chapter  4
22 Pages

Motif-Spotting in Advertising and Reality

Exploring Lifestyle
ByJill Terry Rudy, Pauline Greenhill

Motifs are small but meaningful elements recognized as distinct entities in narrative, which float freely among tale types or can even be tale types in themselves. Traversing these recurring ideas in reality TV, advertisements, and elsewhere is their play with concepts of class—especially as European-associated ideas of taste and distinction that operate (often covertly) in North America. The concept of a makeover, the premise of many reality TV shows, presumes that a person can represent themself as something other than they actually are. FTTV motifs also implicate lifestyle as the combination of obligations—to eat, to wear clothing, and so on—and choices in fulfilling those obligations—what to eat, what to wear, and so on—that comprise individuals’ and groups’ existence and the forms they may take. In ads, reality TV, and conventional versions of fairy tales, mere (ephemeral) happiness turns into happiness ever after.]