Repressenting the Manimal: A Semiotic/Psychoanalytic Approach to the Strategic Importance of Anthropomorphism in Branding
12th International Marketing Trends Conference, ESCP, Paris, Jan. 19 2013
22 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2012 Last revised: 18 Apr 2013
Date Written: January 25, 2012
S. Brown proclaimed in 1995 that there is no representation without taxation. In an attempt to extend the same thread of reasoning this paper puts forward the argument that there is no representation without repression. By drawing on the exemplary brand identity building stratagem of the anthropomorph and by recourse to the dreamwork formative process illustrated by Freud in his magnum opus The Interpretation of Dreams, an account is yielded of the equivalent process involved in the formation of the brandwork. Moreover, by unlocking the potential of the faculty of imagination as constitutive of the web of metaphors and metonymies wherein the brandwork as figurative discourse is cloaked, a genealogical route is pursued with view to demonstrating that what are usually described as universally recognizable brand symbols stem from singular representations or imaginary constellations that reveal a brand’s truth inasmuch as they conceal it. By extending the interpretive findings pertaining to the imaginary status of the anthropomorphic figure, suggestions are made as to why a brand should not be viewed only in terms of manifest personality traits, but also in terms of a latent unconscious.
Keywords: anthropomorphism, unconscious, imaginary signifier, dreamwork, icon
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