship that exists between marketers and the copywriters and artists (creatives) in advertising agencies. Then, it discusses cruise tourism and advertising for cruises by different cruise lines which cater to different market segments. Each cruise line stresses something different about itself. Next, it offers an example of a “consumer’s journey” by discussing a cruise the author took on the Norwegian Epic and all the steps that were part of that journey. Then it considers reviews ofcruise ships on various Internet sites and suggests they are not reliable. This leads to a discussion of the Norwegian Cruise Line’s new advertising theme based on an interview with the Norwegian’s Chief Marketing Officer, Meg Lee. This chapter concludes with a discussion on behavioral targeting.
Keywords Creatives • Consumer’s journey • Cruises • Cruise reviews • Behavioral targeting
Marketing and advertising, as I explained earlier, are two sides of the same coin. That coin we may call “the sell.” Marketing, as I see things, provides the theoretical foundation for advertising and advertising provides the application of the theory. Marketing is based on research, on collecting data, and obtaining information about target audiences, but without copywriters and artists, the “creatives” who use that information, marketing is sterile. It is, to exaggerate slightly, pure theory. Advertising is practice, based on that theory—and the talents of the “creatives” who make the print advertisements and commercials designed to sell products and services. The boxed insert by Fred Goldberg showed us how marketing and advertising have a “symbiotic” relationships.
In the back of my mind, I wonder how much the “creatives” are influenced by the material they get from the marketers. I wonder whether “creatives” have their own ideas about how to sell something and are not guided, that much, by the information supplied by marketing executives in an advertising agency. It is the “creatives” who make advertising agencies famous, not the marketing departments. So it is the creative directors and the artists and writers who work under their direction who are the key to great advertisements in all media.
From the marketer’s perspective, the iceberg image above shows the tip of the iceberg, which is the advertisement or commercial. Just below that, we find the advertising agency creatives, who are, so marketers believe, people who apply what the marketers have learned about target audiences. Most of the iceberg is devoted to marketers (along with all the people needed to run the agency). I have used two iceberg drawings as metaphors in this book.
There is an uneasy relationship that exists between creatives and marketing departments and other external marketing experts, called in at times to help advertising agencies, just as there is a complicated relationship that exists between the marketing departments in the companies that use advertising agencies and the marketing departments in advertising agencies. There is also the matter of the taste of the executives who run the companies that use advertising agencies (who may not have the most elevated taste or be the best judge of what makes a good advertisement or commercial) and everyone else involved in the business of selling things to people.
Below I show some textual material from Viking Ocean Cruises, which tries to differentiate itself from other ocean cruise lines by suggesting it is for “thinking persons.”
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