Socio-Cultural Appropriation of Sex-Sell Billboard Ads: A Multimodal Study on the Grammar of Sexually Implicit Advertising Text and Images
In the Philippines, “sex-sell” advertisements (ads), particularly the 2011 billboard by Bench featuring the Volcano Philippine Rugby Team, have been controversial. Community leaders view the ads as being offensive to the socio-cultural values of the community in which the ad is distributed. In response, producers of the ads contend that their works are merely creative options within the frames of the law. This paper approaches the arguments by investigating the linguistic functions of sex-sell ads through the grammatical analysis of its visual syntax. Using the framework of multimodal discourse analysis in visual semiotics, the paper demonstrates how grammar in visual language is compatible with the systemic functional language of Halliday (1985) as applied in the visual design theories of Kress (2006) and van Leeuwen (2005). The multimodal approach to the analysis of the linguistic functions of sexually implicit billboard ads seek to demonstrate the social semiotic perspective in the construction of meaning in print ads, how ambiguous visual lexicon can occur, and how a dissonant visual assemblage invites resistant reading. Through this discursive analysis, the paper hopes to promote a critical awareness among the passive interpreters of texts (i.e. general public information consumers) and the institutions (e.g. education, creative industry) that actively participate in the discourse, design, production, and distribution of meaning in advertising texts and images.
Decoding “The New Order”: Audience Interpretations of the 20th Philippine Advertising Congress Television Commercials
This study looks at a series of television commercials that featured the Aetas, a Philippine indigenous group, which promoted the 20th Philippine Advertising Congress (PAC) and its theme “The New Order.” Employing Hall’s encoding/decoding model and Croteau and Hoynes’ model of media and the social world, this study sought to answer the question: Does cultural background play a role in shaping audience interpretations of mediated representations of indigenous peoples and other “othered” racial groups? Focus group discussions with “indigenous” and ‘non-indigenous’ audiences suggest that along with cultural background, political affiliations and personal experiences with indigenous peoples are influential in decoding the representations of Aetas found in the PAC commercials. However, the finding that both audience groups decoded the commercials in a negotiated manner raises significant questions about the systems of knowledge upon which racial discrimination is founded.
Mass media continue to provide important channels for communicating information about personal health. This study aims to describe the knowledge, attitude and behavior of viewers regarding healthy lifestyle; explore whether the portrayals and messages in TV advertisements can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors toward leading a healthy lifestyle; and find out how the viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding healthy lifestyles vary across subgroups by sex, age and socio-economic status. The paper reports on a survey of 200 prime-time viewers in Quezon City and key informant interviews of 36 prime-time viewers in Metro Manila. Results show that viewers are able to acquire information from the health advertisements that are relevant to them. They have a positive attitude towards these health messages and are willing to adopt some of the aspects of healthy lifestyle portrayed, however this does not translate to willingness to buy the product advertised.