The Big Apple: The Narrative Potential of Utopianism in Apple Inc. Advertisements

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This thesis examines the presence of a utopian discourse in a selection of Apple Inc. televised advertisements released from 1983 until 2017. Specifically, it analyzes in which ways these messages of utopianism can be placed in a tech-utopian discourse. Furthermore, it explores how the representation of new media in society has changed over the course of decades, and what marketing strategies ground the commercials in question. The case studies and source material included in this research are subdivided according to three strategies Apple Inc. put to practice in this aforementioned period: a strategy underlining the differences between Apple Inc. and its rivals, a strategy stressing the creative, musical potential of the brand, and the most recent strategy focusing on the future possibilities of the brand. Grounded in theories of media studies by Marshall McLuhan, Raymond Williams, and J.W.T. Mitchell, theories of utopianism by Lyman Tower Sargent and Fred Turner, and theories of pop culture and American Studies by Michael Bull and Jean Baudrillard, amongst others, the analysis showed that Apple Inc.’s marketing paradigm is shifting from the reform potential of humans to that of the media machine.
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