Natural, Enjoyable, and Finnish: Social Representations of Eating Meat in Finnish Meat Product Advertisements


  • Timo Häkli
  • Eemeli Hakoköngäs


In this study, we examine how meat product advertisements shape the image of meat-eating at a time when alternatives to meat-eating are increasingly being discussed in many Western countries. Drawing on social representations theory, multimodal analysis, and deconstructive reading, we explore how certain meanings are attached to meat-eating while others are put aside. The research material consisted of 65 advertisement videos published by the two largest Finnish meat product companies between 2013 and 2021. We identified naturalness, enjoyment, and Finnishness as the main concepts used to promote meat consumption. The social representations in the advertisements were constituted by three embedded themata namely, edible/inedible, human/animal, and us/them, structuring everyday conceptions regarding meat-eating. Theoretically we seek to show how the advertisements participate in dialogical negotiation on socially salient topics in present-day societies and contribute to the construction of social representations.