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Shakespeare In Advertising

Shakespeare. One word, a name, that represents so much more than a man. Shakespeare is an industry, a language, a symbol of literature and art, and an era in time. The advertising world has used this to their advantage, and Shakespeare’s influence can be recognized in almost every branch of pop culture. To try and understand why companies would choose Shakespeare as their focus in advertising or even company name we must have to pay attention to what Shakespeare represents. First of all, what Shakespeare is arguably primarily known for is romance. This is due to his play Romeo and Juliet tagged “the greatest love story of all time” and the language he uses when a character expresses their infatuation or love for another. A couple of examples would be:

Shakespeare's Verbal Seduction


1. This advertisement focuses on Shakespeare’s language, and his “verbal seduction.” Although I myself do not think this book could be particularly useful in “seduction” since most girls would probably be confused at why some guy is talking to her so strangely some people must believe in its use. The book’s advertisement says, “Do you long to be seductive? Have a desire to be seduced? Then “let lips do what hands do” and put into practice the most enticing baubles of seduction ever written. Shakespeare and the Art of Verbal Seduction contains the Bard’s best seducing lines to cajole, charm, and even proposition the object of your desire.”







Espace 2 radio


2. This advertisement focuses solely on the romantic aspect of Shakespeare. His version of romance is, especially in Romeo and Juliet, passionate, instantaneous, and powerful. This is what the radio station Espace 2 was alluding to.







Flow Radio advertisement


3. This is another radio advertisement which quotes Twelfth Night, and pertains to love and music. It is pretty self explanatory.










4. The rest under this category are advertisements that focus on the play Romeo and Juliet itself. In many different advertisements I have noticed that although that although the object being sold has nothing to do with romance, Juliet is the chosen name for the female part of the package and Romeo is chosen to signify the male. An example would be as follows:

Steve Madden, Juliet Advertisement











These following advertisements, however, still retain the essence, no matter how slight, of Romeo and Juliet as a whole (or in a romantic light). The first one is an advertisement for Romeo and Juliet Couture. The brand’s description states, “Whether ironic or romantic, the name is familiar to the old and young alike. Through the Line, we presents an idea to contrast the tragedy with a universal collection of versatile and comfortable clothing. Offering a diverse selection from couture sophisticated feminine tops, romeo and Juliet couture also sends a positive message of love, tolerance and Kids Organization, which empowers our youth worldwide to make the right decisions for themselves and to treat everyone with human dignity.” The second advertisement is for a “Love Chocolate Bar.” The other couple below are just creative and I thought I would just share them for fun.

Romeo and Juliet couture

Gery Chocolate, Romeo and Juliet






Juliet Capulet on Facebook


Romeo, not Hamlet


Now if Shakespeare is known for romance, why would other companies that aim for a completely different audience still use him? Why is he still such a dominant presence so long after his death? The answer is simple. Shakespeare exemplifies what many strive to be, he has become what one may call the ideal man. Society has depicted him as a genius, a man with the skill of wordplay, one who can be appreciated by those of upper class, a man who is known as the renaissance man, and a playwright of timeless nature. To talk of Shakespeare is to talk of quality. His plays are of their own genre. The name Shakespeare can be associated with people who are pretentious and of higher class but most importantly, those who are educated. To know and understand Shakespeare is to assert oneself as a person of knowledge and culture. Now it becomes clearer as to why so many companies use Shakespeare in their advertisements and/or names. The desired effect may be that of comedic value or a desire to be regarded with a certain air of respect.

Here is an advertisement from the Brazilian Newspaper Association that uses Shakespeare to demonstrate the prestige he embodies:

Brazilian Newspaper Association

Below are two advertisements, one for Marlboro, and the other for Coca-Cola. Both use Shakespeare to give off the idea that their products are of better quality, and that Shakespeare himself would have used them:



These next advertisements are for beer. a few are for ShakesBeer, one is for Rogue’s beer named Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, and another is for Stella Artois:






Stella Artois


These final advertisements use comedy and Shakespeare. The final four pictures are creations of different bloggers on tumblr.


Cough Medicine

Barclays Bank

Biography Channel


Tumblr 2

Tumblr 3

Tumblr 4

Categories: Multimedia Essays
  1. March 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    This is done by Lauren Gustafson, Ateneo De Manila University, I AB LIT(ENG)

  2. mjcshimada
    March 17, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Shakespeare’s ubiquity in our everyday lives is something I have come to terms with ever since we started having this class. It’s fascinating that Shakespeare is not only a writer (among many other things), but an advertiser as well; his name has come to mean so much more. Perhaps prestige, or something of the elite (since Shakespeare is high-end), or whatever–but through this essay, and a presentation I have seen earlier on the same thing, we see how people utilize the Bard’s name to promote their products (& services), which shows the esteem, or respect at least of these people concerning Shakespeare.

    • March 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      regarding what you mentioned about people utilizing the Bard’s name showing “esteem or respect,” i was actually thinking of a more negative interpretation to that, and the word that came to my mind was “blasphemy.” haha..that struck me when i was looking at the Coca-cola advertisement.

      i do actually hope that these people who use shakespeare in their advertisements in some way has really understood what shakespeare is all about. coz they seem to be just simply going with the ride. however, if shakespeare were alive today, one could not really say if he would disagree with the commercialism that his name has gone through. perhaps he would be glad for all that money. 🙂

      but in the end, i believe that i am not as well in the position to “speak for” shakespeare, for that will also prove blasphemous in a sense. 🙂

  3. March 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I found the Shakesbeer ad the best, the detail and use of photography was awesome. 🙂 I don’t know why I found those the most interesting really, I just did! Anyway, I find it sad that most of people today use Shakespeare freely for commercial purposes, just because Shakespeare sells. I don’t think that the people who succumb to such really understand who and how Shakespeare works, they just find him cool, Romeo and Juliet, love, blah blah. Even I would buy say Shakespeare candy or underwear, not even being deeply educated of his works. I’m just saying it’s sad, but I didn’t say that i wouldn’t do the same either. 😛

  4. yumurayama
    March 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I really think that this post is great. It is mainly because i really agree with it. Everywhere we can see a photo of William Shakespeare, of course not much here in the Philippines unlike in other countries. But whenever i go to different countries, i always see at least a photo of William Shakespeare. There was a time when i went to Japan and i even saw a chocolate shaped as William Shakespeare, which really amazed me and made me realize now that he really is that known in the world. I like the ad of the baby, where it stated that it was William Shakespeare from the beginning. It was pretty cool because of the fact that there might be a chance of how expressive he was even back then.

  5. March 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Prose before Hoes. That was really funny, but it’s like nearly every major product/company has used Shakespeare as a promotion gig at one point in time. I guess he really is that marketable and recognizable. People also never seem to run out of ideas to incorporate Shakespeare into whatever they’re selling/advertising. I’m looking forward to what else the world comes up with.

  6. March 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    This post just shows that Shakespeare is indeed at a center of a big industry. Shakespeare is an icon known, liked, and admired by many. The Bard works like a brand name that adds familiarity or prestige to anything associated to his name and therefore used by a lot of organizations for commercial purposes. It makes you wonder though, what if the world suddenly finds out that the Great Bard is a fake and that he never wrote any of his plays and sonnets, what would be in store for that industry and the people who are part of it?

    • March 23, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      comment by:
      Irene Louise S. Arabelo

  7. chubbyteddy
    March 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I think these advertisements use Shakespeare because Shakespeare is an icon of high culture. Shakespeare means sophistication. I think they also use Shakespeare because their target market is the middle class who are acquainted with Shakespeare.

    These thoughts make me ask the questions: What makes Shakespeare interesting and marketable? Is it his works or is it because of the thought, “Shakespeare means sophistication”?

  8. jbd
    March 24, 2011 at 8:22 am

    It’s funny that even in Facebook we have Juliet changing her relationship status and Romeo “liking” it. I find that hilarious because of the fact that the relationship status fits their relationship. It’s amazing how Shakespeare has reached that far. It’s just really evident that Shakespeare is such an icon. Before I got into this class, I just know Shakespeare as a great writer. And I am in such awe every time I learn and discover that Shakespeare is just everywhere.. in almost all forms of media. But, why? What made him?

    The questions raised by “chubbyteddy” are the exact same questions I have in mind. It’s mind boggling every time I try to analyze it. Btw, I also like the “Prose before hoes” part. It’s funny. Great find!

    • March 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      i love the facebook status relationship too! 🙂 however, if analyzed closely, romeo perhaps wouldn’t have “liked” it that much for being in such a “complicated” situation. for it has actually caused all the troubles in his life. arguably, technology has done much for things to be taken mostly at the surface level.

  9. January 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

    The Facebook photo was taken by me:
    If Only

  1. June 23, 2014 at 3:51 am
  2. April 19, 2016 at 3:44 am

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