2 Fetishism in anthropologyFetishism is also an interesting subject to discuss inthe field of anthropology applied to this field of study. Marx argued that commodities were fetishes—objects thatpossessed power beyond their physical structure (Marx 1990 1867: 163-177). Formarketing and advertising strategies, beginning in the late-nineteenth century,had as their objective not only selling products, but also “selling thesystem:” (Jhally, Kline, Leiss 1985, 3)As it entered the era ofgeneralized mass production and consumption, towards the end of the nineteenthcentury, marketing faced the task of “binding” products to culturally-approvedformats for the satisfaction of wants. To employ technical terminology,marketing seeks to construct a field of mediations between persons (asconsumers) and things (as commodities) (Jhally, Kline, Leiss 1985, 3). The mostsignificant modification, however, was the creation of a category to measurethe role of the product in the “lifestyle imagery” ads. It wasnecessary to add this category for the television ad because in it the productis presented “symbolically,” or visually, rather than textually (8). Simply put, it is a concept of celebration of an object,which humans put various social meaning into it.
We objectify our lives in themateriality of the concrete world in the process called ‘objectification,’ takewhat exists outside of us, and, by our activity, make a part of our dailyexistence (Jhally 2016, 2). Also, as a result to new commodity fetishism,consumers derive utility from goods both from their embodied characteristicsand from the ‘environmental conditions’ of their use (Jhally 2016, 18). Jhally(2016) also emphasizes that the individual acquisition of goods takes placewithin social context. In other words, it is the meaning that we put into anobject that plays reciprocal interaction in influencing each other. According to Marx’s ‘commodity of fetish,’ reality of thecommodity is its representations of congealed labor through which it derivesits value. In its unreal or fetished form the commodity appears to haveaboriginal value derived from its material feature.
However, it is not merely aspecial kind of objects, or defined in terms of their generic functionalattitudes (Ellen 1998, 213). Fetishism rather reveal a variable combination ofthree underlying features of categorization and representation characteristicsof all thought: these are concretization, animation or anthropomorphisation,conflation or signifier with signified, and an ambiguous relationship ofcontrol between a person and object (Ellen 1998, 213). Simply put, they lie ona processual continuum which begins with the identification of categories,relationships and phenomena, and proceeds via reification and iconification totheir personification. Using this complex method, the relationship betweenfetishism and the items or image the commercials depict would be discussed inthe following video analysis. When applied to this research, fetishism acts as a keyrole that facilitate the effectiveness of the commercial.
We generally havepositive image in certain types of music, sports, high quality fashion and soon. The video contents that follows make use of these positive effects that wehave fetish about into these commercials. The image we have on these sourcesare a socially constructed norm that has been developed empirically, beinghanded down from past to the present. In this research, similar approaches canbe seen in the cigarette commercials; how they connect smoking to thesepositive images, making positive and attractive “fetish” about it. Also byevaluating how an object or certain behavior is depicted as in commercials; inthis case, smoking habit, different types of fetish smokers had in the past,and will have in the future is researched.
3.3 Language of CommercialsThe third concept this paper uses is the language ofcommercials. Basically, it is investigating the language tactics and skillsthat the advertisers use in order to grab people’s minds into buying theirproducts. Language conveys culture specific knowledge and values (Roitsch 2014,14). Therefore, it is through ingenious and clever anthropological approachthat can convey the message that an advertiser tries to deliver, and earnpeople’s support. There are quite a few ideas about how language plays a rolein advertisements; Schroder’s The Language of Advertising (1985) demonstrate anaspect of the question by arguing that advertisers take a certain behavior orattitude as the norm, without explicitly saying so (Tanaka 2001, 6). Also, Halmari and Virtanen(2005) argue that the language of advertising is the product of a linguisticadaption to a context in which messages are aimed at a vast audiencerepresenting an array of backgrounds and presuppositions (137). For instance, commercialscan link cigarette to finding peace in mind by showing a scene where a mantakes break in daily life using cigarette as a gateway to new state of mind, itcan also be understood as behavior of finding ritual related anthropology.
Indeed, the advertising agencies, television stations,newspaper companies and many production companies tend to do their best toimpress their visitors with modern buildings, expensive interior designs, andspacious halls and offices (Moeran 2007, 2). Some advertisements use attention-getting devices to engage theaudience to make people want to listen. (importance of proper lighting for moodsetting, memorable music themes associated with products, and the use ofdancing to add flair) (Alatis and Tucker 1979, 278).
Also, in advertising textsdescribing items in common usage, the need for explicitness will be broadlyequal across different catalogs and that any language not primarily fulfillingan essential descriptive information purpose will be left out (Halmari andVirtanen 2005, 141). After all, it is how they introduce and use properly wordtheir product that results in better sales. With marketing and persuasivecommunication being the two major components of advertising (Moeran 2007, 27)commercials try to shape its product in a way that would be most attractive toits customers. Use of comparatives, using adjectives such as top-quality,longer-lasting, and connotations such as showing armchair to show comfort arealso some of the instances of language that can be found in commercials (Kannan2013, 4). For cigarette companies, it would be wordings such as ‘fresh’,’peace’, ‘mild’ that are commonly used in commercials, which are the languagesthat imply that the customers can earn them when they buy the product. Highquality, artistic, outgoing images all fall into this category, as people tendto be attracted to these features. 3.4 Anthropology of advertisingCreating a successful commercial requires a fullunderstanding of one’s culture inside and out.
Charles Winick, the author ofthe book, Journal of marketing,argues that there are at least three kinds of situations in which the knowledgeof anthropologist has been employed in marketing: specific knowledge, awarenessof themes of a culture, sensitivity to taboos (Winick 1961, 56). Gatheringinformation about one’s culture, ordering that information within domesticinstitutions, and then instituting policy decisions based on that informationparallels the ethnographic process in anthropology (Englis 2017, 103). Indeed,anthropological approaches to consumer’s lives take a holistic approach thatincorporates the range of behaviors that people are involved in on a dailybasis (Malefyt, Morais 2013, 13).
This intersecting of lives, resources, andtechnology is only one illustration of research projects that link our thinkingwith the larger landscape of consumer experience, category fluidity, andcultural interconnectivity (13). This process also demandsthat we engage a range of intellectual approaches within anthropology and fromoutside of anthropology, in disciplines such as personality and socialpsychology, linguistics, literature, and philosophy (13). Likewise, understanding the rightcoding is essential for commercials to function. For instance, Japanese tobaccocommercials made a dramatic shift from smoking promotion to coexistence, byemphasizing that we are all different in nature and deserve to be respected.
Itemphasizes how smokers deserve to smoke in public places as long as they keepmanners, and we all must respect that. Seeing how conventional smoking ads,which merely beautified the act of smoking, changed into this manner, we canunderstand how important anthropology of advertising is working is. Realizingthat the conventional smoking promotion ads no more work with masculine andartistic men smoking, and especially with the recognition of health issues, thetobacco company now focus on justifying and protecting the right of smokers. Indeed, they excel in readingthe stream and the atmosphere of the society, understanding and applying thisidea in cultural coding of Japanese society.