| Home| Personal BLog| Compositions| Health Avenue| Places| UnEditedMe| Philippines| Monk|

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Crying Sheikh Toyota Prius Advertisement

Here is the beginning of my post. Running Head: TEXTUAL ANALYSIS, INTERPELLATION AND HEGEMONY

Textual Analysis, Interpellation and Hegemony of the Crying Sheikh Toyota Prius

Textual Analysis, Interpellation and Hegemony of the Crying Sheikh Toyota Prius Advertisement
Toyota Prius “Crying Sheikh” advertisement (“ad “for brevity) has the following statement: “Unfortunate for some.” Without telling the whole story, the viewer of the image and the text together would understand the meaning that the advertisement is trying to express: Toyota Prius is a type of car that would not use a lot of oil to run. The Sheikh in the advertisement campaign symbolizes the rich Arabs who are usually associated with oil wells and global oil production and industry.

The ad promotes environmental consciousness: Love the environment, use lesser oil. Use lesser oil, thus buy Toyota Prius. Why myth and/or ideology? Because with the use of a hybrid car, such as the Toyota Prius, it does not mean that one has really saved the environment or has hurt the rich Sheikhs. Hybrid cars still use oil. The ideologies presented in the ad is however very strong, especially for those who are very environment conscious. In advertising and sales, determining your market and knowing what makes them buy is very essential. In fact, “the most influential among them are socially conscious, economically responsible and interested in protecting the environment. They have made the Toyota Prius the hot car of the moment (despite a 44% increase in its global production, there are more people on the waiting list than there are cars heading to dealerships). They eat organic, vegetarian and raw foods to preserve the environment and respect their bodies. They shun big businesses, refuse to wear fur, and flock to such brands as Carhartt and Camper because they are 'well made'.” (Kirby & Marsden, 2006, p. 211)

The interpellation in the Toyota Prius “Crying Sheikh” advertisement works in the following manner:

1. The Sheikh is crying because he has (and will have) losses from oil sales;
2. Losses from oil sales was caused by lesser consumption of oil due to the use of hybrid cars;
3. Hybrid cars consume lesser oil, therefore it is more environment friendly;
4. Are you environment friendly too? Then buy the hybrid car!
5. Yes, I am environment friendly, I am buying the hybrid car… I am buying a Toyota Prius!

Before falling in the trap of the ideological hail, which is being environment friendly, I would look closely first in the overall picture surrounding Toyota Prius. Personally, I rarely get in the traps of advertisements, thus, I am rejecting the hailing. I can always be a protector of the environment in another way, not only by purchasing the Prius.
Does the Toyota Prius “Crying Sheikh” advertisement use multiple voices as a narrative mode within a text, where "all languages merge and blend" (Short, 1992, p. 145)? Does the text persuade me to look at it in various ways or does it force me to read it how it wants me to be read it? Being an informed reader in general, yours truly find it difficult to look at the advertisement in another way. It has only one route to read the text: there is the “unfortunate” and it is coupled by a “crying Sheikh”. What else can I think? Naturally, I can think that one of the Sheik’s wives might have died but if the subject is the car, the only relevance that points to the Sheikh is the oil.

The ad admits, acknowledges and concedes: the oil industry is largely influenced by Arabians, represented by the Sheikh in the image. The ad indicates that it is unfortunate for the Sheikh but it does not mean that much, it can be only a few millions in hundreds of billions of the Sheikh’s earnings anyway. But the fact that the Sheikh “is crying” makes a lot of difference.
The ad negotiates the dominant ideology. Having the Sheikh himself cry makes it appear like an appeal to the public, and it represents humility. Yes, indeed, the message that we have to take care of the environment is there, but by doing so, we make someone else cry and show humility at the same time.

The Sheik’s cry may mean as an appeal, but since he is “the Sheikh”, it is quite difficult for the common individuals to have sympathy for him. Thus, the dominant ideology of saving the environment prevails over saving the crying Sheikh!

Kirby, J. & Marsden, P. (Eds.). (2006). Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution. Oxford, England: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Short, B. C. (1992). Herman Melville's Rhetorical Development Herman Melville's Rhetorical Development. Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press.

No comments:

Post a Comment