Not for sale? Antarctica, advertising, and commercialisation (Video) Event as iCalendar


19 July 2016

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground Floor Seminar Room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds Street, Auckland Central

Not for sale

An ABI seminar by Hanne Nielsen, University of Tasmania.


Antarctica is unique in that it is governed by the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) and is not ‘owned’ by any one nation. Despite this, and the environmental protection built into the ATS, Antarctica has been ‘sold’ in many ways over the past 150 years. This talk outlines the commercial nature of early human interactions with Antarctica - from sealing and expedition sponsorship, to tourism and advertisements for watches and insurance - and analyses how the continent has been to put use symbolically for advertising purposes. 

Most people will never actually go to Antarctica, so their experience is mediated by cultural production such as films, diaries, and advertisements. By examining the imagery and themes present in a range of print adverts, it is possible to identify various versions of Antarctica that have appeared in popular culture. Whether Antarctica is depicted as a place for heroes, an ultimate wilderness, or a poster child for climate change, the representations act as a mirror of our own values and priorities back home. These advertisements make visible the cultural frame through which we view Antarctica. While often taken for granted, such framing helps to shape our values, inform our representations, and ultimately has a direct impact on the ways we interact with Antarctica as a place.