[ONLINE] University of Aveiro, Portugal

October 21, 22 and 23 2020

Institutional advertising and its media repercussion: an analysis of advertising campaigns in the fight against domestic violence

Elayne Esmeraldo Nogueira 
Elsa Simões  
Ana Sani

According to Cook (2001), advertising is one of the most controversial media productions today, partly because it is a relatively new form of media, partly because it is associated with the negative aspects of capitalism, and is still seen as responsible for the increase in competitiveness of the global market economy. The author states advertising generates controversial feelings because, while its productions can be considered fun and intelligent, they are often associated with the problems arising from advancement and economic changes. Economic growth is often associated with an increase in consumption, which according to some authors (among others, Altstiel, Grow, & Jennings, 2020; Thorson & Rodgers, 2012) can potentiate anti-normative processes and social states, which can be expressed through feelings of dissatisfaction or inadequacy, childhood obesity, behavioural issues, consumption of psychotropic substances, among others. Advertising can be either a vehicle that promotes an specific ideologies, such as the culture of consumption, obesity, exclusion or violence, or a mechanism for deconstructing power relations, social inequalities or symbolic processes that can transform or even expand knowledge and produce positive changes for society. The objective of this article was to investigate the production of advertising campaigns in the fight against domestic violence in Portugal, as well as to analyze the campaigns produced by means of discourse analysis. Cook (2001) states that the main focus of discourse analysis is on language, although it is not only related to language. He also examines the context of advertising: who the advertiser is, what is being advertised, to whom ad is addressed and why the ad was created. What means of communication are used and what is their scope? In addition, images or music used in a campaign should be part of the analysis. The author justifies this broad analysis because he understands that acts of communication and internal mechanisms of language cannot be understood separately. Thus, discourse analysis comprehends language and context in a holistic way. Institutional advertising campaigns against domestic violence in Portugal are mainly produced by governmental entities such as CIG – Comissão para a Cidadania e Igualdade de Género, GNR – Guarda Nacional Republicana and by the non-governmental APAV – Associação de Proteção e Apoio à Vítima. However, in recent years, the growing presence of the feminist movement in the media and the growing consumption of media productions on the subject, in addition to the emergence of important manifestations, seem to have served as a context for the development of advertising campaigns against domestic violence by companies which are not directly related to the topic, such as Revista Cristina in 2018, Vodafone, Avon, Meo, Josefinas Portugal in 2019 and Fox Portugal in 2020. Most of the ads are still targeted to victims, although the crime has been public since 2000, which means that it is not necessary for the victim to report it.

Keywords: advertising, public communication campaign, domestic violence