A key element in the way political advertising conveys meaning to viewers is the holistic evocation of familiar forms (or genres) of popular culture through broadly recognizable packages of audiovisuals and narratives. Because viewers engage such recognizable forms through what cognitive scientists refer to as "top-down" processing, admakers can rely on viewers to "fill in the blanks" consistent with the form, and in ways that tap deep persuasive emotion. Such meanings have frequently eluded analysts. In addition to providing clues to substantive meaning, genre analysis can provide for a more informed taxonomy of political advertising, as well as offer additional analytical leverage to the adwatch journalism that has evolved in an effort to police the claims of political commercials.


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pp. 603-626
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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