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Project starting January 2015 until September 2018
Project financing: FWF (Projectnumber P 25771-G16)


The Emotionalisation of National Brands in Austrian Commercials 1950-2000


More than any other medium, the film knows how to communicate messages and evoke emotions at the various sensual levels. Film makers and advertising strategists consciously count on internalised cultural and film codes to create tension and raise attention as well as to create closeness and identification patterns. In the second half of the 20th century, film and TV became essential key media. A scientific study on the way in which products were communicated in Austria after 1945 thus requires taking cinema and TV commercials into consideration.

In the context of the suggested project, for the first time national emotionalisation strategies will be analysed as they were used for Austrian commercials from the years 1950-2000. The case of Austria is of particular interest in so far as the development of a national identity happened only after World War II. This process came along with the establishment of the consumer society as well as with the rise of the Austrian production of commercials.

Whereas there exist extensive studies on the development of Austrian national identity and there have also been some important works on the way in which national brands were communicated, the Austrian advertising films have hardly been noticed by research. For the time being, these three research fields have not been systematically brought together, something which will be done for the first time by this project. Starting out from the thesis that in the early post-war period Austrian commercials purposefully refer to national myths and symbols to use them for advertising Austrian brands since 1950 at the latest, it will be analysed which cinematic emotionalsiation strategies were chosen to transfer such contents.

This project is considered to be methodically innovative, as it will research the transfer of national contents by way of commercials in the historic context on the one hand – while taking economic, political, social and cultural aspects into consideration – and on the other hand it will structurally and by way of detailed analyses investigate the employed cinematic emotionalisation strategies. Currently, such a research approach is unique both for Austrian and international research. It does not only promise to provide insights on Austria´s economic, social and cultural history as well as film studies but will also be perceived internationally.

Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte
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