Two sociological examples of advertisements illuminate power, secrecy, trust, and colonialism. Pfizer’s “Hai Karate” (1973) and Golden Wonder’s “Kung Fuey” (1974-76) ads reveal the complex interplay between consumerism and sociocultural factors. The “Hai Karate” ad on Quickmeme depicts a man in a combat stance. Based on Chan et al. (2020), this advertisement captures British advertising’s colonial “Oriental” stereotypes. The visual composition maintains “Oriental” culture’s exoticization and marginalization, highlighting colonialist power dynamics and cultural prejudices. The martial arts element gives the commercial a mysterious feel.
Hai Karate, a martial arts-themed product, is gently promoted in the ad. The message implies that using this product will give users power and mystery. The advertisement’s exoticism of “Oriental” culture perpetuates power inequities and preconceptions while promoting martial arts. For martial arts fans or those drawn to the “Oriental,” the ad plays on preconceptions and colonial beliefs to portray the “Oriental” as exotic, mysterious, and powerful. The advertisement’s success is evident, intentionally appealing to people seeking power and attraction.
Golden Wonder’s 1974–76 “Kung Fuey” campaign offers a fresh perspective. This vintage snack product ad features a humorous martial arts motif from historical magazine records. Unlike its predecessor, this campaign emphasizes humour and enjoyment rather than secrecy and colonialism. Golden Wonder says the “Kung Fuey” snack is delicious. Martial arts motif enhances the snack’s crunchiness and appeal. Though without directly addressing secrecy or colonialism, the advertisement trivializes martial arts traditions by making them funny.
By emphasizing martial arts’ empowerment and discipline, Pfizer’s commercial might avoid exoticization and be culturally sensitive. Golden Wonder might benefit from a realistic portrayal of martial arts that avoids stereotypes. I see that advertising has made progress against stereotypes. However, much space for improvement remains. The “Kung Fuey” ad is more lighthearted, but cultural components must be handled carefully. Future ads must move toward culturally sensitive depictions and avoid colonial dynamics.
Further investigation of commercials reveals the complex relationship between sociological themes and consumer-driven messaging. Golden Wonder’s 1974–1976 “Kung Fuey” advertisement shows how advertising weaves power, secrecy, trust, and colonialism. The “Kung Fuey” advertising shows how colonial ideas, especially on “Oriental” identity, persist. The visual narrative depicts Chinese culture but also perpetuates preconceptions and caricatures. Martial arts iconography emphasizes might and skill, reflecting historical clichés that have tarnished Eastern societies.
The “Kung Fuey” ad promotes martial arts strength and prowess. Using the product is linked to power, creating analogies between martial arts mastery and the product’s apparent potency. However, the advertisement clumsily flirts with cultural appropriation and power dynamics. Colonialism subtly reinforces a hierarchy where one culture’s symbols are commodified for another’s consumption by maintaining unequal interactions between Western and Eastern civilizations.
Looking at the target population, martial arts and Chinese culture are the advertisement’s stars. The audience comprises martial arts enthusiasts, empowerment seekers, and Chinese cultural lovers mediated via colonial tales. The advertisement’s aesthetic and verbal features reinforce imperialist preconceptions and ideology. Chinese culture is exoticized and shown as a symbol of power. This portrayal reinforces colonial ideals, which were used to preserve power.
One must applaud the “Kung Fuey” advertisement’s effective use of martial arts images to express its point. The strength of this vision and the desire for power resonates with those who want to wield it. Thus, the advertisement achieves its strategic goal. The differences are apparent compared to Pfizer’s “Hai Karate” ad. Both ads feature martial arts, but their themes explore power, secrecy, trust, and colonialism. “Hai Karate” explores martial arts, trust, and power, while “Kung Fuey” perpetuates colonial stereotypes through power dynamics and cultural appropriation.
This examination of Golden Wonder’s “Kung Fuey” campaign reveals the complicated relationship between advertising, sociocultural structures, and historical legacies. The tricky balance between empowerment and exploitation requires advertising to act responsibly and avoid repeating power relations and colonial narratives that have soiled history. Transformation is needed to improve these ads’ portrayals of power, secrecy, trust, and colonialism. Advertisers should embrace cultural awareness and respect rather than propagating misconceptions and contributing to cultural appropriation. Advertisements should undermine colonial notions and promote authenticity.
From my perspective, advertising has made great strides toward fighting stereotypes and embracing inclusivity. While progress has been achieved, advertisers must remain committed to genuinely capturing varied cultures without perpetuating power dynamics. The future requires multiple steps. Diverse perspectives in the creative process can modify tales and add authenticity and cultural sensitivity. Additionally, thorough cultural sensitivity training for all advertising stakeholders can help promote more inclusive and respectful portrayals.
Analysis shows that advertising, as a cultural mirror, can have a significant impact. Advertisers and society must work together to eliminate prejudices, build trust, and end colonial narratives. Future ads could usher in a more enlightened, equitable, and harmonious world by jointly catalyzing change. A structured essay is essential to convey the importance of the topic. Start with a captivating introduction to prepare for the sophisticated analysis. Use subheadings to organize and analyze ads. Integrate proper citations into each section to acknowledge your sources and scholarly discourse. Finish with a conclusion synthesising your findings and contemplating the complex relationship between advertising and sociology.
Chan, S., Caston, E., Ohl, M., & Nixon, S. (2020). Hai Karate and Kung Fuey: Early martial arts tropes in British advertising. JOMEC Journal, (15), 1-1.