1.According to Berger, how do “publicity” –what we would call advertising–images influence consumers and why is this significant?
According to Berger, publicity influence consumers by advertising pictures of people who have been transformed. As a result of transformation, they look enviable in the eyes of public. The state of being envied includes glamor. When we see Marilyn Monroe, it is her glamour that attracts her fans. Therefore, the main purpose of publicity is to promote glamour that attract consumers. It is significant in a way how it helps to develop a hope in an individual. Berger mentions, “Glamour is for everybody who believes they can be glamorous or perhaps more accurately, for everybody who finds that they cannot afford not to be glamorous”. He is telling us that people aspire to achieve glamour like they are promoting. It entices people so much that it forces people to achieve that glamour. So, transformation of people helps generate hope in the public, that they wish to go through the same process of that transformation. In a way, the glamor they are trying to sell is successfully sold to the public.
2.As he compares oil painting to publicity (advertising) photography, Berger argues that oil painting “showed what the owner was already enjoying among his possessions and way of life;” “it enhanced his view of himself as he already was.” Whereas publicity pictures, “appeal to a way of life that we aspire to or think we aspire to.” Why are these differences important? What do they reveal to us about the production of images for publicity?
These differences are important because each aspect of these imagery, oil painting and publicity photography maintains its own uniqueness and purpose. Berger tells us that oil painting has the idea of grace, elegance and authority and portrays what the owner already has which only adds more to his own views of himself whereas publicity pictures inspire people to the way of life that they wish to attain. It is the aspect of glamor that is missing in oil painting. It is the glamour that drives the whole notion of publicity photographs. Berger argues that a publicity picture “suggests that If we get what it is offering, our life will be different from what it is.” So, in a way it puts forward a promise in an individual, but a promise that can be only attained if we have money. Therefore, the production of these images for publicity reveals our anxieties about money.
3. Choose one of the “dreams” he offers or think of your own. How does this dream offered by advertising use imagery to manipulate consumers?
The dream of faraway places where the images created for different destinations are so eye catching that we tend to delve into the realm of that unseen place which produces an imagination within us. The advertised photographs are exotic enough that it tends to manipulate a consumer’s mind. It delivers the promise of a beautiful experience depicted in the photograph. The consumer begins to envy the promise of a beautiful experience in a faraway land. They wish that promise to be fulfilled, so they do whatever they can do to experience that advertised image. Now that the consumer is influenced, it encourages them to live the experience promoted by the publicity photograph. So that is how the dream, or the promise offered by advertising use of imagery to manipulate consumers.