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Decoding Advertisements

ID: 3288 - View Book Page - Edit In OJS

This book sets out not simply to criticize advertisements on the grounds of dishonesty and exploitation, but to examine in detail, through over a hundred illustrations, their undoubted attractiveness and appeal. The overt economic function of this appeal is to make us buy things. Its ideological function, however, is to involve us as 'individuals' in perpetuating the ideas which endorse the economic basis of our society. If it is economic conditions which make ideology necessary, it is ideology which makes those conditions seem necessary.

Published: Jan 1, 1978

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Preface to the Fifteenth Impression Judith Williamson
Foreword Judith Williamson
'Meaning and Ideology' Judith Williamson
Part One: 'Advertising-Work'
1. A Currency of Signs Judith Williamson
2. Signs Address Somebody Judith Williamson
3. Signs for Deciphering: Hermeneutics Judith Williamson
Part Two: 'Ideological Castles': Referent Systems
4. 'Cooking' Nature Judith Williamson
5. Back to Nature Judith Williamson
6. Magic Judith Williamson
7. Time: Narrative and History Judith Williamson
8. Conclusions Judith Williamson
End Matter
Select Bibliography Judith Williamson


Enormous, if solemn, fun.
Angela Carter, New Statesman

For anyone teaching Media Studies in the last decade, Judith Williamson's Decoding Advertisements stood out like a good deed in a turgid world. Here was a writer on popular culture who remained literate and sensitive, committed and astute.
City Limits

A key text in the Media Studies field, ably demonstrating how philosophical ideas can be taken down from the stratosphere and applied to everyday life.
The Guardian