This investigation aims to contribute novel theoretical and practical insights to the on-going debate about advertising products outside the home country of their brand. Specifically, our focus is on the way brand identity can be communicated. We leave in the background the vexed question of whether, for the foreign market, it is economically more effective to adapt advertisements created for the home country to the new market, or to use the same message. The goal of our study is to re-cast the whole issue by reconsidering the role of brand identity within the text of audio-visual commercials. Our contrastive analysis of four Italian and four American commercials will provide hints about the linguistic and, more generally, semiotic composition of the advertising message that can be exploited by practitioners, experts and academics who deal with international marketing. More specifically, with our interdisciplinary theoretical framework we: a. provide a sociolinguistic model that suggests that certain processes, such as accommodation and code switching and mixing, are useful tools to account for art directors’ and copywriters’ choices in the adaptation of the advertising message. Through the multi-modal analytical protocol in the methodology section and the results of our analysis we are able to:b. demonstrate how the theoretical framework is a resourceful tool to analyse TV commercials; c. supply a set of tested variables that can be used by experts and professionals to drive the creative process of multi-modal advertising texts. Our analysis ultimately shows that the interaction of four marketing features, brand identity, brand image , brandscape and image of user is crucial in the construction of a product’s status at home and abroad. This study focuses on four Italian brands. Four commercials for the Italian market have been directly compared with the parallel commercials broadcast in the United States. In the commercials that we have analysed, the “adaptation” for the American market is not limited just to the translation of verbal items (in our case from Italian to English), ostensive components (replacing typical Italian concrete visible objects with common American ones), or cultural values from the Italian context to the American one (De Mooij, 2004, 2010; Hofstede, 2001). Our hypothesis was that each brand presented itself with dissociated, or at least different, identities within the text of their commercials for the Italian market and for the American one. In Denis McQuail’s words, “theory [of mass communication studies] has been perennially preoccupied with the question of the ‘location’ of meaning” (2010, 360) by referring to the sender’s intention, the linguistic system, or the receiver’s interpretation. Our methodology is preoccupied instead with constructing a paradigm of possible expressive options. Therefore, it is not directly the “meaning” of advertisements that we are looking for; rather, we are interested in possible oppositions of choices and in what channel of the multi-modal message they are realized. The analysis of the commercials is both quantitative and qualitative, and based on the study by Di Ferrante (2003, 2005) where the methodological protocol of analysis was first devised and tested. The discussion highlights those variables that have played a major role in designing the TV commercials for the international market. We conclude that, whether consciously or unconsciously realized by the advertising creative teams, the dissociated identities characterizing parallel commercials are the result of several cognitive, pragma-linguistic and socio-cultural constraints at work in the generation and the mise en scene of the commercial contents.

Dissociative Identities: A Multi-modal Discourse Analysis of TV Commercials of Italian Products in Italy and in the USA

laura di ferrante;walter giordano;
2016

Abstract

This investigation aims to contribute novel theoretical and practical insights to the on-going debate about advertising products outside the home country of their brand. Specifically, our focus is on the way brand identity can be communicated. We leave in the background the vexed question of whether, for the foreign market, it is economically more effective to adapt advertisements created for the home country to the new market, or to use the same message. The goal of our study is to re-cast the whole issue by reconsidering the role of brand identity within the text of audio-visual commercials. Our contrastive analysis of four Italian and four American commercials will provide hints about the linguistic and, more generally, semiotic composition of the advertising message that can be exploited by practitioners, experts and academics who deal with international marketing. More specifically, with our interdisciplinary theoretical framework we: a. provide a sociolinguistic model that suggests that certain processes, such as accommodation and code switching and mixing, are useful tools to account for art directors’ and copywriters’ choices in the adaptation of the advertising message. Through the multi-modal analytical protocol in the methodology section and the results of our analysis we are able to:b. demonstrate how the theoretical framework is a resourceful tool to analyse TV commercials; c. supply a set of tested variables that can be used by experts and professionals to drive the creative process of multi-modal advertising texts. Our analysis ultimately shows that the interaction of four marketing features, brand identity, brand image , brandscape and image of user is crucial in the construction of a product’s status at home and abroad. This study focuses on four Italian brands. Four commercials for the Italian market have been directly compared with the parallel commercials broadcast in the United States. In the commercials that we have analysed, the “adaptation” for the American market is not limited just to the translation of verbal items (in our case from Italian to English), ostensive components (replacing typical Italian concrete visible objects with common American ones), or cultural values from the Italian context to the American one (De Mooij, 2004, 2010; Hofstede, 2001). Our hypothesis was that each brand presented itself with dissociated, or at least different, identities within the text of their commercials for the Italian market and for the American one. In Denis McQuail’s words, “theory [of mass communication studies] has been perennially preoccupied with the question of the ‘location’ of meaning” (2010, 360) by referring to the sender’s intention, the linguistic system, or the receiver’s interpretation. Our methodology is preoccupied instead with constructing a paradigm of possible expressive options. Therefore, it is not directly the “meaning” of advertisements that we are looking for; rather, we are interested in possible oppositions of choices and in what channel of the multi-modal message they are realized. The analysis of the commercials is both quantitative and qualitative, and based on the study by Di Ferrante (2003, 2005) where the methodological protocol of analysis was first devised and tested. The discussion highlights those variables that have played a major role in designing the TV commercials for the international market. We conclude that, whether consciously or unconsciously realized by the advertising creative teams, the dissociated identities characterizing parallel commercials are the result of several cognitive, pragma-linguistic and socio-cultural constraints at work in the generation and the mise en scene of the commercial contents.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/699586
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