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Seppänen, J. Hellman, M. Katainen, A. (2017). Just a joke. Psychogenesis of humor in alcohol advertisements. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 40(2):138-146.

(2017). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 40(2):138-146

Just a joke. Psychogenesis of humor in alcohol advertisements

Janne Seppänen, Matilda Hellman and Anu Katainen

This article asks what psychic functions humorous alcohol advertisements employ and how they are connected to the wider cultural meanings of alcohol. The material comprises 27 advertisements televised in Europe in 2013. The material is primarily examined using Freud’s ideas regarding the psychogenesis of jokes. Freud’s conceptions of humor provide in-depth point of views to understand how the advertisements address the viewer’s mind. We recognized three psychic processes: the pleasure of nonsense, recognition of the familiar, and liquidation of criticism. We argue that these are essential psychic activities which characterize the more or less unconscious functioning and content of humorous alcohol advertisements. The article suggests that the humorous strategies recall the infantile pleasure connected to playing with language. The humor in alcohol advertisements may also liquidate the critical attitudes toward drinking, enforce the process of denial of addiction and prohibit the reality-based reflection of alcohol use.

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