cultivation theory + application

brief overview of cultivation theory and first hand application of it in the 2010 John Lewis Advertisment

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  • Created on: 14-06-11 15:25
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Cultivation Theory
"They compare the power of
television to the power of religion,
saying that television is to modern
society what religion once was in
earlier times."
Developed by: George Gerbner and Larry Gross of the University of Pennsylvania
Derived from: Several large-scale research projects as part of an overall research
project entitled 'Cultural Indicators' in the 1960's. The purpose of the
project was to identify and track the effects of television on viewers.
They were "concerned with the effects of television programming
(particularly violent programming) on the attitudes and behaviors of
the American public"
Basic overview: Cultivation theory suggests that exposure to television, over time,
subtly develops and adapts viewers' perceptions of reality. Cultivation
research looks at the mass media as a socializing agent and investigates
whether television viewers come to believe the television version of
reality the more they watch it. Those who watch four or more hours a
day are labeled heavy television viewers and those who view less than
four hours per day are light viewers. Heavy viewers are exposed to
more violence and therefore believe that the world is worse than it
actually is. According to Gerbner, the overuse of television is creating a
uniform and fearful populace.
Cultivation theory
in the John Lewis
advert: The John Lewis advert portrays the stereotypical family idea ; Going to
university, meeting your future spouse in your youth, marrying them,
having children and growing old together. The advert does not really
imply the real world, where divorce's etc are a regular occurrence.
Instead it bases its views on the traditional idea, which gives the
impression to the audience that this is the norm. Audiences have been
`cultivated' to believe that this is how families should be through media
such as this advert as they refuse to show more realistic alternatives.
The advert appeals to the middle class section of the market, and
encourages them to believe that if they buy John Lewis products then
their lives will be much more fulfilled and happier. In a way, the advert
shows a fairytale world that is actually nonexistent but made to appear
believable; the suggestion throughout the advert is that you can buy
into this happiness by purchasing their products. The advert also
incorporates the modern idea of having a `working mother' ­ in one of the
clips the mum clearly is employed as she is wearing a business suit,
however she is also seen baking with her children and being a traditional
mother figure within the home. This sends out the message to the
audience that women can have the `best of both worlds' and that they can
work and still have plenty of time to spend with their children. The

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Cultivation Theory
advert gives a positive image of the role of women in society which
could, through frequent viewing, cause audience members to believe
this is the norm.…read more


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