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Title: The use of Black people in British advertising, or, A man should be judged by the colour of his shirt
Author: Gbadamosi, Raimi Olakunie
ISNI:       0000 0001 3492 9772
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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The aim of this research is to examine the use of those defined (politically, socially and chromatically) as Black people in British advertising. Advertising has been chosen as a focus, because it does not disguise its use of stereotypes, protest morals, nor deny its requirement for immediacy in the marketing of goods. Because of its directness and the absence of other agendas, advertising presents contemporary social attitudes toward race in unusually stark form. The thesis probes the continuing reality and importance of race as a social signifier. It investigates the role of ambivalence (the contradicting attraction and repulsion possible within a subject for an object) and refuted desire (the inability of a subject to admit to particular longings even as they manifest in behaviour) as practised by the mass media. It also studies the construction and reification of blackness as an advertising commodity. Advertising campaigns produced in the period 1991 and 1999 forms the focus of the research. In the process, the investigation establishes a historical and cultural review of changing emphases within the decade. The advertisements which receive particular attention are those which have drawn public attention to their use of race. These include; Ford Motors; Commission for Racial Equality; Nestle Milky Bar; Benetton; and Royal Insurance, among others. The thesis is divided into six sections. The first chapter introduces key terms in recent discussion of modern concepts of blackness, investigates the power relationships and designating paradox inherent in naming, and charts blackness' translation into contemporary culture. The criteria for establishing chromatic race are presented in the second chapter, and the problematic of visual representation concern the third chapter. Chapter four charts a decade (1990 to 1999) of blackness in popular mass advertising. Using Slavoj Zizek and Mieke Bal as starting points, theoretical models for understanding the use and reading of the advertised black body are presented in chapter five. The final chapter offers possible strategies for using the black body without falling into the trap of ambivalent stereotypes of previous advertisements.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available