The Language of Publicity

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Seen differently throughout each individual, art serves a purpose of expression. Expressed in different forms, the nature of art is everywhere, including publicity. Publicity provides culture with images that convey meaning and messages. Images are the strongest, most powerful aspect publicity holds. In Ways of Seeing, John Berger identifies the relationship between two media images, modern day publicity and the language of traditional oil painting. These images intend to demonstrate reality to the spectator but not a reality of the common life, a socially constructed reality called glamour. As Americans, our lives revolve around publicity images. Everywhere we look are competitive consumer advertisements, publicity, it dominates our everyday lives. We let these images pass by without even noticing, and it’s not because we weren’t paying attention to our surroundings, it’s that our surroundings are so familiar. Our surroundings, whether in a car, train, or walking, are merely publicity images. Since we are accustomed to our surroundings, we are accustomed to the these images and don’t notice whether they have changed or not. One may pass the same billboard every single day and know matter what image is displayed, they may pass it by. Society broadly accepts publicity, but that doesn’t mean we notice it all the time. Marketers have to give society something to notice, they have to offer a proposal. According to Berger, “it proposes to each of us that we transform ourselves, or our lives, by buying something more” (Berger 131). Publicity wants to offer us more. More items and options as to what we can spend our money on, but not just any items. It offers items that will “transform” a person into something desirable. Glenn Hudak agrees with Berger stating, “Publicity works by taking over a psychological process common to all people” (Hudak 183). The psychological process of publicity is the idea of transformation. Publicity markets products...
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