Zhao, Wei (2019) Advertising Thinking: To investigate the use of “the story” in creative advertising in the West and analyse its possible application in China. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The central aim of this study is to combine theorist Roland Barthes’ ideas on visual and textual thinking with leading contemporary approaches to Western advertising design with a view to their possible application in China. The result is a newly coined concept the present author refers to as ‘Advertising Thinking’. This new term puts forward a fresh method that goes beyond the conventional way of dealing with advertising design.

At present, there are very few in-depth studies of advertising in China, making it crucial for Chinese designers, creative directors, design tutors, entrepreneurs and business people to gain a better understanding of the subject. The intention is for this understanding developed in the current study to enable China’s advertising industry and its discourse to go beyond the superficial stage it is presently at.

In order to achieve this an in-depth analysis of the status quo of China’s story creative advertising history is needed. From this it can be seen that imitation, celebrity endorsement and the lack of aesthetic appeal in Chinese advertising design are issues that urgently need to be addressed. Through an in-depth study of advertising theory key concepts in advertising need to be explored. Following an introduction that outlines the key concepts in Barthes’ writing – hidden meaning, narrative, and emotion - numerous case studies are explored in the chapters that follow to demonstrate different approaches to Advertising Thinking. These case studies include: Sandy Hook ‘Even’ (USA) 2016; Stay in School (Australia) 2014; Coca Cola ‘Pool Boy’ (USA) 2017; and Black Currant Tango ‘St George’ (UK) 1996. Following this, the research analyses five Chinese advertisements. From the analysis of these case studies it can be seen that Chinese advertisers and advertising professionals need to critically explore Chinese traditional culture and apply key concepts in contemporary Western advertising theory - a number of points are made that are crucial to moving Chinese advertising design forwards so that it can realise its potential.

FINAL THESIS - Zhao Wei.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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