Building the Body of my Research Paper.

After confirmation of which topic to go for, I was able to select particular quotes I wanted to use after I had initially highlighted which would be suitable. This allowed me to start analysing these points and forming my essay.

The Notions of Truth in Advertising 


Jeff Weiss believes “ads should slap you in the face, then kiss you.” (Weiss 1994 cited in Saunders 1994:15)

  • Advertisement has to grab your attention straight away and appeal to you enough to make you want it.
  • There is a lot more than meets the eye to how advertising captures our mind particularly through the use of photographs.

“Over the course of the 20th century, advertising photography shifted from hand drawn artwork to photography which proved much more suitable for advertising’s mission.” (Fowles, 1996:84)

“they are powerful tools which can both attract attention and give information. They can stop you, and talk to you. Photographs give a tone, a feeling, an attitude.” (Saunders, 1994: 16)

  • However as photography has become more dominant in advertising it has lead to the questioning of truth.
  • Advertising can be manipulated in various ways such as ……. Eg. creating a narrative to make something more desirable.



  • Adverts can be reduced down to two things, the signifier and signified.

“The image is penetrated through and through by the system of meaning, in exactly the same way as man is articulated to the very depths of his being in distinct languages.” (Barthes, 1997:47)

  • Unpack the quote. A photograph is not just a photograph. Every single aspect has a connotation; it is a signified piece of advertising.

“The heard of any advertisement or commercial, however, is the visual imagery redolent with symbolic properties that the advertiser hopes the consumer will find significant.” (Fowles, 1996:84)

  • “Symbolic properties” is key. The signified is what the adverts are really about and the photographer has to capture this so that the advertiser can sell the product. This is why:

“By publicly linking a product with a certain image, the ad makes it possible for users of the product to draw on that link as a means of making a public statement about how they themselves wish to be viewed.” (Messaris, 1997: XX)

  • Link this to the Lynx Excite – Faye advert.
  • ‘Angels will fall’ suggests by wearing the deodorant you can become godly, attract an angelic woman, good girl gone bad. Photographer Cody Burridge. (Cody Burridge)


“Research has shown that photographs with an element of story appeal are far above average in attracting attention.” (Ogilvy, 1998 cited in Saunders 1988: 25). 

  • The photograph and the advertiser has to use signifiers and signifieds to portray a narrative, tell a story to the consumer that makes them want their product or service.

“This shows very clearly what has been seen in all these ads: a selecting of certain elements, things or people from the ordinary world, and then rearranging and altering them in terms of a products myth to create a new world, the world of advertisement.” (Williamson, 1978: 23)

  • It is a myth because none of it is true, this new world they are portraying is not the truth, it is not a real story. However “creating an elaborate yet intimate image that invites the viewer to almost imagine a story rather than just see the objects in the shot.” (Ward, 1990: 6)
  • By doing this we buy into the story?
  • Why do they use narrative?
  • Silvikrin hairspray advert.(Source 2014:8) Story of the war/celebration. Include quotes from JW? (Source 2014:9)

(Williamson, 1978: 47): “Real objects are lifted out of our physical reality and absorbed into a closed system of symbols, a substitute for reality and real emotions. Feelings become bound up with products…” – relate this to the hairspray?

“To set a mood, an illustration must have a certain degree of logic. It should be simple enough to be understandable. And, above all, it should be visually pleasing to encourage the eye to linger. One cannot tell his story if the guest refuses to stay around long enough to listen.” (Reedy, 1973:18)

  • They use narrative to make the photograph, the product, seem real. A story gives the product logic, which makes a consumer interested because we recognise this ‘language’. As JW says, photographs in advertisements speak to us in a language we understand, but the truth is, we can’t really identify with it because it is too good to be true, it is unrealistic. (Williamson, 1978: 14)
  • However, advertisers intend to make us identify with their product, to connect on a personal level, hence why photographs are used.

“One might go as far as to assume that the buyer’s interest is less in response to the product than to the visual experience.” (Salomon, 1982: 13).

  • Do we become more interested in the story than the actual product?
  • Power of photography gone to far?


& EMOTION TO MAKE YOU WANT THE PRODUCT. (1 or 2 pargraphs undecided)

  • As previously discussed by JW that picking various aspects of the real world to create the advertising world…

“the fact that images can reproduce the appearance of reality (or selected aspects of that appearance) also means that they can call forth a variety of preprogramed emotional responses.” (Messaris, 1997: XIII)

  • By targeting our emotions and feelings we become more connected…?

“Advertising is too based on evoking emotions, but not directly, only through a promise of evoking pleasure.” (Williamson, 1978: 30)

  • We buy into the idea of pleasure, which makes us buy the product = profit for the company!
  • Bring in the diet coke advert here – pleasure immediately connected to the idea of a six pack, connotations of a sexy male ect. Jonathan Knowles. (Jonathan Knowles)
  • Not only do we connect emotionally through narrative but we connect on a personal level too.
  • Whilst advertisements are created for many/seen by many every day another ‘technique’ used by advertisements is targeting us as individuals.

“the advertisement must remind you that you are special, and above all, must speak to you through you as a uniquely individual subject.” (Williamson, 1978: 48)

  • Makes us feel like the product is specifically tailored to us, exactly what we want.
  • Again somehow refer to diet coke ad.

(Saunders, 1994: 16): “A good ad leaves you wondering how the advertiser knew so much about you.”

(Rowell, 1997: 167): “The potential customer or consumer must identify this imagery instantly as an object of urgent desire and pleasure, to be possessed. It is the pleasure principle made tangible, immediate, real.”


(Williamson, 1978: 46): “We differentiate ourselves from other people by what we buy.”

(Williamson, 1978: 70): “In buying products with certain ‘images’ we create ourselves, our personality, our qualities, even our past and future.”

Is it right to say we define ourselves through these purposely manipulated adverts which create narrative and provoke emotion when in reality their purpose is to sell a product and create a profit?

Barthes, R. (1997) Image Music Text. London: Fontana Press.

Cody Burridge (n.d.) Advertising/Lynx Axe [online] Available from <; [28th January 2015]

Fowles, J. (1996) Advertising and Popular Culture. California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Knowles, J. (2015) Jonathan Knowles Photography – Advertising Photographer [online] available from <; [27 January 2015]

Messaris, P. (1997). Visual Persuasion. 1st edn. London: Sage Publications.

Reedy, W. (1973). Impact – Photography for Advertising. 1st edn. Rochester, New York: Eastman Kodak Company.

Rowell, M. (1997) Objects of Desire The Modern Still Life. New York: The Museum of Modern Art.

Salomon, A. (1982) Advertising Photography. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

Saunders, D. (1988). Professional Advertising Photography. 1st edn. London: Merehurst Press.

Saunders, D. (1994) The World’s Best Advertising Photography. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd.

Sobieszek, R A. (1988) The Art of Persuasion. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Source (2014) ‘Advertising’. Source The Photographic Review (79).

Ward, D. (1990). Photography for Advertising. 1st edn. London: Macdonald.

Williamson, J. (1978). Decoding Advertisements. 1st edn. London: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd.


~ by victoriasimkissphotography on January 28, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Yasmin Taylor Photography

Making your memories last...

Gemma Rose Jarvis

FInal Year Photography

Katherine Michelle

Coventry University Student Blog

Aaron Sehmar University Blog

A topnotch site


Emma Shea: Currently Studying Photography at Coventry University

Lucy Bartlett Photography

Third year Photography student at Coventry University


Spark your imagination. Capture it.

Metal Mondays

With Charlotte, Mo and Quincy, every Monday from 8pm-10pm


Framing The World Through My Photographs

%d bloggers like this: