“My Kingdom for an Iphone”. Shakespeare and Mobile Phones


The essay examines how Shakespeare and his works have been appropriated and exploited for promotional purposes in the field of mobile phone communication in the 21st century. On the one hand, I will investigate the strategies used to advertise merchandising related to mobile phones. Capitalising on Shakespeare’s iconic status, crafters have created covers and phone cases featuring pictures of the Bard, which range from the traditional well-known Chandos Portrait to more creative depictions of the dramatist, as he wears earphones or sunglasses. His visage, as Susan Bennett argues, has become “the signifier beyond all others in an international marketing economy” (1996, p. 36). On the other hand, I will discuss the reasons why advertising creative teams have turned most often to Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy which dramatises lack of communication on different levels, than to any other Shakespearean play to promote mobile communication providers. I will explore three American ads (Nextel Communications 2003, T-Mobile 2008, and Apple 2016), a French one (Orange 2009) and an Italian one (Vodafone Italy 2013), all reinterpreting the balcony scene from a diverse angle.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v45p151

Keywords: advertising; Shakespeare; mobile phones; intermediality


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