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Discussion Questions #4

1. According to Berger, how do “publicity”–what we would call advertising–images influence consumers and why is this significant?

According to John Berger, a publicity picture makes viewers think if they buy what it offers, that possession will change their lives, including their relationships. By showing images of happy people who use their products, they convey a message of if we buy that product too, we can have a life like those people.

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?

According to John Berger, oil paintings began with facts of its owner’s life. It shows the current wealth or achievements of its owner without including how they get that wealth. It doesn’t offer something, it just shows what they already have. But, publicity shows us a perfect life that we want to have. And, it offers that life to us by purchasing their service or products.

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?

I chose the dream of a faraway place. This is a dream that both he offers and of mine. Since I was a kid, traveling around the world is one of my biggest dreams. Especially after the increase of my interactions with technology, I realized that this dream get bigger and bigger place in my heart. Travel agencies advertisements have a big role in this. Images of other countries have always very distinct colors and usually, everyone in those images looks so peaceful and happy. Noone shows a signal of a bad mood or difficulty which makes me feel like if I go to that place the only thing I feel will be happiness and peace.