CASTRO, J. C. L.
Lacanian discourses and rhetorical strategies in advertising.
Book of abstracts of the Annual Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR),
Durban (África do Sul),
Resumo: Advertising research is arguably a privileged field of application for concepts like subject, desire, fantasy and enjoyment. These and other psychoanalytic concepts are articulated by Lacan through the theory of discourses, which are expressed by means of formulas with mathematical aspect and are defined as fundamental types of social link. This work intends to show how Lacanian discourses, with the exception of the discourse of the analyst, can be interpreted in the sense of advertising’s general rhetorical strategies. Advertising along the lines of the master discourse corresponds to an impositive approach, and generally shows someone uttering an imperative sentence from a position of assumed authority. The message is straightforward: something like “Buy this!” And, in order to stress it, the ad can make use of big capital letters, exclamation points, emphatic tone, iterations etc. This style was more common in the past, although it has a lasting tradition in political propaganda. The kind of advertising modelled on the discourse of university purportedly makes an appeal to reason, trying to persuade the consumer through sensible arguments, minutiae data and specialized jargon. Like the preceding, it can resort to an authoritative figure, but the authority here comes from the expertise this figure is assumed to have. Typically we find a professional who bears some relationship to the product showcased and can be entrusted to express a sound assessment of it. As for the discourse of hysteria, its game plan is entirely based on seduction. In terms of advertising, the idea is to construct, around a merchanside, a fantasy that would be able to capturate the subject’s desire. A free reign is given to imagination, so that a wide range of situations, involving glamour, romanticism, adventure, exoticism, transgression and the like, can be associated to products. This procedure is frequent, and probably it is the most representative of the general spirit of advertising. Nevertheless, precisely because it is used so much, it can easily develop into clichés and become less effective. Finally, the discourse of capitalism provides the most contemporary strategy for advertising, which puts the consumer in the loop and establishes a complicity with him by way of treating him as someone smart and knowledgeable. The message is subtle, and there are cases in which the product and even the brand are shown in a relatively inconspicuous way, inviting the consumer to fill in the blanks. It should be noted that advertising’s rhetorical strategies can appear combined in several ways.
Palavras-chave: discourses, rhetorics, advertising, consumption, Lacan.