When is a coconut not a coconut?

Abstract:

This paper calls for a reading of advertising discourse in the context of this overwhelming cultural specificity. It is proposed that, to create semiotically relevant discourses, advertising will have to invoke the cultural backdrop and build it into its communication strategy. This paper is based on the central hypothesis that advertising in India cannot escape the context-sensitivity that is so deeply intrinsic to Indian culture. It argues for strong diachronic analysis. It conceptualises modern advertising as one of the communicative variants on a parallel plane with classical literature, folklore, religion, etc. This paper proposes that, as advertising shares a base with other discourses, some significant psychological and thematic continuities should exist. It also calls for a culture-specific sensitivity to the modes of communication.

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