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Powell, H. (2011). The Affect of Looking Backward: An Analysis of the Emotional Labour of Advertising in Times of Recession. Free Associations, 12(2):134-150.

(2011). Free Associations, 12(2):134-150

The Affect of Looking Backward: An Analysis of the Emotional Labour of Advertising in Times of Recession

Helen Powell

This paper examines the work of advertising in the context of what has been termed an increasingly therapeutic popular culture. In particular it focuses attention upon specific creative strategies adopted during the recent economic recession. Drawing upon Freud's ‘Mourning and Melancholia(1917), the paper explores how advertising creatives mobilise ‘the lost object’, carefully managing its associated meanings. Through the appropriation of nostalgia via narrative, montage and parody three advertisements for Hovis, Virgin Atlantic and Citroën are examined to explore the ways in which brands seek to insert themselves into history with a view to performing their own emotional labour.

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