Cultural signs and messages can be seen everywhere. Advertisements are one example of these signs and messages. All of these advertisements are made depending on what our society wants and how we view things. For example, many ads try to attract a busy, stressed out, urbanized man to a more peaceful and calm scenario by making a connection of their product to a peaceful part of nature. Since we believe that nature is peaceful and calm, we believe these products will bring us these qualities through nature. If nature were labeled as disturbing and unbearable, then these ads, which try to connect nature with their product, would not attract us. Oscar Wilde also agrees with this when he points out ìThings are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that have influenced usî(Oates 465). A careful analysis of a few ads can help exemplify this belief. Everything we see, including these advertisements of nature, is interpreted differently depending on our background and experiences that has influenced us.
All advertisements fall into one or more of three categories defined by Merchant. These categories are hierarchy, dialectics, or pastoral. The hierarchy category includes masculine aspects such as activeness, dominance, and adventure. On the other hand, the pastoral category is the opposite of the hierarchy category and includes more feminine ideas such as passiveness, peacefulness, and motherhood. The remaining dialectic category is one that is hard to define because it is neither active nor passive. This category falls in between hierarchy and pastoral because it contains ads that contain ideas that are neither feminine nor masculine. The following descriptions of the three ads fall into one or more of these categories.
The first advertisement of a Nissan Xterra SUV gives you a ëreference domainí of strength, comfort, and power. The ad tries to convince us to buy this SUV, which can be used to conquer nature comfortably. The ads has in big bold letters ìCouch for Sale,î as it tells us that this SUV can be taken to ìthe mountains, the rivers, the oceans, whereverî and we can still be comfortable with this new type of ìcouch.î The ad tries to make our couch at home seem boring and this SUV not only comfortable but also more fun by telling us ìrid [ourselves] of the soft, fluffy cushions and venture to where the fun is.