عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction and statement of the problem:
The critical analysis of media discourse as an attempt to characterize the features and to unravel the hidden layers of such discourse has recently attracted many scholars. Meanwhile, advertisement, which has been an influential genre of media discourse, has been a focus of many scholars to launch critical discourse analysis research on them. This is because advertising employs multitude of persuasion techniques in order to convince people to buy certain products. The complexity of the ideological, social, and psychological considerations readily lends the ads genre for such investigations. Moreover, the differential assumptions of the ads targeting men and women are among the interesting factors attracting scholars in that it opens up a legitimate area of investigation. Iranian television ads were selected for investigation in this study as they supposedly address the audience in a culturally tendentious way making it different from similar ads in other countries.
According to Williamson (1978), the commercial ads not only try to convince people to buy certain products, but also seek to change the worldview of people. They try to change the mentality of the people in order to create the feeling of lack and need of certain products through employing language and meta-language techniques and building several ideological assumptions (Geis, 1982). Similarly, Vestergaard and Schroder (1994) consider commercial ads as tools to bring about ideological changes in the minds of the people. This is specially the case when a product is introduced in a society where the hunch is that people might not welcome. Commercial products impose themselves to the civilizations and ads are attempts to ensure their survival. The ads producers, just like the producers of commercial products, are intelligent observers of the tendencies and ambitions of the people who envisage the need and do their best to persuade people to follow the line.
A discourse analysis view of the ads is an attempt to find out about such attempts and perhaps the legitimacy of such intent. In the meantime, the fact that different products target men and women, the ads employ completely different paths according to the different world the two genders belong to or the ambitions the two genders pursue. Television ads address a larger population as compared to other types and this makes television ads a more serious topic of investigation due to the probable extensive ideological and social consequences.
Methodology: For the purpose of this study ten Iranian television ads recently aired form the national channels were chosen. Five ads were selected from among the ads targeting the men and the other five were chosen from among the ones targeting the women. The ads were precisely examined for language and meta-language according to Cook (1998), Vestergaard and Schroder (1994) and Godard (2001). The setting, the characters, the effects, and the language the characters employed were all closely examined to find out the assumptions and the ambitions the producers of the ads had considered.
Results and discussion:
It was found that the metalinguistic features of the ads targeting women mostly assume that women are housewives and are mostly obliged to do the chores at home. The settings are mostly limited to the homes. Furthermore, they are seen as consumers and favorer of the modern technologies as opposed to the traditional and mostly manual procedures. Of course, in some cases and contrary to the established mentality, women are encouraged to get out of home and take part in social activities.
The language employed by the characters of the women ads mostly suggested that they prefer beauty, cleanliness, smartness, kindness and socialization.
As for men, it was seen that the meta-language, the setting and the characters show that the men are policy makers, social and outside actors who have the priority over the women at home. However, in some ads, contrary to the established mindset, men are seen as working at home and the kitchen while the women are resting or attending social events.
The language used by the characters suggests masculinity and superiority in a fairly and smartly inbuilt manner. Men are shown to welcome technology, fast food and they frequently appear to accept the role traditionally exclusively assumed by women. Consumerism is also encouraged among men just like among the women.
Conclusion: Some of the results show that the cliché role of men and women (that is outside and social activities for men and inside and house activities for women) is mostly assumed and encouraged in most ads. Nevertheless, some ads try to change the established and taken for granted mentalities and try to introduce social activities for women and inside and chore activities for men.
Prominent result: The ads signal gradual departure from the cliché roles of men and women and encourage role changes primarily to promote consumerism while bringing about radical changes in ideological assumptions. However, the traditionally established values persist in the ads and the traditionally established mentalities are frequently employed perhaps mostly to encourage the predominantly conservative society