Abstract: Decoding Cultural Values in Alcoholic Beverage Advertising: A Semiotic Analysis of a Century of Beer Advertising by the National Beer Company of Ecuador

John Uggen


The paper conducts a semiotic analysis of 118 years (1887-2005) of beer advertising by the Cerveceria Nacional of Ecuador. Ecuador's National Beer Company was one of the original properties acquired by the Ecuadorian Corporation, the North American holding company founded in 1914 by the New York investor and promoter Evermont Hope Norton. Throughout its years of operation in Ecuador the Cerveceria Nacional played an important role in introducing North American management and business practices and served as a model for the development of many of Ecuador's most successful corporations. One of the techniques which the Cerveceria Nacional pioneered was the use of modern advertising methods. The primary source on which this paper is based is the sample of beer advertisements collected by Ecuadorian author Jenny Estrada for her history of the Cerverceria Nacional's publicity department. The theoretical framework of the paper utilizes the technique of semiotic analysis developed by Judith Williamson in her book <i>Decoding Advertisements</i> and applied to beer advertising by Michael Harvey and Malcolm Evans in their "Competitor Advertising Decoding Kit," which they developed for the Guiness Corporation.