Advertising and Promotion

Matthew P. McAllister and Alexandra Nutter Smith

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:
Advertising and Promotion

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Advertising is unique in its status as both a major textual genre and a revenue source for media systems. As a textual genre, it is arguably the most dominant in our culture: for every hour of primetime commercial television viewed, approximately twenty minutes of that viewing involves exposure to advertising, television program announcements or promotions, and public service announcements. Advertising is used to market traditional branded products, but the selling and branding logic of advertising can also be applied to other cultural and social endeavors, including politics, religion, and media entities (e.g., Disney). Advertising’s textual dimensions are designed to enhance the cultural value of brands, and as such encompass elements of verbal and visual semiotic technique, culturally constructed desire, demographic division, and sociocultural status and hierarchy. As a selling mechanism in corporate capitalism, the commodity orientation of advertising is worthy of note in and of itself, but the associated symbolic characteristics of advertising—representations of gender, race, the good life—are also of great significance as part of the cultural context in which they exist. As an economic system that funds modern media, advertising has a tremendous influence on the form of that media, as well as on the messages in media content and the very economic logic of media—what it is that commercial media sells and to whom. As a topic of study, advertising’s role in academia is appropriately interdisciplinary. From a practitioner viewpoint, scholarship in departments of marketing and advertising/public relations approach the study of advertising and promotion as a professional activity, and they therefore assume the basic premises and goals of advertising. This research, then, is often designed to increase advertising’s effectiveness or to explore individualist or self-regulatory perspectives such as practitioner ethics. Such scholarship is not included in this bibliography; see the Oxford Bibliographies article on Advertising for that body of work. Also not included here is related scholarship in consumer culture studies, work that often focus on non–advertising and promotional elements, such as the symbolic meaning of products, packaging, and shopping. This bibliography instead emphasizes the study of advertising in the liberal arts and humanities, a body of qualitative scholarship that engages it as an ideological and power-laden activity and as a serious form of—or influence on—culture. This scholarship could be labeled as “advertising criticism,” “critical advertising studies” or “commercial and promotional culture.” Its influences are broad and include Marxism, feminism, semiotics, political economy, environmentalism, and other approaches derived from critical theory and cultural studies. Given the size of this literature, most of the works in this bibliography are book-length, although a few exceptions have been made for especially notable shorter pieces.

Article.  9902 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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