Media and the Inner World

Advertising, Disappointment and Desire

Starts: March 12 @ 5:00pm

Address: Room One, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Friday 12th March 2010 5-7pm
Nearest Tube: Hyde Park

A Round Table and Audience Discussion

Advertising has been analysed from a number of perspectives, yet most will agree that its images and messages have been significant in helping to shape experience and identities in every day life. Advertising has always played on the emotions of consumers, yet today, the poignant appeal of ads become evermore explicit as they invite us to explore a wide range of emotions – from the tearfulness of saying goodbye to loved ones at an airport –to the imagined highs of identifying with a community of parents and children dancing around in an apparently utopian rural setting before munching into McDonalds burgers. The themes of therapy are also there in ads that send up the hypnotized patient who lies on the analytic couch, recalling his life through images of past iconic ads. Such themes also coincide with a growing preoccupation with emotion and therapy within popular culture more widely. This therapeutic ‘turn’ is linked perhaps, to anxieties about social and cultural change and also new opportunities for therapeutic self-exploration within the shifting context of late modernity. Feelings of loss, vulnerability and disappointment, which often accompany contemporary cultural experience, may be psychologically defended against or explored creatively through different aspects of mediatised popular culture, and the iconic images and slogans of advertising are significant here. Advertising uses a range of strategies such as nostalgia (Hovis bread), sexuality (Cadburys Flake) escape (British Airways) and narcissism (L’Oréal -‘because I’m worth it’) to assuage disappointment, stir up desire, and shore up a fragile sense of self. The relationships between the growth of therapy culture, identity, emotion and advertising provided the context.

Speakers included:

Helen Powell, Senior Lecturer Culture Industries, Media & Advertising University of East London
Martin Bojam, Managing Partner 360 Education Branding & Marketing Agency
Carol Leader, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy
Chair: Iain MacRury, Associate Dean Humanities and Social Sciences, University of East London

You can view photos in our gallery.

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