Advances in Economics and Business Vol. 6(6), pp. 353 - 366
DOI: 10.13189/aeb.2018.060601
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Specific Uses of Angels, Devils, Heaven and Hell in Advertising


Costin Popescu *
Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest, Romania

ABSTRACT

Advertising looks into every field of the social practice for symbols that, associated to products, help it sell them better. It could not miss the religious symbols. This article examines changes in representations and meanings of angels, devils, Heaven, and Hell confirmed or brought about by advertisements. As the literature indicates, the amount of commercial messages using religious themesAdvertising looks into every field of the social practice for symbols that, associated to products, help it sell them better. It could not miss the religious symbols. This article examines changes in representations and meanings of angels, devils, Heaven, and Hell confirmed or brought about by advertisements. As the literature indicates, the amount of commercial messages using religious themes (especially the amount of advertisements using the four themes) is small. The corpus was created by browsing the 2005 and 2015 issues of four glossy magazines and by collecting advertisements from different media: news magazines, magazines for women, important producers' sites, advertising sites, out-of-home. The componential analysis and the visual semiotics offered the ways to examine the corpus; readings from scientific literature on the four religious themes and a questionnaire whose respondents were graduate students of the Consulting and Expertise in Advertising program, University of Bucharest, helped complete the research. The distinctive features of angels, devils, Heaven, and Hell, as they were presented by researchers of the Christian faith, are compared to features that graduate students, part of popular culture, and advertising ascribe them. Angels and devils have become symbols of high intensity experiences, meant to improve humans' existential condition. Every space where an individual invests subjective energy intended to raise him / her from monotonous life can become Heaven. Hell is matter for irony (we read Hell to understand Heaven) or instrument of blackmails (who does not use the products arrives there). Given the small number of advertisements in the corpus, this research can be qualified as an attempt to answer a difficult question: how to investigate more attentively a process, the use of religious themes in advertising, that everybody notice, but whose breadth and effects are not yet sufficiently determined. (especially the amount of advertisements using the four themes) is small. The corpus was created by browsing the 2005 and 2015 issues of four glossy magazines and by collecting advertisements from different media: news magazines, magazines for women, important producers’ sites, advertising sites, out-of-home. The componential analysis and the visual semiotics offered the ways to examine the corpus; readings from scientific literature on the four religious themes and a questionnaire whose respondents were graduate students of the Consulting and Expertise in Advertising program, University of Bucharest, helped complete the research. The distinctive features of angels, devils, Heaven, and Hell, as they were presented by researchers of the Christian faith, are compared to features that graduate students, part of popular culture, and advertising ascribe them. Angels and devils have become symbols of high intensity experiences, meant to improve humans’ existential condition. Every space where an individual invests subjective energy intended to raise him / her from monotonous life can become Heaven. Hell is matter for irony (we read Hell to understand Heaven) or instrument of blackmails (who does not use the products arrives there). Given the small number of advertisements in the corpus, this research can be qualified as an attempt to answer a difficult question: how to investigate more attentively a process, the use of religious themes in advertising, that everybody notice, but whose breadth and effects are not yet sufficiently determined.

KEYWORDS
Visual Semiotics, Componential Analysis, Angels, Devils, Heaven, Hell

Cite this paper
Costin Popescu . "Specific Uses of Angels, Devils, Heaven and Hell in Advertising." Advances in Economics and Business 6.6 (2018) 353 - 366. doi: 10.13189/aeb.2018.060601.