Two Faces of Bank Commercials in Turkey

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This study offers a two-fold reading of public banks’ commercial videos in Turkey. On the one hand, using a Ritzerian approach, I claim that banks frequently use the elements of entertainment in their advertisements. Private banks, in general, and public banks, when it comes to the presentation of credit cards, utilize entertainment and joy as a means of advertisement. When the bond between the institution and the public is established on the basis of producer/server and consumer duality, the elements of entertainment become highly functional in recreating the rational and bureaucratic reality of capitalism. However, along with market dynamics, government discourses and policies also shape the advertisement sector considering entanglement of the media, capital, and politics. Hence, I also show how the story changes significantly when it comes to the institutional advertisement of the banks. Major public banks consistently appeal to the emotions while also using a populist and developmentalist language that is closely aligned with contemporary Turkish political conduct. In fact, the pattern that they follow and the discourse that they adopt can easily be interpreted as a reflection of the authoritarian developmentalism and populism in Turkey.