Encoding Advertisements: The Creative Perspective
The role of advertising within consumer culture as an ideological force has received much attention within academic studies in the advertising and marketing disciplines, and has also been the subject of inquiry and debate in related fields within sociology and cultural studies. While many of these works approach the role of advertising in society through textual analysis of advertisements and consumer interpretations of advertising meaning, surprisingly fewer studies have approached the subject from the perspective of the producers of advertising, particularly within the advertising and marketing disciplines. This paper examines how advertisements are encoded with meanings by advertising "creatives" by exploring the practices and processes in which these cultural practitioners engage. A discourse analysis of ethnographic interviews conducted with copywriters and art directors within an Irish advertising agency forms the empirical material for this inquiry. Four central interpretative repertoires are developed from these interview texts which provide insights into the pivotal work of advertising practitioners as cultural intermediaries within consumer culture.