Multiculturalism and Nationalism in Australian Advertisements

2226 words (9 pages) Essay

18th May 2020 Cultural Studies Reference this

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Introduction:

Nowadays, advertisements are all around the world- on television, on the internet, and on large billboards in the streets. There were days that advertisement would introduce the actual benefits of a product to consumers in order to increase their selling rates. However, this old purpose of advertising has changed for years. Advertising manipulates consumer’s choice and spending habits since it’s not only using manipulative tactics but sometimes also is cruel to specific members of the community. Advertising also targets our core values to empower their products and surge our emotions towards that product which increases our desire to buy things that might not be useful for us. Thesis statement: This paper will cover and point out the use of multiculturalism and nationalism in Australian advertisement and the Australian values reflecting contemporary Australian society. The essay analysis will be based on the evaluation of a beer advertising campaign that attempts to illustrate Australian nationalist symbols by using passionate discourses. However, their approach lacked these values and the concept of nationalism and multiculturalism.

Australian values:

This section is on Australian core values of egalitarianism. Australian society values respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy, equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good.

(https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/australian-values)

Australian society values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background. This was evident in early Australian psyche where Australia inherited British values. (Moran, A. 2011, pp 2156). This was maintained throughout Australia’s history. (Moran, A. 2011, pp 2168)

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Australian cultural values are influenced by Australia’s history. Convict settlement, the influence of the British monarchy, indigenous culture and history, an influx of new migrants and globalization of language have all influenced the cultural values Australian hold today. These events in history have enabled Australians to develop values by which they hold themselves, including egalitarianism, mateship, antiauthoritarianism and larrikinism. As pointed out by Moran (2011), Australia was built by courageous, tenacious, and individualistic pioneers who settled and forged the nation (Hirst 1992), and believed in solidaristic, egalitarian, anti-authoritarian, practical, laconic, and easy-going manner. (Moran, A 2011, pp 2156). The identity evolved over time to include aboriginal culture and multiculturalism. (Moran, A 2011, pp 2159)

Body:

The most significant value is that of egalitarianism. This is the doctrine that all people are equal and deserving of equal rights and opportunities. Class distinctions are far less significant in Australian society compared to the United Kingdom where social circles have been constructed around rigid hierarchies. In contrast, Australians of lower socio-economic standing typically do not see themselves as being less equal than privileged Australians. Throughout Australia’s colonial history till today these principles have been maintained (Moran, A 2011, pp 2157).

Australian citizens are mostly from a diverse ethnic background and proud of their background. These ethnolects should be reflected more and more phonological, lexical, syntactical and in semantic features of their respective ethnolects presented to portray cultural diversity in a public space whilst celebrating the Australian value of multiculturalism.

At least 3 reasons of evidence. (Multiculturalism, nationalism, Australian values)

Multiculturalism:

The term ‘Multiculturalism’ has different meanings in different fields. However, multiculturalism in Australian society is the acceptance of ethnic groups, where hundreds of different cultures live peacefully together. Australia is a growing multicultural society, nonetheless yet has not been embraced as a national identity and that rises cultural issues.

Some companies try to sell their products by using national ethnicity. However, the advertising industries are not adequately reflecting the thriving multicultural nation. This reflects the advertisers ignoranc of the fact that Australia’s audience is a multicultural society.

Therefore, once representation of a nation fails to be acknowledged appropriately and truly, the claims of unity and coherence is undone (Khamis, S 2012). Thus, their attempt in analysis of a nation is more divisive than unifying (Khamis, S 2012). They use the core values of a nation to represent a national population in order to create a nation brand for commercial advantages (Khamis, S 2012). In spite of that, many Australian adverts are not displaying a divers multicultural nation and the lack of cultural diversity is very sensible and contentious (Khamis, S 2012) since it’s not leading them to capitalise their commercial values as they aim to.

Nationalism:

Building a brand amongst a multiethnic nation such as Australia, requires lots of marketing strategies to make a real connection, far away from xenophobia and racially-based white British. Since the 1970s, Australia’s national identity has shifted from Britishness to an officially multicultural society (Moran, A 2011), so the commercial agencies. Ever since people notice and cannot tolerate the discrimination and mis-projection of Australian national identity. There are instances that consumers criticism modified the company’s choice and changed their brand’s narrative (Drew, Ch & Gottschall, K 2018). An example of that is the Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA’s) advertising which for over ten years featured Australian national identity into white masculine males (Drew, Ch & Gottschall, K 2018). However, in September 2016, they iterated the January campaign from the same year after criticism from the public due to their lack of diversity (Drew, Ch & Gottschall, K 2018). Apparently, they modified their advertising campaign, yet in actual fact they commodified the idea of diversity and introduced deliberate sarcasm to entertain Anglo-Australian audience (Drew, Ch & Gottschall, K 2018). Such deliberate sarcasm not only does not regulate the significance of nationhood; rather, it puts it into a refutation of a true diverse nation and categorises the Australian character as an Anglo-Australian larrikin/laid back male figure (Drew, Ch & Gottschall, K 2018).    

(Points from secondary source: Prideaux, J 2009, “Consuming Icons: Nationalism and Advertising in Australia *.” Nations and Nationalism 15.4, pp. 616-35.)

Foster’s Ad:

The primary source of discussion in this essay is the ‘I believe’ advertising campaign by the Foster’s beer Group. In this campaign they attempt to use nationalist symbols and discourses. The advertisement begins with representing one of the popular Australian values as such; the Australian slang language of greeting, by saying: G’day. The representing voice is a male who commences to correct common misperceptions about Australians in humorous statements such as “I don’t have a kangaroo for a pet” (Prideaux, J 2009).  Then the voice proclaims a list of substantial national identities whilst metaphors of them is appearing on the screen (Prideaux, J 2009). He brings up non-contentious and common portrays such as World war I and II, iconic landmarks, different ethnic appearance calling them “my brothers”, and couple of other cultural references with Waltzing Matilda (unofficial national anthem of Australia) song in the background which gradually grows louder and stronger throughout the video (Prideaux, J 2009). Correspondingly, the speaker’s voice escalates passionately too (Prideaux, J 2009).

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The commercial endeavoured to figure only uncontroversial nationalism values (Prideaux, J 2009). However, when the voice starts to name people from different ethnic origins, beginning with “my brothers”, the advertising shows Asians holding surfboards in the beach in which it is an Australian practice rather than Asian (Prideaux, J 2009). This is controversial as it means other ethnic backgrounds are welcome providing they follow our lifestyle (Prideaux, J 2009). Moreover, throughout the entire advertising (including mentioning of the different ethnic groups), they exclusively use male characters and examples (Prideaux, J 2009). This figure itself reinforces the masculinist status of nationalism in Australian culture (Prideaux, J 2009) and racism towards women. Finally, he concludes that “Australians brew the world’s best beer. Cheers!”

Since the main aim of this advertising campaign was to make profit and sell their product, they incorporated brewing the best beer as also one of the great Australian values and tradition (Prideaux, J 2009). Their strategy to symbolise their brand as a national identity, tends to enhance their image into a national nostalgia (Prideaux, J 2009) which eventually will increase their selling rate, feeding their major goal.          

These increased attention to the unremarkable symbols of nationalism displayed through war memorials, national anthems and even commercials constantly maintain and create the national identity (Prideaux, J 2009, p. 617). However, the analysis of this issue has taken two paths. As companies are not seen as actors with nationalist objectives, but as operating from purely economic motivations, there is a tendency to treat depictions of nationalism in advertising as an entirely derivative discourse.

  • how brands use symbols of currently vogue expressions of nationalism in order to gain market share.
  • This demonstrates a reasonably instrumental use of advertising as a way of reflecting current community attitudes towards nationalism, and as a method of turning different social identities into identification with a brand.
  • Associating a product with a certain identity is a commonly used approach in advertising and is not limited to using national identities.
  • focuses on the use of ‘universal archetype identities’, identities argued to be familiar to every culture and to form part of a universal human subconscious.
  • companies marketing to a national audience also attempt to reflect and associate themselves with more localised identities that are seen as desirable by consumers. This is particularly the case with nationalism, which is an identity with both a broad appeal and the potential to be differentiated to suit particular markets.
  • nationalist credentials can be defined as the extent to which the company is associated with a particular national identity.
  • the ultimate object of using identity in company advertising is for the company or product to become established as an icon.
  • Companies which are successful at establishing these credentials over a period of time eventually become iconic.

Conclusion:

Australian are so not used to seeing diversity on the media, so that when they do see it, it is very noticeable. It seems distinctive which obviously might make certain people uncomfortable. However, retailors should get to learn to use the opportunity to normalise the multiculturalism approaches and challenge people’s delusions and biases.

Australia is a diverse, multicultural country, and not reflecting this fact in our mainstream media, is a point of disgrace. Thus, now it’s time for the agencies to reconsider their marketing strategies and challenge themselves to become a recognisable brand for every member of the contemporary multicultural Australian and become a beacon in a bizarre turbulent time of bazaar.

 

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