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The (Army) Hero with a thousand faces: A Discourse-Mythological Approach to theorizing archetypal blending in contemporary advertising

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Darren KelseyORCiD, Professor Natalia Yannopoulou, Professor Andrea Whittle, Dr Artyom Golossenko



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This manuscript theorizes the use of heroism in marketing by analysing selected representations of the army hero in contemporary advertising. Adopting the discourse-mythological approach to analyse Jungian archetypes, we focus on three US advertising campaigns that depict the army hero. Our analysis reveals that representations of the army hero combine traits, symbols, and images of the Magician, Warrior and King archetypes. ‘Archetypal blending’ is theorised in order to understand the mythological complexities of modern heroism, which expands the individually-centred hero’s journey monomyth through references to a collective journey and collective responsibility. This study advances theoretical insights into how advertising blends narratives of heroism and other mythical archetypes to remain meaningful to multiple audiences and balance the reproduction of conventional views of military heroism with representations that reflect changing societal values.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kelsey D, Yannopoulou N, Whittle A, Heath T, Golossenko A, Soares AM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marketing Theory

Year: 2023

Volume: 23

Issue: 1

Pages: 141-162

Print publication date: 01/03/2023

Online publication date: 14/12/2022

Acceptance date: 01/11/2022

Date deposited: 15/11/2022

ISSN (print): 1470-5931

ISSN (electronic): 1741-301X

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/14705931221141732

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/nnnm-hs10


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