Imagine a sunset, a beach, palm trees, soft Caribbean music, and a beautiful woman with sensuous lips, tan skin and colorful flowers in her long blond hair and a glass in her hand. The glass is filled with delicious Bacardi rum and ice cubes that move as though dancing in the glass and following the rhythm of the music. It's sublime. It's paradise.
We remember these images from Bacardi cinema advertisements aired some thirty years ago. The concept of paradise is a well-known metaphor in tourism marketing and literature. An internet search for the two words "tourism" and "paradise" together through Google results in 1,840,000 hits, which illustrates how connected these two words are. The touristic image of exotic sites, landscapes and experiences is not limited to tourism marketing and tourism literature, but is also used in many commercials and marketing connections. It is even possible to speak of a certain touristic aesthetics including specific tourist signs, experiences and global visual images (Urry, 2002, Jansson, 2002, Larsen, 2001, Osborne, 2000, Waade, 2006). In this essay, I will analyse and discuss the use of visual and metaphorical presentations of "paradise" and "the good life" in two different commercial series: the Bacardi rum advertisements from the '70s and the '80s, and Danish National Lottery (Lotto) advertisements presented to a Danish cinema audience in the '80s and '90s. My main argument is that the imagination is key to understanding and analysing commercials and their aesthetic function, and that the viewers' imagination is not only an effect of a specific commercial, but rather is incorporated and reflected in commercials' communicative intention and aesthetics. My aim is to outline a theoretical framework for understanding the imagination as involving cognitive, emotional and sensuous processes, respectively.
First, I will present theoretical perspectives on the relation between the aesthetic function of commercials and the consumer's imagination as well as the relation between moving pictures as a specific aesthetic and mediated communication and the receiver's imagination. Next, I will analyse the two commercial series and focus on how "paradise" and "the good life" are performed and presented in them. In the Bacardi series, the concept of paradise is related to the product's origin and a certain tourist rhetoric and image, as well as to alcoholic intoxication and a "trip" to a liminal, sublime, heavenly condition. In the Lotto series, images of a good life are related to consumption itself: Consuming exotic places as a tourist (using paradise as a visual and oral metaphor again, as in the Bacardi commercials), consuming goods, and luxury. In the last part of my essay, I will discuss how the concept of the consumer's imagination is reflected and communicated in the commercials.
The concept of imagination regarding commercials can be developed from several different theoretical points of view. Firstly, imagination is an issue in relation to consumer culture (e.g. Colin Campbell 1987, Michel Maffesoli 1997), and secondly the concept has been developed in the field of media and film studies (e.g. Edgar Morin 1956/2005). Imagination is also a theoretical issue in the field of art philosophy and art reception (e.g. Immanuel Kant, 1790), as well as psychology and cognition (e.g. Mark Thompson 1987). The theoretical perspectives include cultural, aesthetic and psychological aspects of imagination in relation to commercials. In this essay I will focus on recent works presented in the field of media research dealing with imagination as it is related to consumer culture and media reception, and relate these ideas to the analysis of the specific commercials.
The consumer imagination
Imaginative consumption differs from physical, concrete consumption (e.g. buying a pair of shoes) and mediated consumption (e.g. seeing a person buying a pair of shoes in a television commercial). Imaginative consumption means all kinds of consumption that take place in a person's mind, all his/her fantasies, daydreams and plans about, for instance, buying a pair of shoes, including how s/he might look wearing the shoes, how they feel to put on, to walk in, to show off and so on (Jansson 2002, Waade 2006).
Imagination is one of several communication functions in commercials and marketing; others could be a didactic function (how to use the Swifter or the car cleaner), price (cheap cucumbers!) or an emotive function that identifies the addresser's ethos (e.g. financing and security firms). In Roman Jakobson's communication model (Fiske 2000, p. 35), the imagination is related to the conative function: the effect of the message on the addressee. Imagination is a specific communicative effect that the commercial pursues, and this effect has its particular relevance in relation to products and services that help the consumer to build his or her own lifestyle and identity. I am thinking of branded products, luxury goods, lifestyle products and experiences like fashion, jewellery, lipstick, cars, kitchens, houses, shoes, design, gastronomy, holidays and trips as well as products and services that make it possible to achieve these branded goods and experiences such as bank loans, credit and lotteries.
The consumer's imagination is a mental landscape of self-presentation, a kind of inverted psychological projection in which the consumer imagines how the product, the service or the experience could enter his/her own world or relate to his or her own body. Even though, for instance, imagination involves how it could be to lie in a hammock far away from home on a sunny beach drinking soft drinks served by young, strong, erotic men, the projection is inverted because the experience is transferred into the consumer's own bodily experience. More precisely, we can use Edgar Morin's term projection identification process (Morin 2005:85ff), in which the viewer relates him or herself to the (film) object in a complex process involving the viewer's understanding, emotions and imagination.
Imaginative hedonistic consumption
There is an ongoing fusion between media culture and consumer culture, and when trying to sort out different patterns of contemporary consumption, we become aware of several connections to media representation and media reception. In his book Image Culture (2002), André Jansson discusses the relation between media and consumer culture, and he points out different modes of consumption in which the media plays different roles. Instrumental consumption is anti-consumerist and gratifies certain physical and material needs in efficient ways; hedonistic consumption is about pleasure seeking and describes how the individuals try to maximize the bodily pleasure that may be achieved through consumption; reproductive consumption covers an expressive component in which consumption is used to mark social distinctions, and pretentious consumption is about shaping identity and social roles through consumption (Jansson 2002: 51f). Jansson is developing the different modes of consumption based on cultural theories.  In this connection, the concept of hedonistic consumption is relevant, and especially the imaginative hedonistic mode of consumption. Inspired by the work of Colin Campbell, Jansson differentiates between realistic and imaginative hedonistic consumption, in which the first concerns pleasure seeking and sensory stimulation without the aim of trying something new but rather of minimizing the risk of failure, while the latter concerns the symbolic dimensions of commodity and pleasure sought via emotional and spiritual stimulation:
The typical imaginative hedonist is a day-dreamer, hoping to experience the kind of higher spiritual joy promised by the image of certain goods - rather than by its material properties. Past experiences are of little concern, what becomes enticing to the imaginative hedonist is the fantasy of gaining really new sensations (Jansson, 2002: 52ff).
The emergence of imaginative hedonism is caused by the mediatization of consumption in contemporary culture as well as by the intensification of the symbolic aspects of commodities - "advertising being the principal forum for romantic image creation" (Jansson, 2002, p. 53). Consumption is clearly not only about consuming goods, but an important aspect of it is the individual's creation of images and production of fantasies related to consumption. And to help create these images, marketing objects become important through such media as commercials, posters and advertisements as well as lifestyle television series, travel magazines, literature, lotteries and computer games. There is an aesthetic relation between the reader/viewer and the object, similar to the way we used to think about the relation between an artwork and the museum visitor. A certain contemplative receptive mode is in play in which the consumer projects his or her own feelings and memories, creates images, produces fantasies and dreams and evokes reflections related to the sensuous experience of the object (e.g. media text, picture, advertisement) (Kaare Nielsen, 2002: 57ff).
The contemplative mode characterizes the reader's reception of fashion and lifestyle magazines, as well as of make over and lifestyle series. The pictures and use of the camera - such as close ups, slow motion, stills, repetitions, and the absence of interfering speech and text - make it possible to dwell on and absorb the image. The basic premise in factual entertainment series is the good mood (Bruun 1999), and the reflexive concept these series deal with is the question, What is the good life? The way the series is produced and staged invites the viewer to reflect upon this question through cognitive, imaginative and emotional investments - for instance, the viewer is supposed to reflect on her answers to certain questions: Does it look better or worse? How does it feel to touch this object? Or how would it be to be in her place? (Carlsen & Frandsen, 2005:24ff). This basic premise and question is also relevant to other kinds of lifestyle journalism, magazines and media entertainment, as well as to lifestyle commercials and advertising.
Image schemata and affective participation
Mark Johnson's book The Body in the Mind (1987) offers some relevant and interesting perspectives on the concept of imagination. And inspired by Immanuel Kant's philosophy, he develops a theory of imagination and image schemata that reflects the relation between bodily experience and cognitive processes. Kant understood imagination as a capacity for organizing mental representations into meaningful units, and suggested four different functions of the imagination: reproductive (imagination as representations), productive (imagination as structuring experiences over time), schematizing (imagination as mediating between abstract concepts and sensuous, bodily experiences) and creative (imagination as free and generating novel meaning and new structures in our experience) (Johnson 1987:165). Johnson criticises the traditional dualism in Western philosophy (body/spirit, reason/ imagination, science/art, cognition/ emotion) and argues that imagination is related to corporeal experiences and sensations. In relation to Kant's four functions, Johnson suggests the concept of imaginative structures as a way to develop his ideas. These structures include image schemata and metaphorical projections. The first is a "recurring, dynamic pattern of our perceptual interactions and motor programs that gives coherence and structure to our experience" (p. xiv), and he uses the expression "more is up" to exemplify image schemata and to explain how this basic vertical structure works (e.g. in relation to prices, numbers, earnings) and to indicate that these schemata are related to the basic up/down bodily experience. Regarding the process of metaphorical projection, it is "not merely a linguistic mode of expressions, rather, it is one of the chief cognitive structures by which we are able to have coherent ordered experiences that we can reason about and make sense of" (p. xv). Imagination is closely connected to Johnson's understanding of metaphor, and it grows out of bodily experience as it contributes to our understanding and guides our reasoning.
Rather than discussing the theoretical and philosophical implications of Johnson's perspectives, I will suggest that the concept of paradise functions as a specific image schema in respect to the context of consumer culture rather than a religious codex. I will argue that in a secularized version, paradise, as the essence of the good life, does not illustrate a reunion with the good in a metaphysical state, but rather an imaginative reunion with oneself to achieve good moods, pleasure and inner satisfaction. In this connection, consumption becomes not only the goal for an individual's actions and longings, but also the way to achieve this condition. We might say that consumerism is our society's religion and shopping malls are our cathedrals; shopping has become a mythic, ritual and self-reflexive behaviour; goods have been described as fetish objects and brands have symbolic and dogmatic qualities in Western culture.
How can we understand the functions of image schemata? Johnson works in the context of cognition and structuralism, and deals with cognitive processes of understanding, meaning and reasoning and how the schemata structure these processes. I will suggest that image schemata also have emotional and aesthetic-reflexive functions. Kirsten Drotner (2002) uses the term matrix to explain media-specific schemata (e.g. genres) and how they structure not only understanding and meaning, but also feelings and sensuous experiences. Image schemata structure, for instance, the way we gaze at a place or a nude, and image schemata structure the way we relate our feelings and emotional reactions (e.g. when to cry and to laugh). To supplement Johnson's dynamic concept of image schemata, I will mention the work of Edgar Morin (1956/2005) and his theory of imagination and affective participation. Morin works with the relation between fiction/ dream and reality in cinematographic perception, and bases his ideas on a psychoanalytic perspective. Morin's main argument is the polymorphous projection-identification process and he says that cinema is a symbiosis, "a system that tends to integrate the spectator into the flow of the film" and at the same time "a system that tends to integrate the flow of the film into the psychic flow of the spectator" (Morin, 2005:102). He describes the spectator's projection-identification process (or, as I have already suggested, aesthetic relation) as affective participation, and he stresses the sensuous and emotional aspects of the process. The different cinematic techniques, such as camera movements, tempo, close-ups, slow motion, lighting, high angle or low angle shots and so on, intensify the projection-identification process as well as the spectator's affective participation. 
Both Johnson and Morin underline the complex process of meaning and imagination, and with respect to my analysis of specific commercials, I will argue that images of paradise and concepts of the good life are much more than empty clichés and simple representations, but correspond to the spectator's needs and self-reflection as well as to an extensive cultural circulation of images and meanings.
Paradise as image schemata
The concept of paradise in modern tourism relies on the romance of the South Pacific and the tropical beach. Orvar Löfgren describes the tropical dream and its history in his book On Holiday (1999): "The power of the Hawaiian imagery above all had to do with the fact that this was the first really mass-mediated paradise: a landscape not only to experience through colored postcards and illustrated magazines features but also a landscape set to music" (Löfgren 1999:216). Tropical paradise as a visual concept circulated in popular culture and music. Hawaii and the South Pacific was no longer only a fantasyland; the image of the tropical beach with palm trees and hula girls with flowers in their hair turned up everywhere. During the 1950s "active mass-media marketing furthered the fantasyland of the Pacific beach as an appetizingly exotic Eden of sensual woman with inviting smiles" (Löfgren 1999:217). At the same time as the tropical paradise became popularized as a music and media image as well as a tourist destination, the European beach underwent a "polynesification." Not only were the palm trees and the tropical plants necessary ingredients, surfing and tropical events also became popular activities, and in the 1950s "there was for example Club Polynésie turning European destinations into images of Pacific romance" (Löfgren 1999:219). The tropical dream has to be understood in the light of not only modern mass tourism and mass media, but also modernization, globalization and the Second World War.
Several image schemata dominate tourism culture: the explorer, the adventurer and the image of the family as "connected bodies" (Larsen 2004: 137; see also Sørensen 1999). Inspired by the work of John Urry (1990/2002), one might say that the tourist gaze in itself comprises image schemata that structure the commercial image production of specific tourist sites, landscapes and events in, for instance, postcards and travel books; it also shapes the tourist's perception, understanding and experience of specific places and cultures and his/her private photos and holiday videos, which reproduce the same images. Tourist images circulate in a global, visual and mediated culture, and image schemata and visual representations structure tourists' imaginations and experiences (Urry 2002, Croach Thompson & Jackson 2005, Falkheimer & Jansson 2006).
The tropical beach and paradise as a mythic image and the exotic and the erotic are already being fused as complex and ambiguous schemata. Paradise as Christian mythic and spatial phantasmagoria is also a paradoxical image: on the one hand, it stands for purity and a divine condition somewhere beyond our own world, something that once has been and will return, and on the other, paradise includes the snake and nudity as evil, erotic and tempting subjects. As an image schema, paradise is ambiguous, and this ambiguity requires that the viewer produce his or her own fantasies and interpretations.
The exotic image of specific landscapes, flowers and hula girls represents an anthropological point of view and works in itself as an image schema dealing with "the other" as well as spatial representation. The concept of the authentic is central to tourism image schemata; not necessarily something original, un-touched or undiscovered, but a place or an object that gives an authentic effect (symbolic authenticity) to the viewer/visitor (Jansson, 2002:439).
Orvar Löfgren points out essential aspects of the concept of paradise in modern tourism: the poetics of virginity and the familiarity of the exotic. A Robinsonian rhetoric or specific narrative structure in travel literature and tourist marketing is evident: the discovery of virgin coasts, villages and regions, the first footprints in the sand and the heroic conquest. The rhetoric of virginity creates new definitions of spoiled and unspoiled (Löfgren 1999:183). The poetics of virginity also fit the dynamics of modern tourism as a commodity: we seek new places and new experiences. Paradise as something virginal that can be discovered and experienced is constituted both in time (nostalgic) and place (exotic):
There is a constant nostalgia for an earlier "then", which tends to move around in time, as virginity is made and remade in different generational and social experiences of "the local" (…) In the cultural economy of authenticity, timelessness, and exclusivity, new hidden treasures have to be discovered and sampled before they are swamped by invading tourists. That is why so many tourist guides choose the strategy of telling secrets: Hidden Hawaii, Underground San Francisco, Undiscovered Europe (Löfgren 1999:184).
So far I have focused on the cultural and interpretative connotative aspects of paradise schemata as a whole, but what are the typical elements in the schemata, and should these elements be understood in tourist contexts? The paradise image schemata typically include the beach, palm trees, sunshine, blue sky, the nude or young woman (or a couple), flowers and fruits. The beach as an iconographic element symbolizes the end of the world, the border between land and sea, and suggests the infinity of life (similar to the horizon line). The beach has also become a global tourist icon familiar from postcards, travel books, posters and films. Löfgren explains how the beach postcard "is a good example of the universalization of the beach experience, the making of a truly global iconography and choreography of beach life (…) without any hint of the "local", just sand, sea, and carefully arranged groups of beach visitors" (Löfgren 1999:213). The beach has also become an icon of modern tourism, in which sunbathing, swimming and surfing have become popular tourist activities that take place at the beach, and at the same time beaches have become popular tourist destinations in a global experience economy. As an element of paradise schemata, the beach represents the tropical dream and marks the threshold between land and sea, life and death, the corporeal and the spiritual world. The palms, fruits and flowers belong to the tropical dream, but also symbolize fertility, nature (authenticity) and beauty. The nude stands for sexuality and the voyeuristic spectacle: the pleasure of bodily performance as well as voyeuristic desire. Nudism and sunbathing were hedonist activities that became popular in the late nineteenth century, and they were "a utopia of modern life and natural living" (Löfgren 1999:222). The sunshine and the blue sky as elements of paradise image schemata illustrate sunbathing as a tourist activity, but also symbolize happiness and pleasure as well as divinity.
What is important are not the specific meanings of these different elements as a sort of iconographic dictionary, but rather the open and dynamic process of affective participation and reflection that the concept of image schemata offers. The ambiguity of paradise as modern tourist image schemata stimulates emotional and sensuous experience and reflection in physical, mediated and imaginative tourism (Waade 2006). The image schemata of paradise, like the global beach, include a bodily performance and choreographic experience (Löfgren 1999:224ff), and this corporeal, sensuous element is significant with respect to the commercials I will look at below.
Bacardi commercials: the Caribbean dream
As mentioned above, Bacardi has always used their original place of production to brand their products: Santiago de Cuba. Even though the company no longer produces rum on Cuba, they have decided to use the place as a branding strategy:
Bacardi, despite having no business tie (in terms of production) to Cuba today, have decided to re-emphasize their Cuban heritage in recent years. This is mainly due to commercial reasons: facing increased competition in the Rum market from the now international brand Havana Club, the company concluded that it was important for sales to associate their rum with Cuba. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacardi)
In the '70s and '80s, several Bacardi screen advertisements were presented in Danish cinemas.  Even though the product is shown in and central to all the advertisements, I have found three subcategories in which the product (Bacardi Rum) is presented through different aesthetic strategies: some focus on the facts about the product (origin, Bacardi products, drink receptions), others use paradise island, and finally some advertisements show the product as a sculptural, sensuous object (both the bottle and the liquid). The latter two categories use intoxication as the aesthetic concept, the spiritual experience of spirits, so to speak. In the paradise advertisements, intoxication is related to the spatial experience of the Caribbean paradise, while in the sculptural ones, intoxication is illustrated as a particular sensitive state in which the drink's fluidity and sensuous qualities are intensified through cinematic visual techniques like slow motion, close ups, repetition, lighting and hyper-realistic textures. The imagination has two different functions in these two categories: while the paradise advertisements illustrate a spatial phantasmagoria, the sculptural ones represent a tactile phantasmagoria. In both, the relation between imagination and intoxication is illustrated; the liquor is supposed to put us in a certain emotional and sensitive state that intensifies our experiences and makes us able to imagine and fancy places and objects.
These three aesthetic strategies are used in parallel and in different combinations during the period studied (1970-1993), and in themselves they illustrate different communicative ideals in advertisement and market communication: from facts about the product as serious and truthful information to branding strategies in which the product plays an indirect role and instead brand values and experiences are communicated through the screen advertisements.
Paradise as site specific and a bodily state
To look more specifically at Bacardi's paradise commercials, there are different variations on the beach-palm-trees-sun-woman scenery. According to Löfgren's description of the half-naked hula girls in tourist images of paradise, there are no such hula girls, but instead tan blond tourists. The only exotic elements in these commercials are the landscape, plants and fruits, while the persons (both male and female) are full-blooded wealthy and good-looking young people from the West.
Nearly all of the paradise screen advertisements use the beach as a location, and they show the tourist's relaxing life at the beach sunbathing, sleeping in a hammock, playing in the sand or having drinks with friends. In one of the advertisements, they use a raft on the sea as the location. The typical end shot is a postcard image: the camera zooms out and we see the bright beach, the coastline, the turquoise sea, the horizon and the blue sky from above. It is a sophisticated commercial (Andersen & Jantzen 2004), in that the storyline and the text are subordinate to the images, which in turn play a dominant role. Besides the picturesque, slow visual images, the sound is very important in the commercial, not only the Caribbean music and the sound of the waves, but also the voice-over and song texts in the auditory text. The voice-over typically repeats the facts that we can read as written text, and in this way it is totally redundant. In some of the commercials, the voice-over is therefore quiet, and instead the image, the soft music and the poetic song texts are the main ingredients. It is these elements that serve an overall aesthetic function and also secure the receiver's imagination, fantasy and emotional investments.
Allow me to illustrate this. In the advertisement film in which the location is a raft floating around on the sea, the opening scene shows a couple on the raft. The camera zooms in from a high angle and we see the couple from different points of view as they look at each other. The woman is sunbathing and the man is caressing her legs while splashing refreshing water on her skin. The camera dwells on the body of the woman, following its lines and getting close to the surface. The images are repeated twice.
Fig. 1 & 2: Bacardi & Coke, 1976.
The visual image illustrates the male's as well as the spectator's attention, gaze and desire. We see glimpses of a (Bacardi) bottle behind the woman's leg. Visually speaking, almost nothing happens: we only see the two of them relaxing in the sun, and we have plenty of time to absorb the image and dream. Once, in a close up of the woman's leg glistening with drops of water, the image blends with a bottle of rum. The bottle and the body have the same colors, lines and shimmering drops, and the image of the bottle disappears immediately afterward. It is as though we enter the man's imagination, or perhaps a kind of alcoholic hallucination: the desire for the body blends with the desire for the liquid. This happens once more at the end of the film; this time it is a bottle of Coca Cola. The couple has just climbed into a ship that is as dark brown as the drink, and while the camera zooms out and we see the silhouettes of the young people in the sunset, their bodies have almost the same form as the cola bottle. The image follows the smooth rhythm of the music, and the song text as well as the easy melody, underline the simple message in the image:
Why don't you take it cool,
Bacardi and Rum, Bacardi and Rum
You've got all day, take that smooth, cool way
Bacardi - and Coca Cola, Bacardi - and Coca Cola
According to the paradise image schemata in this example, there are no palm trees, flowers or fruits, but rather sexuality and bodily desire. The bottle becomes the snake hiding behind the leg, like an antagonistic character in the mythic narrative that makes things happen through temptation and magic, awakening erotic feelings and showing the "smooth, cool way" to hedonistic pleasure.
In other words, the paradise image schemata include a transformation; a transition takes place both on an outer, site-specific and physical level and on an inner level of intoxication and eroticism. The paradisiacal condition becomes the combination of a certain spatial and sensuous appropriation and an inner bodily state.
"Let your imagination get wild"
In another example of Bacardi's paradisiacal screen advertisements (458/1975), the concept of imagination becomes an explicit communicative element. The opening shot shows the face of a woman in close up. She is standing still and her eyes are open but she isn't looking at anything specific. She is concentrating on her own dreams and thoughts. A male voice, half singing, half talking, proclaims:
Ahhhh, have a stretch,
Look around you, what do you see
Blue skies, beaches
Let your imagination get wild,
Take a meta trip to the Caribbean
'Cuz any place you go over there
You wanna see people all the time with a glass in their hand
Under the sun, drinking Bacardi Rum
The voice is commenting on the woman we see, but is also directed toward the spectator. The voice makes a direct, immediate connection between the image and the spectator, and it gives instructions to the spectator about what to do and how to react: "let your imagination get wild". Just as the woman looks around and sees blue skies and beaches, the spectator looks at the woman and imagines blue skies and beaches. There are no logos or company signs, no narrative presentations or introductory explanations that establish an interpretative framework and communicative distancing attitude between the viewer and the voice. Instead the relationship between them is metonymic, in that the spectator is present in the image and gazes at the woman with his/her own eyes. The image, as well as the music and the words, starts in media res and the spectator just jumps into it; we are meant to look the woman right in the eye, relax and imagine the beach and the sky.
The music and the visual images extend this dream attitude: short glimpses of water, waves, beach, palm leaves, a bottle twinkling like sunshine while the image is blended with the water. In the end shot, once again we see silhouettes in the sunset in which the bodies, glasses and three branches intertwine in an abstract pattern. This is a poetic image that includes all the clichés we know from romantic films, love songs, tourist posters and advertisements.
As in the first example, alcoholic intoxication is connected with the power of imagination. The trip signifies an imaginative journey to the other place, but also an alcoholic trip. The commercial is produced in the mid-'70s, and at this time, the romantic attitude to both drugs and exotic places is increasing. The alcoholic trip becomes the incarnation of the good life and glorifies the way of life in exotic places. The commercial says, let's do what the people over there do: they have a glass in their hand all the time and drink alcohol under the sun. In this way, paradise image schemata include not only certain landscapes, narrative structures and figures, but also the freedom to explore and experience drugs and places. The imaginative hedonist is conceptualized in this commercial, and the spectators are supposed to imagine how rum makes them able to fancy and imagine the good life.
Lottery commercials: a daydreamer's paradise
As argued in the beginning, a touristification of popular culture and media is taking place. Along with the expansion of tourism as an industry and a cultural practice, tourist images, tourist destinations and tourist experiences are used as aesthetic strategies in, for instance, literature and television series and as locations in films and computer games. The advertisements of the National Lottery use exotic places for two reasons: they are fascinating and tempting images in themselves that can cause the viewer to dream about holidays in the future or perhaps recall nice memories, and at the same time the lottery makes it possible - for the lucky winner - to realize these dreams.
Not only do the Lottery advertisements cause the viewer to dream about travelling; there is also a series with a "quit your job" theme, as well as glamour and fame. The Lottery screen advertisements that I have examined (produced in the period 1985 - 1993) are all typically short narratives with a surprising and humorous end point, and all of them illustrate the transformation of an ordinary (working class) man to a person living in endless luxury, freedom (off duty) or an exotic paradise. For example, the truck driver that crashes into another mans' expensive red Ferrari because he doesn't have to worry about the money or his job anymore; or the secretary, the fisherman and the house-painter that can quit their jobs by marching out the door away from their boss and shouting with joy. One spot shows a fashion show from Chanel with models that present their catwalk in the limelight. Suddenly a woman enters the stage from behind, the scene changes to slow-motion and we see that the woman is slowly running towards the audience and screaming. The sound also changes and almost disappears, as though time is standing still. The woman is happy, and she throws herself onto the floor as people embrace her, shouting with joy. In the end shot, we see the Lotto coupon in her hand. This short story is not only about a person that wins and can quit her ordinary job and life, but also a person that enters the celebrity world of fashion and breaks through on the screen. The lottery makes it possible to become a star. That is the commercial's visual message.
Another example of how paradise is illustrated and used as image schemata in the Lotto advertisements is the commercial in which a couple is paddling in a small canoe in a rainstorm: the woman sees the Lotto coupon under their wet backpack, and she starts imagining a sunny beach where she is being taken care of by several strong, half-naked exotic men.
Fig. 3 & 4: Lotto, Tænk hvis du vandt, 1990-1994
Again, this is an image of a Caribbean paradise with palm trees, fruits, flowers and soft drinks, but in this example, the camera does not follow a male's gaze and his imagination and erotic desire; rather the spectator follows the woman's gaze. This is not at all a critique of the female body as an object of the male gaze; rather, the image illustrates that it is mainly the woman in a couple or a family who plans and dreams about holidays and travelling. And perhaps she is also the one who plays Lotto hoping to get a chance to realize her holiday dreams.
Another aspect of the image schemata is not paradise as an exotic place, but rather as an imaginative ability and state. Imagining paradise is not about the place, but imagination itself. In contrast to the Bacardi commercials where the product is branded through the tropical dream of paradise, I will argue that the Lotto screen advertisements are about the daydreamer him or herself. First, it is rather important to be able to dream to realize the value of a Lotto coupon, while we can easily achieve and consume Bacardi Rum without worrying about the tropical dream. Second, the Lotto commercials establish an ironic and self-reflective attitude in which the dreamer him or herself is staged as a comic cliché (e.g. the secretary, the truck driver, the woman who almost drowns in the rain). In this context the paradise image schemata are about imagining the good life.
Imagining Pretty Woman
A Lotto commercial from 1993, paraphrasing the movie Pretty Woman, serves to illustrate this meta-communicative strategy. The screen advertisement is one out of four in the series "Imagining you were the winner" (Tænk hvis du vandt) produced in the period 1990-1994. There is no disturbing voice-over; instead the images and the music invite the spectator to dream along. The quality of the visual image itself in the series illustrates the concept of imagination - for instance, nostalgic High8 texture and colors that make us think back and remember, or a superficial image with exaggerated colors and contrasts that are reminiscent of science fiction and picture postcards.
Like the Bacardi film, the Lottery's Pretty Woman starts in media res, and the spectator sees a woman choosing clothes in a luxury fashion shop with the encouragement of her patron. We recognize several imitations of scenes from the film Pretty Woman in the screen advertisement, and this establishes a specific pleasant and comic tone. The spectator doesn't realize what the commercial is about until the very last second when the woman wakes up from her daydream, hearing the jingling sound of the opening door. The spectator realizes then that the woman is a laundress, she has been leaning her head on the shoulder of a good-looking rich man next to her in the elevator while daydreaming. The man was the one we saw in her fantasies. They smile at each other as they leave the elevator.
Fig. 5 & 6: Lotto, Tænk hvis du vandt (Pretty Woman) 1993
Pretty Woman is a modern Cinderella fairy tale filled with enchantment and transformation. But in contrast to the film and the fairy tale with their happy, glamourous ending, the woman in the advertisement wakes up and realizes that it was only a dream. The song lines also underline the dream-like aspect. It is a man who is singing, and it is unclear whether he is supposed to be the man in the advertisement dreaming about the girl or the girl imagining the main character in the movie.
Sweet dream baby,
How long must I dream?
Dream baby, come and dream a sweet dream
The whole day through
Dream baby, come and dream a sweet dream
It's nighttime do
I love you and I am dreaming of you
That won't do
This short story is not about what could happen if you won the Lottery or had plenty of money; rather it is about the very act of imagining. Her dream is a movie, and her fantasies are about living in this movie. Dreams and fantasies make your life good and worth living. And Lottery helps you to dream sweet dreams.
As image schemata, the Lottery commercials reflect imagination itself. This applies to both what is told and the way it is told. The stories that are told are about dreams and virtual realities. As regards the way they are told, I have already mentioned the nostalgic and superficial qualities of the images, as well as the narrative surprise and the spectators' guesswork concerning what the screen advertisement is advertising or the viewers' recognition of the advertising films' intertexual references to other media texts.
Commercials as cultural matrices
Image schemata are open frameworks for individuals' emotional, cognitive and imaginative processes and participation. Commercials rely on these schemata and popular matrices to secure immediate attention and responses. Intertexual references, genre parody, satire and caricatures are media-specific matrices that are well-known strategies in commercials. Paradise and tourist images, as I have argued, are manifested as ambiguous and mythical schemata in commercials and consumer culture. These schemata are dynamic matrices; they may be mixed, developed and changed.
On the other hand, commercials as such also function as image schemata. The general commodification and market rhetoric characterizing contemporary culture, society and (media) communication make commercials into matrices that structure our reflections, emotions and experiences. When we tell people about our last holiday, we use words we know from the advertisements ("It was a paradise for the kids," "we had a perfect view from where we lived"), just as the photos we take look like the ones we have seen in advertisements and magazines - for instance, sunsets, picturesque landscapes and sites (Osborne, 2000). This also means that "paradise" may be seen mainly as an emotional and bodily state achieved when we visit an exotic place we have seen on a screen advertisement. The image schemata of paradise structure our experience as tourists as well as armchair travellers watching screen advertisements. That's the good life.
1 See also Christian Jantzen (2004) for a similar categorization.
2 See Waade 2006 for an analysis of the travel series Pilot Guides and the relation between visual images and the spectator's affective participation.
3 My empirical study is based on the Danish digital archive of screen advertisements, Danske reklamefilm, at the Danish National Library. In this archive, I have found 15 Bacardi commercials presented in Danish cinemas in the period 1970-1993.
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