As the industrial revolution and World War 2 accelerated mass production, the extravagant number of the same kind products caused marketing competition. Given a number of choices, consumers no longer considers commodities as necessity but a means of presenting and categorizing oneself in the society (91). While consumption choice became crucial in constructing individual identity (85), the choices became reflection of the societal norms and values. In the meantime, ads practiced as a cultural inter-mediatory between consumers and products, constructing and cramming the companies’ intended values and norms to the consumers as ideal and normal in order to make their products desirable.

When I saw the “Milk Chase” commercial posted by Regina, I and her not only agree with the signified values but I also noticed that it mirrors the aspects of the contemporary American society. As Goldman and Papson stated that the advertisements must reproduce the “alreadyness,” in the consumer culture not to deviate from “the dominant mode of representation,” the commercial uses the dominant ideology of a caring father and a hero, the American traditional symbol (96). I see that the commercial is confirming the virtue of fathers and perpetuating the “normative vision of our world,” as well in order to position its product as necessary and normal (96). However, what I have noticed in its excessive humor – the father not stopping to help the neighbors to get the milk for his family– is that the commercial may be mirroring our current world and relationship. In this crazy world, people only care about themselves and their families, compared to the pre-industrialization era when community value was deeper; individualism overpowered community spirit. As viewers are assimilated to the presentation of such values, our increased individualism of these days is – not necessarily to be criticized as inequalities or irrationalities – justified and normalized behind the humor.


As Regina stated, the commercial tried to target average American families in the United States as promoting the virtue of parents with the notion that having milk at home is natural. Unlike my own analysis of Proctor and Gamble commercial, which the advertisers tried to dramatize mothers’ house chores as beautiful devotion and disguised gender inequality, the advertiser for Milk Mustache suppressed the contemporary contradiction of our society. From my perspective, I discovered a cycle indicating advertisement is not just a means of inducing sales but also a critical factor that influences ideologies. Superheated mass production led advertisers implement interpellation, which consumers interpret and accept it as a norm. The individuals then have to fit in to the norm and to the extent of an ideology, shaping one’s identity accordingly not to be judged and categorized into undesirable group. The advertisement sticks to the “[already],” circulating ideology, and again, cramming its favorite views to consumers. Regina’s semiotic analysis reveals that Milk Mustache commercial confirms our current dominant ideology, and we can also discover that this commercial is in fact a reflection of ourselves in a disguised form, which we should not overlook.