Hi-tech metaphors: how advertising narrates technological innovation

Author/s Manolo Farci
Publishing Year 2014 Issue 2014/47 Language Italian
Pages 13 P. 88-100 File size 250 KB
DOI 10.3280/SC2014-047008
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

The language of advertising offers one of the most pervasive archive of the aesthetic imagination of Western culture, revealing fears and fantasies accorded to technology, and forecasting our technological existence in the future. Advertising that is, is one of the most effective way to turn techno-scientific discourses into figurative paradigms that marks the social imaginary of an era, and help to provide shared meanings of the everyday practices of technological consumption. Therefore, the relationship between technological discoveries, visual languages and forms of consumption can’t be reduced to a purely causal explanation, where science and technology feed our aesthetic imagination of powerful visual metaphors, but need to be understood as a recursive mechanism, where the high-tech metaphors themselves are influential models to make sense of the innovation in technology. In light of these theoretical assumptions, the aim of this paper is to examine how high tech technological innovations are displayed within the contemporary forms of advertising. From a visual analysis conducted on a set of cases expressly chosen, the work identifies the main figurative metaphors that contribute to the social representation of technological innovation. These high-tech metaphors provide us with a set of shared representations that influence the direction and the values tied to our everyday practices of technological consumption.

Keywords: Advertising, visual culture, technological consumption, high technology, imaginary.

  1. Abruzzese A. (1988), Metafore della pubblicità, Costa & Nolan, Genova.
  2. Boccia Artieri G. (2012), Stati di connessione. Pubblici, cittadini e consumatori nella (Social) Network Society, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  3. Barabási A.L. (2002), Linked. The New Science of Networks, Perseus Publishing, Cambridge (MA); trad. it. (2004), Link. La nuova scienza delle reti, Einaudi, Torino.
  4. Berger J. (1972), Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series, Penguin, London Harmondsworth; trad. it. (2009), Questione di sguardi. Sette inviti al vedere fra storia dell’arte e quotidianità, il Saggiatore, Milano.
  5. Berthon P., MacHulbert J., Pitt L. (2005), Consuming Technology: Why Marketers Sometimes Get It Wrong, «California Management Review», vol. 48, n. 1 (Fall 2005), pp. 110-128, http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/41166330.
  6. Borgerson J., Schroeder J. (2005), Identity in Marketing Communications. An Ethics of Visual Representation, in A.J. Kimmel (ed.), Marketing Communication: New Approaches, Technologies, and Styles, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  7. Braidotti R. (2002), Metamorphoses. Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming, Polity Press, Cambridge; trad. it. (2002), In metamorfosi. Verso una teoria materialistica del divenire, Feltrinelli, Milano.
  8. Cartwright L., Sturken M. (2001), Pratices of Looking. An Introduction to Visual Culture, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  9. Darley A. (2000), Visual Digital Culture Surface Play and Spectacle In New Media, Routledge, London; trad. it. (2006), Videoculture digitali. Spettacolo e giochi di superficie nei nuovi media, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  10. Dobers P., Schroeder J.E. (2003), Representing IT: Embodying the Electronic Economy, testo disponibile in http://ssrn.com/abstract=520322 o in http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.520322 (29 novembre 2013).
  11. Doane M.A. (2000), Technophilia, Technology, Representation and the Feminine, in G. Kirkup, L. Janes, J. Woodward, F. Hovenden (eds.), The Gendered Cyborg. A Reader, Routledge (in association with the Open University), London.
  12. Durand G. (1960), Les structures antropologiques de l’imaginaire: introduction à l’archétipologie générale, Allier, Grenoble; trad. it. Le strutture antropologiche dell’immaginario. Introduzione all’archetipologia generale, Dedalo, Bari, 1972.
  13. Elkins J. (2003), Visual Studies. A Skeptical Introduction, Routledge, New York. Faccioli P., Lo Sacco P. (2010), Nuovo manuale di sociologia visuale. Dall’analogico al digitale, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  14. Foster H. (1988), Vision and Visuality, Bay Press Inc., Seattle, WA.
  15. Goldman R., Papson S. (2011), Landscapes of Capital, Polity Press, Cambridge.
  16. Harper D. (2012), Visual Sociology, Routledge, New York.
  17. Hall S. (1997), Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, Sage Publications (in association with the Open University), London.
  18. Hayles N.K. (1999), How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (IL).
  19. Holt D.B. (2004), How Brands Become Icons. The Principles of Cultural Branding, Harvard University Press, Boston (MA). Jenks C. (1995), Visual Culture, Routledge, London.
  20. Johnson S. (2001), Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, Scribner, New York; trad. it. (2004), La nuova scienza dei sistemi emergenti, Garzanti, Milano.
  21. Kelly K. (2010), What Technology Wants, The Viking Press, New York; trad. it. (2011), Quello che vuole la tecnologia, Codice Edizioni, Torino.
  22. Leiss K., Jhally S. (2005), Social Communication and Advertising. Consumption in the mediated marketplace, Routledge, Abingdon, UK.
  23. Lombardi M. (2008), Il nuovo manuale di tecniche pubblicitarie. Il senso e il valore della pubblicità, FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  24. Maffesoli M. (2009), Fenomenologia dell’immaginario, Armando Editore, Roma.
  25. Mick D.G., Fourneir S. (1998), Paradoxes of Technology. Consumer Cognizance, Emotions, and Coping Strategies, «Journal of Consumer Research», vol. 25, n.
  26. 2 (September 1998), pp. 123-143, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/209531.
  27. Mirzoeff N. (1999), An introduction to Visual Culture, Routledge, New York and
  28. London; trad. it. (2002), Introduzione alla cultura visuale, Meltemi, Roma.
  29. Mitchell W.J.T. (2002), Showing Seeing. A Critique of Visual Culture, «Journal of Visual Culture», August, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 165-181, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/147041290200100202; trad. it. (2008), Pictorial Turn. Saggi di cultura visuale, duepunti edizioni, Palermo.
  30. Moscovici S., Farr M.R. (1984), Social Representations, Cambridge University
  31. Press, Cambridge; trad. it. (1989), Rappresentazioni sociali, il Mulino, Bologna.
  32. Kozinets R. (2007), Technology/Ideology. How Ideological Fields Influence Consumer’s Technology Narratives, «Journal of Consumer Research», vol. 34, n. 6 (April 2008), pp. 865-881, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/523289.
  33. Rose G. (2007), Visual Methodologies. An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials, Sage Publications, London.
  34. Schroeder J. (2002), Visual Consumption, Routledge, London.
  35. Schroeder J., Borgerson J. (2003), Identity And Iteration. Marketing Images And The Constitution Of Consuming Subjects, in Critical Marketing Stream, Critical Management Conference, Lancaster University, UK, July 2003, testo disponibile in http://www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/ejrot/cmsconference/2003/proceedings/criticalmarketing/Schroeder.pdf (29 novembre 2013).
  36. Schroeder J., Borgerson J. (2004), Skin Signs. The Epidermal Schema in Contemporary Marketing Communications, in D. Turley, S. Brown (eds.), European Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 6, Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.
  37. Schroeder J., Zwick D. (2004), Mirrors of Masculinity: Representation and Identity in Advertising Images, «Consumption, Markets and Culture», vol. 7, n. 1, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1025386042000212383.
  38. Sobchack V. (2000), Meta-morphing. Visual Transformation and the Culture of Quick Change, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis (MN).
  39. Toffoletti K. (2007), Cyborgs, and Barbie Dolls. Feminism, Popular Culture and The Posthuman Body, I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, London. Turkle S. (1996), Life on the Screen. Identity in the Age of the Internet, Simon & Schuster, New York; trad. it. (2005), La vita sullo schermo. Nuove identità e relazioni sociali nell’epoca di Internet, Apogeo, Milano.
  40. Turner V. (1982), From Ritual to Theatre. The Human Seriousness of Play, Performing Arts Journal Publications, New York; trad. it. (1986), Dal rito al teatro, il Mulino, Bologna.
  41. Venkatesh A., Karababa E., Ger G. (2002), The Emergence of the Posthuman Consumer and the Fusion of the Virtual and the Real: A Critical Analysis of Sony’s Ad for Memory Stick (TM), in S.M. Bzoriarczyk, K. Nakamoto (eds)., Advances in Consumer Research, Association for Consumer Research, 29, Valdosta, GA.

Manolo Farci, Metafore high tech. Come la pubblicità racconta l’innovazione tecnologica in "SOCIOLOGIA DELLA COMUNICAZIONE " 47/2014, pp 88-100, DOI: 10.3280/SC2014-047008