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Beliefs and traditions change as people exist. Certain cultural values are always alive, even if they change over time. Even if the society changes with the developing technology, the effect of myths and cultural values will always continue. (Strauss, 1996, 21)
Spiritual values, myths and beliefs were used as cultural elements in print advertisements and communication was established with people in order to offer and persuade people.
Myth is a story that allows a culture to explain or understand some aspects of reality or nature. Primitive myths are about life and death, man and gods, good and evil. For Barthes, myth is the cultural way of thinking about, conceptualizing, or understanding something. Barthes thinks of the myth as a chain of concepts related to each other. Barthes argues that the main function of myth is to naturalize history. The meanings spread by myths carry history with them.
The aim of this study is using semiological method of Roland Barthes to analyze the mythological figures in ads, to comprehend the relationships of the indicators in that sign system and to try to classify the areas of use in social life. In this context, not only visual indicators but also natural languages that enable human societies to communicate with each other enter the field of study of semiology.
Semiology is defined as the science of sign. It is the science in which symbols and their meanings are evaluated. The aim of semiotics is to express the signs in a logical framework, either verbally or in writing. (Barthes, 1977, 92)
Signs are actions or structures that refer to something other than themselves. Codes are the systems in which the indicators organize and determine how the indicators can be associated with each other. Fiske suggests that these signs and codes are either passed on or made available for others. According to Fiske, transferring or receiving the communication of signs is a practice of social relations. (Fiske, 2010, 116)
The aim of semiology is to analyze all the sign systems in its subject, to comprehend the relationships of the indicators in that sign system and to try to classify the areas of use in social life. In this context, not only visual indicators but also natural languages that enable human societies to communicate with each other enter the field of study of semiology.
There are important scientists who have worked on semiotics. These basically presented the same thoughts in different patterns. Charles Saunders Pierce, Ferdinand de Saussure and Roland Barthes formed the basis of his semiotic studies.
Roland Barthes is an important name in contemporary semiology. He mostly worked on popular culture analysis with the original approach he developed. The structural analysis method developed by Barthes does not contain a declaration purpose, but includes various facts that have meaning. All these are linked to semiotics through the concept of signification. It emphasizes the connections between the signs and the secondary or connotative ones. Although Barthes was one of the representatives of the Saussure tradition, unlike Saussure, he argued that linguistics should not be part of semiotics, but semiotics should be a part of linguistics.
Roland Barthes calls the myth a way of speaking. Myth is a form of communication. Barthes explains that myth is not a particular object, but a quadratic semiological system. Myth is a linguistics. Myth; It is a form of communication that naturalizes the political structure of products and consumption, dominant culture, historical values and attitudes.
Barthes talks about a three-dimensional pattern when analyzing the myth: signifier, signified, and sign. According to Barthes, myth is the secondary order of the semiological system. The indicator in the first system becomes the indicator of the second system. Barthes calls the primary semiological order the object of language, the secondary order, the myth, the meta-language. (Barthes, 1977, 101)
From the moment people are born, they live unconsciously in the world of signs. A language determined by socially consensus codes is used, this language is written in writing, it is experienced together with visual signs, gestures, body language, music, architecture and millions of other indexes. The essence of advertising is to create new indexes of indicators with the help of these indicators and to transfer these indicator indexes. The shortest definition of creativity arises in this way: It is to present new indicator systems to the target audience with the help of agreed codes. (Fiske, 2019,75)
All ads are indicative. However, some advertisements give the impression that we can grasp the post with the advertisement itself. With the presence of such clear signs that we have to make meaning, such advertisements look less like indications; because they keep their meanings accessible, they are or appear to be themselves a physical path to the referent, and this prevents us from evaluating the true relationship between the sign and the referent, from understanding the actual process of understanding the ads. (Aitchson, 2008, 265)
Semiology is one of the most commonly used methods for analyzing ads. Almost any advertisement can be analized semiotically. In particular, it is discussed in terms of connotations or metaphors and metonyms used in advertisements. (Duckworth, 2009)
Print advertisements are among the advertising tools used in commercial communication and the purpose of print advertisements is to communicate between the product and people. Print advertisements have the feature of giving information about the product and having a certain place in people's mind. With the development of communication technologies, differentiation has occurred in advertising strategies. Creative strategies are developed in print advertisements to influence and convince the target audience.
Myth in Advertising
The cultural elements of advertising and its relations with myths are closely related to the phenomenon of consumer society. In the consumption society, consumption is done in the name of symbolic values such as prestige, difference, belonging to a group, acquiring identity, image acquisition rather than need. The product has become the totem of the target audience. The emulation of myth is used to keep products in memories. The values seen in universal myths such as body beauty, power, divinity, independence, heroism, productivity and sexuality constitute a system for consumption tools. Regardless of the target audience, the myth used in advertisements allows the person to have the opportunity to express himself indirectly.
The cultural systems of the society are used in advertisements as a creative strategy. Reproduction and re-meaning in advertising become interdependent. Myths, rituals, totems and taboos that exist in the society serve to understand and explain who people are. In this respect, they are suitable for advertising strategies. Creativity comes to the fore in the presentation techniques of advertisements with the use of cultural reflections. Depending on the society, the desire for individuality is created. Our world creates a separate space for itself with products and the ideal ego that products impose on minds. Ads provide forms that are skilled in building this relationship. Symbolic signs are brought to life in people's minds by reproduction through advertisements. (Hernandez, 2011, 302)
Symbols and discourses, which are constantly changing by societies, are constantly gaining new meanings by transcending their own content. The function and richness of symbols are demonstrated by advertisers with artistic passion. The symbolic meaning of myth and its acceptance in terms of societies make it easier for advertisers. Universal myth is associated with advertisements as a product of collective memory and universal culture.
Consumption is presented to the society based on indicators. Individuals have come to make their existence only through consumption tools. The myths, cultural symbols and images used in the print advertisements show that the advertisement carries a cultural analysis. Although modern society is influenced by technology and science, mythical stories have taken a different place in the consciousness of society. The visual and emotional characters of mythologies are the means used for the transmission of fairy tales. These tools were made into advertising language and used to explain the products to the consumer in a more fluent way. Advertising makes use of the implication feature of the myth. Using mythology as an advertising tool stimulates the imagination that exists in societies.
Myths allow people to connect directly to the product or service. With the mythological story used, the advertisement is reinforced and the product becomes catchy and interesting. It gives the message of the product by communicating directly with belief systems believed for centuries. The cultural value system manifests itself through a creative process in the advertisements in the consumer society.
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