Webisodes: The Work of Advertisement in the Age of Digital Reproduction


A group of Cultural Production students and faculty are, somewhat playfully, producing a series of “webisodes” which we are terming, in homage to Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Advertisement in the Age of Digital Reproduction.” We’re fascinated by recent ads, especially those that in one way or another reference the problem of “culture”, and which move back and forth between social lives on television and on the internet. What do these ads signify and what happens to them as they circulate through global circuits of knowledge, reception and reinterpretation?

Possible Ads to Discuss:

1. Burger King’s new “Whopper Virgin” campaign. See the extended ad at:

http://www.whoppervirgins.com/

Filmed in documentary fashion, the ad purports to document taste tests going to “untouched” parts of the world (Romania, Greenland, Thailand) to encounter people who have never tasted hamburgers or seen fast food ads, to have the choose between the Big Mac and the Whopper. What are the ideological dimensions of these ads? To what extent do they seem to “work”? How are they, in turn, “read” in different parts of the world?

2. Nikon S60 Camera ads, promoting the camera's face-focusing features:

http://contexts.org/socimages/2008/12/15/nikon-s60-auto-focuses-on-voyeurs-savages-ghosts/

which include focusing on the faces of "primitives" in a jungle and ghosts in a hotel room.

Stay tuned for the webisodes!