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Good Guys: A Cultural Semiotic Study of the Print Advertising of the Oil Industry (1900-2000)
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Language and Culture. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Oil is central to our lives and is the source of many of the conveniences that we take for granted. It can bring wealth and prosperity to individuals and to nations, but is also a source of political conflict and the consequences of its impact on the environment are only now beginning to be fully recognised.

The oil companies have been leaders in the development of marketing and branding and this thesis traces the history of the oil industry and analyses the different forms of print advertisements that its major companies have produced over a period of some hundred years, from the industry’s infancy until 2012. It takes a cultural semiotic perspective to investigate and reveal the ways in which the companies have adapted their advertising messages to the prevailing socio-political conditions to reflect current attitudes and to guide both public opinion and national policy. The analyses demonstrate how the companies have responded to different crises and to increasing globalisation and how they have engineered a shift from product to presence and from oil to energy to communicate a more environment-friendly image.

A close reading of the advertisements produced by the companies shows how they have cast themselves in the mythical role of the indefatigable hero whose mission is the common good. Moreover, it uncovers the different heroic personalities that they have acquired and adopted over time to differentiate their products and services.

Abstract [sv]

Olja är en central faktor i våra liv och en källa till många av de bekvämligheter som vi tar för givna. Den kan bringa nationer och individer rikedom och välstånd men den kan också ge upphov till politiska konflikter – och dess miljökonsekvenser börjar först nu bli helt klarlagda.

Oljebolagen har varit ledande inom marknadsföring och branding. Denna avhandling följer oljeindustrins historia och analyserar de tryckta annonser som de stora oljebolagen har producerat under en period av drygt hundra år, från oljeindustrins barndom till och med 2012. Utifrån ett kultursemiotiskt perspektiv undersöks och klarläggs hur bolagen har anpassat sina reklambudskap till rådande sociopolitiska förhållanden och på så sätt sökt både spegla gängse attityder och styra opinionsbildning och politik. Analyserna visar hur bolagen, som svar på olika kriser och en ökande globalisering, har förändrat sina budskap. Dels har ett fokus på produkten ersatts av ett fokus på närvaro, dels har olja ersatts av energi, allt för att kommunicera en mer miljövänlig image.

En närläsning av bolagens annonser visar hur de konstant har framställt sig själva som den oförtröttlige hjälten vars mål är det allmänna bästa samt vilka olika hjälteskepnader de har iklätt sig över tid.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. , 317 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 621Studies in Language and Culture, ISSN 1403-2570 ; 25
Keyword [en]
Oil industry, brand, print advertisements, communication, cultural semiotics, dialogism, myth, rhetoric, 20th century
Keyword [sv]
Oljeindustrin, branding, tryckta annonser, kommunikation, kultursemiotik, dialogism, myt, retorik, 1900-talet
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106721DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-106721Libris ID: 19478028ISBN: 9789175193182 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-106721DiVA: diva2:718139
Public defence
2014-06-05, Key1, Key Building, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Images removed due to copyright.

For a complete copy contact ep@ep.liu.se or pamela.vang@liu.se

Available from: 2014-05-20 Created: 2014-05-20 Last updated: 2017-01-31Bibliographically approved

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