In the past years, companies would attempt to attract consumers by advertising the
desirable sizes, speeds, cleanliness, or brightness of their products. Nowadays, most of these
companies have moved away from the traditional forms of advertising where the main message
would focus on the attributes of the product. Instead, advertising these days incorporates
messages that link the product with cultural meanings, values, and desires that do not have much
to do with what the product is or what it does. This shift in advertising is because companies
have come to realize that consumers’ emotions are driven by culture and emotions drive sales.
The integration of culture in advertising has resulted in the transmission of various
cultures to various areas and people in the world. For instance, Poolside was a successful
advertisement in the way it portrayed American culture and work ethic. This paper analyses
Poolside to expound on how advertising relates to culture and how such advertisements have
played a part in promoting the understanding of different cultures on a global scale.
Culture in Poolside
Advertising is like culture in that it has become the norm for companies to promote their
products through advertisements to promote sales and profits (Gromová, Müglová and Perez,
2017). It has reached a point where companies that fail to advertise their products experience
significantly low sales that could potentially result in their downfall. Advertising is like culture
because the more a product is known the more its chances of selling or thriving; culture can only
thrive if it is highlighted and promoted amongst people (Geertz, 1973). As a result, it is only
right that companies incorporate culture into their adverts to ensure the promotion of the selected
culture and the promotion of their respective products.
ADVERTISEMENT AS CULTURE 3
Poolside is a commercial for the American Company Cadillac that was screened in 2014
(Stasiewicz, 2014). In the ad, American Actor Neal McDonough plays the role of a successful
businessman dressed in a sharp suit and he moves around his family’s house, interacts with his
family, and finally heads outside to unplug his Cadillac ELR (Stasiewicz, 2014). The advert does
a good job highlighting the American culture that is made up of values like hard work and
success in attaining whatever the citizens set out to do (Baldwin, 1955). The man in the ad
amplifies the tendency of Americans to work hard by rhetorically asking, “Why do we work so
The advertisement by Cadillac was successful because it placed its focus on the culture
of working hard among Americans instead of on the good qualities of the luxurious car. The car
is only shown when the actor makes his way to it after he poses his questions relating to working
hard (Stasiewicz, 2014). The ad draws emotions from the viewers, especially those of American
descent. This group of viewers feels good and proud that their quality of hard work is real and
recognizable. Furthermore, they feel encouraged to know that there is nothing wrong with
rewarding oneself with good things after toiling hard and tirelessly.
Advertising transmits culture to other societies of the world and it pushes them to emulate
the highlighted culture or to shun it based on the context (Gromová, Müglová and Perez, 2017).
Poolside tells viewers outside America that the success and quality of life enjoyed by Americans
results from their resilience and hard work. It serves to compel these viewers to emulate the
values of the citizens of Americans if they wish to lead similar lifestyles. Furthermore, the advert
by Cadillac reveals the state of affairs in our society, where one earns what he has worked for
and fails to achieve that which he has not worked for. For instance, in the ad, the actor indicates
ADVERTISEMENT AS CULTURE 4
that Americans have what they have because they are hardworking and do not take needless time
off of work to rest, only resting when they have to.
By selling culture, not only do these companies enhance sales and profits but they also
promote the knowledge of different societies among people in the world (Gromová, Müglová
and Perez, 2017). An individual who has not watched Poolside may think that the citizens of the
United States are crazy for working so hard and that they are simply driven by the desire for
good things. However, highlighting the values of a people or a country as is done in Poolside
does away with such misconception. The advert reveals that Americans work hard because they
are driven and the luxuries they have are the fruits of their hard work.
Advertisements and culture are related in that advertisements are a significant way of
transmitting culture globally and culture helps promote product sales and profits. Adverts like
Poolside incorporate culture to draw emotions from the viewers and get them to buy the product.
In the process, these adverts promote the culture to other viewers around the world helping them
to learn more about the values of the source country. Companies should continue to integrate
culture in the adverts for their products and focus less on the attributes of the products.
ADVERTISEMENT AS CULTURE 5
Baldwin, J. (1955). Stranger in the Village. Notes of a Native Son, 159-75.
Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures (Vol. 5019). Basic books.
Gromová, E., Müglová, D., & Perez, E. (2017). Culture in advertising and advertising in culture:
Communication, translation, representation. Ars Aeterna, 9(2), 81-92.
Stasiewicz, B. (2014). Cadillac – ELR – "Poolside" (Director's cut).