Simulacra

Simulacra - in the era of television - are copies of things that no longer have an original (or never had one to begin with).

Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory - PRECESSION OF SIMULACRA - it is the map that engenders the territory....(Baudrillard, 1994, p. 1)

Advertising assists in constituting signs and codes that appear to represent social reality - in actuality, they represent an autonomous realm of hyperreality that has relatively little to do with the 'real' as we have come to define it.

Jean Baudrillard points to a reversal of the relation between representation and reality where the media are coming to constitute a (hyper)reality, a media reality which seems "more real than real" (Kellner, 1991). The distinction between the real and the representation collapses and dissolves away. All that truly can be said to be left is the simulacra itself.

The Three Orders of the Simulacra