New Media Implicated In The Globalization Of Culture Essay
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The contemporary economics, culture and trade is becoming more and more global with each passing year. The diversity of services, goods and customs that could be spotted only a couple of decades ago in different countries, and even in different states have been becoming less and less noticeable during the last years.
The same detergents, cat food, mobile phones etc can be found either on the shelves of the Canadian shops or on Russian and Indian markets. Some say that the process of globalization gave most of the world’s population the opportunity to use the qualitative and relatively inexpensive goods which were previously available only to the dwellers of the countries were they were produced, but the others presume that the process of globalization is destructive for the market, as due to the creation of corporations the smaller businesses go broke, and thus the competition, which leads to the improvement of quality of the goods produced, disappears.
The influence of media on the contemporary culture is enormous. Media is what forms our tastes and preferences, it dictates us what to wear, to buy, and even how should be behave in different situations. It is the media that turned the American culture into the consumerist one, as nowadays it dictates that purchasing things is the most convenient and quick way to use the desired social status. Most of the media influences on people are performed through advertising, both direct and indirect one. Media is one of the main means of transferring information among people, and of forming their opinions that is why advertising is so powerful nowadays.
The specialists say it is media that makes the greatest impact on the globalization of culture and trade all over the world. It is through the media that the same goods are advertised all over the world, and, moreover, the same ideas are propagated. Media creates and sets the standards that are to be followed to be considered “up-to date” and fashionable.
Of course, different people have various opinions on why the effect of advertising on globalization is so powerful. For example, Berger, who wrote Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture states advertising are a lottery, as it is still that nobody knows what advertisement will be effective and what will not. Berger adds that the advertisement executives believe that they waste half of money, spent on advertisements, but no one knows which half it is. (2000, p.2-3).
Nowadays media is one of the most powerful instruments of forming the opinions of its consumers. Most of the marketing strategies that exist nowadays are built on the influences of the media. It is the irreplaceable instrument for selling things, the process, on which the globalization is based. Decades ago people bough what they needed and their needs were dictated by their life conditions and financial status.
It is nowadays that at first media creates the need in the specific product or group of products in people, and than they purchase the advertised thing. Thanks to the media people no longer buy things they need; they rather buy the attributes of the desired social status. Hirschman (2003) states that core societal values have an important role on advertising production and reception. Thus, to become fashionable, a product has to be promoted emphasizing its contribution to those societal values.
Today media dictates people not only what they should buy, but also how they should behave, and what should they long for, and those directions are actually the same all over the world. Lindner, the author of the study, which analyzes the images of women in general interest and fashion magazine advertisements, states that: “advertisements often contain very subtle clues about gender roles and may operate as socializing agents on several levels. Because advertisements are publicly broadcast, the men and women portrayed are often perceived to represent the whole population, and men and women in the advertisements seem to accept these portrayed behaviors, thereby validating the stereotyped roles.”
Media encourages contemporary people to build a career, and get decent education. It is emphasized in the most contemporary movies, TV shows, and books that to get a decent and well-paid position one has to have all the attributes of the successful person, like luxurious car, expensive costume, and the smallest mobile phone possible. And, as we can note those attributes of wealth and success are the same in the ads and movies that are produced worldwide. In the movies and TV shows all of those accessories seem to spring out of nowhere, they just indicate the status of the personage portrayed.
It is wonderful how the media succeeds in making various products fashionable. It creates the impression of the product being fashionable by attaching a set of characteristics to it that are evaluated positively in the society. Let’s, for example, analyze the phenomenon of the popularity of the designers’ clothes. If we take a D&G dress, worth 10,000$, we will see, it is not much different from one we can buy in the department store for 100$.
The designer’ dress is so expensive because media have been popularizing this trademark for many decades. We can read or hear that this or that movie star was wearing an outfit created by D&G, Prada, or Valentino on the Oscar award ceremony, which is broadcasted in most countries of the world, and thus conclude that clothes created by those trademarks are the attributes of rich and successful people, so that its high cost will be justified.
The advertisements published in the media create the feeling of identification. Jackie Stacey in Star Gazing; Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectatorship states that: “…the female spectator is addressed as a consumer of images of feminine beauty, and thus as an observer of other women, but also of herself.” (1994, p.5). The advertisements worldwide are built using the same principle: the potential buyer should be able to imagine himself or herself in the situation where the model that features the product that is promoted, is depicted in the advertisement. And it is obvious that this strategy is effective everywhere, where it is used.
William O’Barr, an advertising specialist who wrote Culture and the Ad: Exploring Otherness in the World of Advertising, presumes that advertising communicates subliminal messages regarding the social and economic dominance of its target audience. In his opinion advertising agencies are not culturally sensitive (1994. p.111). By advertising campaign, the media creates an impression in the potential buyer that after purchasing the advertised product he or she will receive the social and economical status higher, than her present one. Media usually positions the advertised products as a compulsory attribute the members of customer’s present, or target social group possess.
In general all the advertising campaign pursue the goal of creating the ideal image of the person, who is a part of the target social group potential customers want to belong to. Thus the media portrays the person, using the advertised product in various situations and settings that the members of the customers’ target or present social group visit.
The instruments the contemporary media use to make the products attractive for the customers are much more complicated than they were several decades ago. All of the advertisements that appeared in the newspapers, magazines or on TV forty or fifty years ago displayed the product advertised, and people who used them. Nowadays the situation has changed. Angela Goddard says it is not compulsory for the image to feature people in order to say something about them (2002, p.81). The advertisements shouldn’t feature a human all the time. They should rather picture the surroundings and the goals of the person, who is featured. This allows the consumers identification with the one, who uses the product advertised.
The mechanism of group identification is one of the most effective instruments media uses in advertising, as people are used to the fact that every social group has its material attributes, and they often share the thought that it is enough to purchase those attributes to gain the membership in the target group.
Media promotes this viewpoint by showing distinct differences between the representatives of different social groups. Let’s recall how the personages are displayed in the movies and TV shows. After looking at the hero for few minutes we can recognize his/her social status without paying much effort. The differences between social group and classes are hyperbolized by the media, and the material attributes are what indicate those differences.
Social scientists presume that it is TV that makes one of the most powerful influences on the process of globalization worldwide. Almost every dweller of our country knows, that the TV appeared only several decades ago, and it’s only for forty or fifty years that almost every American family has a TV set at home. TV has become the greatest entertainment for the children and adults, an imaginary world we can drift to without even using the power of our imagination. The statistics says that television is on for almost 7 hours a day in an average American household.
No wonder that the appearance of television changed the world a lot, as the division of time in the global society has changed with the appearance of this talking hypnotizing box. Except for reading books, going out or simply talking with the friends and other family members millions of people worldwide just sit and watch TV. The stereotypes, ideals and goals that atr promoted by the TV programs worldwide, are almost the same, as the advertising techniques and goals are. As a result the life in different countries becomes more and more like the contemporary Western standard.
For now television has become a problem for the educators, parents, and employers. There is no statistics about the quantity of lessons and workdays missed because of the TV, but the numbers are surely, giant. Let’s try to see what exactly attracts the American children, teenager and adults to the TV screen.
Jerzy Kosinski in his book Being There provided a great interpretation for the facts listed. In his book he described the emotions of the person who had seen the outside world only through the glass of the TV screen. “By changing the channel he could change himself “-the author notes. “He could go through phases as garden plants went through phases, but he could change as rapidly, as he wished by twisting the dial backwards and forward. In some cases he could spread out into the screen without stopping. By turning the dial Chance could bring others inside his eyelids. Thus he cam to believe that it was he, Chance, who made himself be.” (p.5-6)
As you can note, switching on the TV set for Chance gave him the sense of power he didn’t have in his real life. Chance, like the millions of people worldwide identified himself with the moving figures on the screen, and he felt like he was capable to do something brave and smart, like the TV show and movie heroes did. There were times when people worked hard just for to feel themselves satisfied and valuable in any field they chose, but the TV screen brought an opportunity to get all the set of the positive emotions like love, affection, understanding and satisfaction for the price of one TV set.
The time that was spent before hand on working, studying, doing something for to provide positive emotions and the feeling of social realization is now spent in front of TV. The emotions, whether positive or negative brought by it became a drug for most of us, as we have unlearned to put the efforts for reaching those conditions and getting those emotions without the help of the blue screen.
People have always had the archetypes inside their mind, on the subconscious levels, which had been dictating their view on the world and things and people that exist in it. With the appearance of the TV those archetypes had grown and enhanced, as we see a lot of examples of them there, much more than the average 19 century American would see during all of his life.
The same thing is with stereotyping. Let’s recall the reasons for popularity of Chance, the protagonist of Being There. It was just the stereotype millions of Americans shared that the person who talks metaphors (and they took the Chance’s talking about his garden for metaphors) is clever, and hi/her words are worthy of being noticed. It is the phenomena we can see on the TV screen every day.
People there are not very clever, not very attractive or intelligent, at least most of them, but we still take their words for granted they have the authority that makes us listen them and hear what they are saying. Today there are persons that are respected all over the world, and their words are able to change the lives of people in many countries. It became possible only with the development of the contemporary media, as without TV or the Web such a direct and unaffected spread of information would not have been possible.
The purpose of this paper is not only examining the advertising techniques the big companies use for to lure more customers to their products. It is rather examining the influences media makes on the globalization of culture and trade that is taking place worldwide.
The advertising techniques and strategies employed by the media can be used not only for promoting some products, but also for promoting the specific political regime, the specific lifestyles etc. Media is a very powerful instrument. Nowadays it forms the tastes and opinions of its consumers concerning the clothes, gadgetry, or food they buy, but using it much more meaningful and dangerous things can be promoted. This is a valid reason to put little more attention to the notional filling of the media images and slogans instead of consuming them irrecusably.
There is no doubt that the new media have a very powerful influence on globalization nowadays. Thanks to the TV and the Web the life of people in different parts of the world becomes more and more alike with each passing year. People develop same ideals, principles and norms, guided by TV shows, movies and ads, while the Internet lets them forget about the thousands of kilometers that separate New-York, Paris, Moscow and Deli.
People worldwide become more and more alike in all the senses of this word. There is no univocal answer for the question whether it is good or bad, as there are both positive and negative aspects of globalization. Nevertheless, this process is continuing, and it is enhancing with thee development of media.
- KOSINSKI, J. Being There. Grove Press, 1999
- QUART, A. Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers. Basic Books, 2004
- GODDARD, A. The language of Advertising, London: Routledge, 1998
- BERGER A.S.A. Ads, Fads and consumer culture: advertisings impact on American character and society, Oxford: Roman and Littlefield, 2004
- STACEY, J. Star-Gazing: Hollywood Cinema and female Spectatorship. London: Routledge, 1993
- O’BARR, W. Culture and the ad: exploring otherness in the world of advertising. Oxford: Westview Press, 1994
- LINDNER, K. “Images of Women in General Interest and Fashion Magazine Advertisements from 1955 to 2002”. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. 2004, p.409 – 421