An analysis of skin, identity and tattoos in adsEn analyse af hud, identitet og tatovering i reklamer
This paper discusses how the use of tattoos in advertising renders diverse brand–consumer assemblages visible. In considering advertising practitioners as professionals of entanglement, the paper emphasizes the embeddedness of practitioners’ use of tattoo symbolism in institutionalized marketing systems and in the cultural history of tattooing. In accordance with recent emphasis on the importance of material devices for understanding contemporary sociality, this paper presents a semiotic analysis of a convenience sample of advertisements depicting tattoos. Tattoos are productive for the study of brand–consumer assemblages because they are situated on the human skin, which is a mediator between the individual and the socio-material world. Furthermore, tattoos reproduce discourses of both mainstream fashion and deviant subcultural identification, which imbue tattoo symbolism with communicative potency. This analysis demonstrates how the emergence of brand tattoos in advertising challenges the dominant consumer centrism in consumer research and suggests a networked, emerging understanding of the subject in which agency is distributed in socio-technical assemblages.
Consumption, Markets and Culture, 2013, Vol 16, Issue 3