Advertising and Consumerism Versus Social and Environmental Activism in Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia through the Lens of Visual Communication

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Lynne CIOCHETTO, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, New Zealand, Institute of Communication Design, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
This paper explores the expansion of advertising in three emerging economies in South East Asia: Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia. While activism on climate change and sustainability is increasing in western industrialized societies, in emerging economies priorities are quite different and are felt more immediately. In these countries (making up 80% of the world population), those who have recently reached the middle classes aspire to achieve some approximation of the western affluent lifestyles they see portrayed in the media. Their interest in consumerism is stimulated by advertising and media programming and they are less concerned about issues of social justice and environmental sustainability. In comparison the majority of the population in emerging economies are still struggling to meet their basic needs for food, housing, education and healthcare. The poor are more likely to be immediately affected by environmental issues such as poor health provision, deforestation of land for agribusiness and social injustice. The poor are more likely to be involved in activism and social movements to protect the rights they have that are under threat or to regain what they have previously lost. This paper compares and contrasts advertising versus activism in the three countries through examples of visual media.