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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2013
Thesis number: 13118
Myths of masculinity in luxury advertising - constructing an ideal male consumer
Author: Säkäjärvi, Sini
Title: Myths of masculinity in luxury advertising - constructing an ideal male consumer
Year: 2013  Language: fin
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; mainonta; advertising; ylellisyystavarat; luxury goods; kohderyhmät; target groups; miehet; men; semiotiikka; semiotics
Pages: 102
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13118.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1572414)
Key terms: myth; mythology; marketplace mythology; semiotics; visual social semiotics; masculinity; manhood; advertising; luxury
The purpose of this study was to explore the meanings of advertising in the context of luxury. More specifically, in this study different myths related to masculinity that are used in luxury advertising were examined and the changes of these myths were discovered. In this way, the changing story of ideal picture of manhood was examined. While women characters in advertisements have got a lot of attention in earlier studies, there seemed to be a lack of studying men and especially the topic how men are constructed in advertising. More specifically, although the change of manhood in advertising has been studied before, this research has been mainly done based on men's identity construction through advertising. Instead, a construction of an ideal male consumer through advertising has received significantly less attention and this is the research gap I have focused on in this thesis.

The aim of this study is to find meanings that are communicated visually through luxury advertising. The meanings under research are related to mythologies and changing myth of masculinity in today's consumption context. The core idea of this empirical research is to find out what kinds of mythical stories are hidden visually in luxury advertising, how these meanings have been changed between the years 1996-2012 and what kind of picture of an ideal man consumer is constructed through these changed stories. In this study 12 different campaign images by Dolce & Gabbana between the years 1996 and 2012 were chosen for the analysis. The method used in this analysis was visual social semiotics, because through this theory it was possible to understand more deeply the hidden meanings in a form of mythologies in these campaign images.

The key findings of this study were the three myths of masculinity found from the 12 campaign images by Dolce & Gabbana: the juxtaposition between the genders, the changing power of men and the changed ideal picture of male consumer. What was important to notice in these myths was the fact that the three myths of masculinity seem to change concurrently with the cultural and societal beliefs and values. Based on this, also the picture of an ideal male consumer has changed over time from the idealization of hegemonic masculinity to the idealization of a "new man", who has adopted more feminine characteristics both in appearance and behavior than ever before.
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