In terms of the media, an ideology is something that gives an account of society, although often a partial and biased view. In terms of advertising, it is clear that there will be a reflection of “cultural ideologies”. One of the main definitions of advertising is “to draw attention to something” (Dyer). From this definition we can clearly see that whenever there is a reference to society or the public within an advert then there will be a reference to a constructed ideology. The main point of these references will clearly be to aid the manufacturer in selling their product. This confirms the fact that there will be the use of an ideology, as the advert will be constructed to show where the product will fit into “society”.
Advertising is often clearly designed to reflect a certain area of society, for example the advertising campaigns for the Armed Forces or a supermarket chain. These adverts are clearly designed to convey the message to an audience through the use of familiar images. These images, as with the definition of an ideology, are often selective however and are designed to create an image that will attract the public. These images are clearly the “ideologies” linked with advertising. They are showing a selective view of a certain product or area of society in order to make it appealing to a consumer.
Advertising will also play on humans “unsatisfied needs”. According to Maslows “Hierarchy of Needs” people have certain needs that they are motivated to fulfil. These needs can be broken down into several sections that clearly show the manners in which advertising plays on them:These needs are used by advertisers to entice a consumer into buying their product. This also clearly links in with the original definition of an “ideology” as it shows that advertisers are attempting to pinpoint a certain area of their campaign to appeal to certain needs felt by the public, for example cosmetics adverts will be based around improving a persons appearance and therefore their self esteem.
It is clear that advertisers exploit theories such as this in order to increase the appeal of their products. Many adverts are also set and/or based around “real life” situations. This allows the consumer to pace the product into a “real” situation and therefore make a decision based on the products suitability in whatever situation it is used in. Advertising can also have and effect on the public by creating its own “ideologies”. This is done clearly by presenting their advertisements as snapshot of life. It is clear that advertisements do not show a true-life situation however. They will show a blinkered view of society in order to maximise the selling points of their product.
This allows the advertisers to involve their consumers in the campaign, and also allows them to create the feeling that the consumer needs this product in order to have a life like the one presented in the advertisement. This viewpoint is enforced by a quote from the Guardian in January 1995; “In India television has brought the lifestyle of the urban middle class- with its electric kitchen gadgets, motor scooters and fancy furnishings- to villages where women still collect cow dung fuel their cooking fires” This shows clearly that advertisers wish to present their view of society to a public, even though in this case it has very little rooting in fact.
Advertisers will also attempt to tap into society and maintain “a cutting edge”. It is clearly hoped that by presenting whatever is currently fashionable to the public they will therefore be able to tap into the current craze and their product will become more popular as a result. Advertisers chooses mostly however to present us simply as shoppers, although promising to solve all our problems and dilemmas by selling us their newest product.