2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Advertising and Myth
Alan L. Venneman
Dr. Matthew Killmeier, Faculty Mentor

The American middle-class culture is unique because they view themselves as being outside of history and largely unaffected by what they do to each other and the environment. Americans believe they can find happiness in consuming goods. Jean Baudrillard identifies this belief as myth. Many writers and philosophers, especially Roland Barthes, wrote on the bourgeoisie’s apparent inability to see themselves within a system of mythology. The problem is Americans cannot see the myth they are a part of simply because they are a part of it. Advertising is the main vehicle in which Americans promote this myth. Large automobiles (i.e. SUVs, Hum-vees, F350s) are prime examples of how Americans attach mythic qualities to artifacts. A careful study of how the automobile is advertised will show how Americans have bought into a myth that contributes to worldly problems such as environmental destruction, greed, financial irresponsibility, and objectifying the generalized other.

Keywords: advertising, mythology, semiotics, consumerism, automobiles, media, culture, environment

Topic(s):Communication

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 53-2
Location: VH 1304
Time: 4:00

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