It’s only February and 2013 has proven to be the year of the B. Beyoncé’s international tour has recently released an extended television ad for England’s O2 customer’s gaining priority access for tickets to the UK leg of The Mrs. Carter World Tour. The advertisement uses the power of semiotics, the construction of meaning through signs, to transcend the monotony of a pre-sale announce and creates a stylistic visual art that furthers Beyoncé’s brand and established presence in the consumption culture. Robert Goldman and Stephen Papson, in their work “Advertising in the Age of Accelerated Meaning,” explain, “Texts become defined not so much by the story they tell, but by the referential combinations they style. Style overwhelms story” (93).

Beyoncé’s text immediately establishes the story it is telling as the music sets the dramatic tone and the camera zooms in on her corset as it is being laced. As her thigh high boots are zipped up and a bejeweled necklace, adorned with a picture of her husband, we see Beyoncé as someone who is not only opulent, but someone who holds the status and earns the right to be intricately dressed by her own footmen. A spritz of perfume (perhaps a nod to her recently released fragrance “Heat”), followed by the aligning of a tiny crowd, putting a ring on, and then taking command of her sceptor, the first 30 seconds of the video does not even feature Beyoncé’s undeniably stunning face. This focus on her adornments speaks to Beyonce’s elusiveness as well as her planned and controlled maintenance of her public image. Avoiding social media and living a protected lifestyle, Beyoncé’s stardom stems from her performative fierceness and god-like command over the world.

As her footmen open the door and grand jeté to welcome the entrance of her majesty, Queen Beyoncé enters. Strutting down the decadent setting, Beyoncé replicates her signature stomp and never ceases to lose her eye contact. Goldman and Papson declare, “Effective appropriation of a cultural moment or style is contingent on how the ad appellates (hails) its target audience members” (90). The current culture moment is one in which Beyoncé does not just sing about running the world but indeed does run the world. With an ornately decorated high collar and a teased yet contained up-do, Beyoncé commands the room and even takes a glimpse at a portrait of herself on the wall. Beyoncé exudes royalty and embraces her Queendom. From surveying the crowd at the inauguration to causing a blackout at the Superbowl, Beyoncé is extending her dominance of 2013 into this advertisement. As the ominous music underscores the video, the advertisement hails its audience into the drone like followers of their devout Queen. Beyoncé demands respect and is held to a higher standard of a performer and global icon. Her fans and consumers are more refined and are essentially ranked higher on the taste hierarchy than the more radical “Little Monsters” and “Barbs”. When we buy into the Beyoncé brand, our consumption identity becomes one of a glamorous sexuality that exudes confidence and esteem.

The ad also conveys Beyoncé’s brand’s view on femininity and womanhood at this time. Being a mother to Blue Ivy and a husband to Jay-Z has significantly defined Beyoncé as she enters her 30’s. By titling her tour “The Mrs. Carter World Tour”, she is aligning her image as one that is derived from her wife status. Depicting herself as a powerful Queen, she is commanding and controlling not only her career but also her household, thus asserting her mastery of the modern housewife who is strongly independent financially, domestically equipped, and even seductively dominating.

After the release of her documentary Life is but a Dream, it is no surprise that the commercial ends with voiceover, “You don’t have to stand in line, to look behind the scenes…. You just have to be you, you’re our priority”. As consumers, we want to maintain our agency while still being active in the consumption culture. The ad may put our individuality first, however we are only called into this idea by adopting the identity and associations of the Beyoncé brand. Goldman and Papson explain, “Advertisements are structured to boost the value of commodity brand names by attaching them to images that possess social and cultural value” (81). Beyoncé is the commodity, she is the brand, and she is a social and cultural institution. When these are combined in this advertisement, her subjects, her consumers, sit back with awe and admiration over their Queen. Her power and dominance as international royalty is illustrated through her adornments, the setting, her movements, and her utter presence. This advertisement for “The Mrs. Carter World Tour” just manages to extend her reign as the consumer’s Queen.

 

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