Picture and social concept: A fractal-concept analysis of advertising art

Academic Article


  • This article introduces a new variation of Mandelbrot's fractal geometry: fractal-concept analysis. Like fractal geometry, fractal-concept analysis differentiates phenomena into self-similar fractals that resemble the parent seed, but instead of using geometric generators, fractal-concept analysis uses a conceptual architecture as the generator. The methodology's unique capacity for clearly characterizing difficult subject matter is demonstrated through an analysis of advertising art. The conceptual generator's second iteration of advertisements from three reputable companies (Gore-Tex, Akvavit and Land Rover) exposed latent picture-concepts and text-concepts that significantly manipulated consumers in clearly identifiable ways. While most people are aware that advertising is manipulative by design, our analysis systematically explicates the manipulation logic of advertisements. We suggest that fractal-concept analysis is a useful new tool allowing analysis of qualitative/interpretive subject matter with a high level of confidence without resorting to positivistic analytic strategies. © The Author(s), 2009.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wilson KL; Wasserman JA; Lowndes F
  • Start Page

  • 427
  • End Page

  • 448
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 4