Decoding Advertising

Decoding Advertising is a book written by Judith Williamson in 1978. I have read this book during my last term at uni because my tutors thought that it would be interesting for me to read, plus they thought that it would be academically challenging for me. I did found that this book was very interesting and I learned many new advertising techniques through it. It was enjoyable in sections but it was a very difficult book to read with overly complicated explanations. Everything that Williamson has written down is well explained and has sunk into my head however; I am no better at articulating what I know subconsciously on paper and to other people yet I have more understanding about adverts.

Advertising is ‘one of the most important cultural factors moulding and reflecting our life today’ (Williamson, 1978, page 30). Williamson successfully but long windily explores all the ways this happens from colours to split screens to science to ‘The Natural’ to magic and how advertisers create new ideologies, misrepresenting the real world (Williamson, 1978).

This book is full of Williamson’s opinions just like that one but some of them I am not in 100% agreement with. For instance, she states that every ad should be interoperated (Williamson, 1978) but in my opinion I feel that if ads are investigated and interpreted then they will loose the magic that they might be conveying to their audiences like the John Lewis Christmas ads that never cease to amaze the public. Another opinion of hers is that ads are designed to indirectly evoke emotion (Williamson, 1978) but evoking emotion is what charities preferred to do because it is more successful in raising awareness and donations. Thus showing that the book is missing a section but back in the 70s shock and extreme emotional advertising was not widely used.

Overall this is a book is very good for educational purposes but not for holidays.

If you would like this book you can buy this book on Amazon.


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