boy driving toy car

The Cultivation Theory and the Importance of Saving Money

Savings Accounts Advertisement

Most banks and credit unions have savings accounts designed specifically for children and young adults. They are often marketed as a great way to teach kids the importance of understanding money and being financially responsible. They are also an opportunity for parents and grandparents to invest in their future.

This particular banner advertisement comes from a police officers’ credit union, a not-for-profit organisation that offers financial advice, mortgages and accounts to members of the service.


Analyse the following website banner using the following ideas from Cultivation theory:

  • Socialisation
  • Cumulation
  • Enculturation
children's savings advertisement

Points to Consider

It should be quite clear that the object of the advertisement is to open a savings account. We want to make sure our children’s futures are secure and, perhaps, help them to buy their first car. In terms of the primary target audience, parents and grandparents, most media texts will promote this idea of looking after young people. This cumulation, or repetition of the value, we encourage use to visit our local branch or sign up online for a new account.

From the financial institution’s perspective, they want to enculturate young people into the habit of saving with the bank. By opening an account at an early age, they we learn to engage positively with money. This is learning process is socialisation.

Every society has its dominant ideologies and beliefs. Financial prudence and management is certainly a myth promoted the banking system and other major institutions. For example, after the Prime Minister, the next most powerful position in the UK government is the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Money is either the root of all evil or it makes the world go round. Depending on your own point of view.

Semiotic Analysis

In this essay, once you have established the preferred reading of the text, which is the benefits of starting a saving account for “your child’s future”, you should explore the main signifiers and how they combine to deliver that message. First, why did the producers include the young boy in the image? What do children often signify?

Using Peirce’s sign theory, comment on the use of the toy car. What do you think is the interpretant of this sign? How is this mental concept supported by the clothes the boy is wearing – the mature shirt and jumper?

The background consists of a road and the grassy banks on either side. What does a road usually signify? Why include the greenery? How does the haze of sunshine at the edge of the composition add to the positive tone of the advertisement?

Why is he looking directly at the camera? How does that impact the viewer?

Finally, how do the written codes provide anchorage for our interpretation of the message?

Further Reading

Thanks for reading!