In this paper, we present an analysis of TV commercials of Italian corporations that are active both on the Italian and the US markets. TV commercials contribute to build and shape the corporate identity as defined in its broad sense as “the way in which an organization’s identity is revealed through behaviour, communications as well as through symbolism to internal and external audiences” (Van Riel & Balmer, 1997, p. 341). On this premise, we looked at the messages conveyed by commercials targeted at US consumers compared to those designed for Italian consumers. Our corpus comprises ten TV commercials, five targeted at the US market, and five to the Italian one. Each American commercial is paralleled with an Italian one on the basis of three criteria: a) they both advertise the same brand; b) they both advertise the same product; c) they were both broadcast in the same time frame. Therefore our corpus consists of two commercials for each of the following brands: Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Barilla, Ferrero, Birra Moretti. The methodology is the one devised by Di Ferrante (2005) and the analysis of the commercial is both quantitative and qualitative. Each frame is analyzed as the minimal unit of analysis; verbal, non-verbal, and iconic elements (Dogana, 1990; Kres & VAN Leeuwen, 2006) all represent the variables of the analysis. The quantitative analysis made it possible to identify both those elements that all the commercials have in common and also those that while characterizing the US commercials, separate them from the Italian ones in terms of communicative style and in terms of content. The qualitative analysis, supported by some of the data which emerged from the quantitative analysis, not only showed differences between the two cultures, but also revealed that the messages devised for the US market are sharply different from those targeted at an Italian audience, disclosing sometimes dissociative identities related to the corporations. In other words, each brand not only adapts (Mooij 2010) its products and goods by translating certain references from one culture to another (e.g. Italian bread vs. American bread in the Nutella commercials), but the Italian corporations also seem to change their brand identities in terms of audiences they aim at reaching and in terms of qualities with which they represent themselves. It is for example, the case of Barilla identifying itself with the traditional family in the Italian commercial and with the first date and love dynamics in the US one. Di Ferrante, L. (2005). “Fabbriche di parole per piccoli consumatori.” In Maria Catricalà (ed.) Metodologie della ricerca linguistica italiana, Edizioni Eucos, Roma. pp. 158-196. Dogana, F. (1990). Le parole dell’incanto. Milano: Franco Angeli. Kres, R. & VAN Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: the grammar of visual design. London: Routledge. Mooij, M. K. (2010). Global marketing and advertising: Understanding cultural paradoxes. Los Angeles: SAGE. Van Riel, C.B.M. & Balmer, G.M.T. (1997). “Corporate identity: the concept, its measurement and management.” European Journal of Marketing 31.5/6, pp. 340-355

Dissociative identities: a multi-modal discourse analysis of TV commercials of Italian products in Italy and in the USA

Pizziconi S
2016-01-01

Abstract

In this paper, we present an analysis of TV commercials of Italian corporations that are active both on the Italian and the US markets. TV commercials contribute to build and shape the corporate identity as defined in its broad sense as “the way in which an organization’s identity is revealed through behaviour, communications as well as through symbolism to internal and external audiences” (Van Riel & Balmer, 1997, p. 341). On this premise, we looked at the messages conveyed by commercials targeted at US consumers compared to those designed for Italian consumers. Our corpus comprises ten TV commercials, five targeted at the US market, and five to the Italian one. Each American commercial is paralleled with an Italian one on the basis of three criteria: a) they both advertise the same brand; b) they both advertise the same product; c) they were both broadcast in the same time frame. Therefore our corpus consists of two commercials for each of the following brands: Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Barilla, Ferrero, Birra Moretti. The methodology is the one devised by Di Ferrante (2005) and the analysis of the commercial is both quantitative and qualitative. Each frame is analyzed as the minimal unit of analysis; verbal, non-verbal, and iconic elements (Dogana, 1990; Kres & VAN Leeuwen, 2006) all represent the variables of the analysis. The quantitative analysis made it possible to identify both those elements that all the commercials have in common and also those that while characterizing the US commercials, separate them from the Italian ones in terms of communicative style and in terms of content. The qualitative analysis, supported by some of the data which emerged from the quantitative analysis, not only showed differences between the two cultures, but also revealed that the messages devised for the US market are sharply different from those targeted at an Italian audience, disclosing sometimes dissociative identities related to the corporations. In other words, each brand not only adapts (Mooij 2010) its products and goods by translating certain references from one culture to another (e.g. Italian bread vs. American bread in the Nutella commercials), but the Italian corporations also seem to change their brand identities in terms of audiences they aim at reaching and in terms of qualities with which they represent themselves. It is for example, the case of Barilla identifying itself with the traditional family in the Italian commercial and with the first date and love dynamics in the US one. Di Ferrante, L. (2005). “Fabbriche di parole per piccoli consumatori.” In Maria Catricalà (ed.) Metodologie della ricerca linguistica italiana, Edizioni Eucos, Roma. pp. 158-196. Dogana, F. (1990). Le parole dell’incanto. Milano: Franco Angeli. Kres, R. & VAN Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: the grammar of visual design. London: Routledge. Mooij, M. K. (2010). Global marketing and advertising: Understanding cultural paradoxes. Los Angeles: SAGE. Van Riel, C.B.M. & Balmer, G.M.T. (1997). “Corporate identity: the concept, its measurement and management.” European Journal of Marketing 31.5/6, pp. 340-355
9781137507686
TV commercials, discourse analysis, Italian culture, Italian brands, US perception of Italian culture
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/341999
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