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Free Content Dark Arts: Designed Communications and a New Rhetoric of Authenticity

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Set against a backdrop of high-profile food scares in Britain at the end of the twentieth century, where economics seemingly preempted health and food security, this article considers the 1999–2001 print advertising campaign of Waitrose supermarkets. The campaign was at the vanguard of a new rhetoric of authenticity and tapped directly into the public's sense of alienation and anxiety in the face of the continued commoditization and industrialization of food production and manufacture.

Comparative analysis with contemporaneous competing advertisements indicates a shift in focus from an established mode of food retail advertising to a more lifestyle-oriented genre. Further considerations include the ethical and political positioning of advertising, branding strategies, and subsequent social currency. Through the rubric of oral interviews with the creative directors of the campaign, the rhetoric of advertising practices and mythologizing of the creative reflex are also investigated.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175470812X13176523285075

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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