Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
February 29, 2012
Simulation in Philippine Media and Advertising
If advertisements have no influence in consumers, companies wouldn’t spend millions on advertising (Kilbourne). Baudrillard’s concept of simulation’s presence in Philippine media and advertising pre-fabricates the consumer society’s needs, wants and preferences. In this paper, simulation and hyperreality is discussed, and also the connection between symbolic production and the capitalist mode of production, which can be observed in the Philippine context. The author discusses this further by presenting and giving a critic on how the precession of images and models works within advertisements through an examination of a certain billboard ad, how the simulation in media and advertising makes the Philippine consumption simulate the Western consumption, how it reflects and affects the Philippine culture and the consumer society themselves through an examination of a well-known TV commercial and a themed short video with product placement and finally how all of these is for the purpose of selling and accumulating capital, hence making the simulation in Philippine media and advertising the selling pitch.
Simulation and Hyperreality
In the movie Inception, husband and wife Cobb and Mal manipulate their dreams and construct them so similar to reality to the point that it becomes not only indistinguishable from reality, but also their reality. Eventually they were stuck in their dreams for years, and the only way for them to wake up is if they die in the dream. This lead them to lie on a railroad and let themselves get hit by a train. They woke up. Since the dreams they made is almost identical to reality, the wife couldn’t really be convinced that she is awake and in reality. Thinking that she is still in a dream, she committed suicide by jumping off a building, with the thought that if she did, she will wake up. Since she was only confused with reality and her dreams, and she is indeed awake, this action led to her death.
This is how the consumer society is like, with the influence of media and advertising: living in a world where you don’t know what is real anymore. The consumer society is Cobb and Mal—they are under the simulation which they made themselves. The simulation generated in media and advertising by and for the consumer society, makes them live in a world of hyperreality. “We have given up much of reality for a never-never world, where fantasy is shunting aside reality (Barmash 248).” In the essay “The Precession of Simulacra,” Jean Baudrillard explores media simulation and the hyperreality of consumer society. He uses the term simulation, which “threatens the difference between the ‘true’ and the ‘false,’ the ‘real’ and the ‘imaginary’ (Baudrillard).” In Oxford English Dictionary online, Simulation is defined first as "the action or practice of simulating, with an intent to deceive," then as "a false assumption or display, a surface resemblance or imitation, of something," and finally as "the technique of imitating the behavior of some situation or process...by means of a suitably analogous situation or apparatus." Simulation happens when the precession of symbols and signs, of images, confuses what is real and what is not by acting as reflections of reality, then as masks of reality, then as masks that masks the absence of reality, and finally becomes unrelated to reality, but to other images instead.
The term “simulation” is important in light of how we view the media. Jean Baudrillard and other media theorists have been concerned with the concept in lieu of “its interaction with our notion of the real and the original, revealing in this preoccupation media’s identity not as means of communication, but as means of representation.” Media has the tendency to integrate themselves into daily “real” experiences to the point that the unmediated sensation is...