A MARXIST STUDY OF ADVERTISEMENTS IN THE BRITISH NORTH BORNEO HERALD

  • Anis Abdul Rahim Universiti Sains Malaysia
  • Mohamad Rashidi Pakri Universiti Sains Malaysia
Keywords: advertising, colonialism, North Borneo, consumerism, Marxism

Abstract

Now known as Sabah, North Borneo was under the British administration from 1881 until 1963. The British North Borneo Herald was published by The British North Borneo (Chartered) Company and circulated from 1883 until 1941. This study discussed the relationship between advertising, consumerism, and text production by utilising The British North Borneo Herald advertisements. Thirty-four advertisements, published between 1937-1941, were selected based on four criteria: the advertisements must have both visual and body copy; the advertisements were selected from the last five years of The British North Borneo Herald publication; the products advertised were originated from Britain and its allies, and the advertisements chosen promote essential and luxury products. A Marxist analysis, derived from Eagleton’s Materialist Criticism (1978), was utilised for this study. The discussion also includes a discourse on postcolonialism. There are three categories of needs and desires capitalised by the advertisers observed in the advertisements, which are health, lifestyle and relationship. The analysis also revealed that the components of ideology (General Ideology, Authorial Ideology, and Aesthetic Ideology) shape the content of advertisements. Besides that, the findings also exposed the imbalance relationship between the coloniser and the colonised as the colonised were marginalised in and from the colonial advertisements. Therefore, this discussion on advertising, consumerism and the production of text illustrated how advertising works in disseminating consumerist ideology in colonial North Borneo.
Published
2022-10-12
Section
Articles