CMNS323 Cultural dimensions adv

CMNS 323

Cultural dimensions in advertising

This course is about advertising in contemporary society. From television and the Internet, to newspapers and magazines, we are exposed to thousands of advertising ‘impressions’ every day. Beyond individual ads, media convergence and the quest for ‘synergies’ have increasingly transformed all forms of culture into tools of marketing and promotion.

What are the social, cultural, and political implications of these developments? How does advertising and ‘promotional culture’ affect the society in which we live? Are advertisements ideologically framed? What constitutes ‘the good life’? These are a few of the questions we will explore in this course. Our primary objective is to critically explore contemporary advertising as it connects to larger questions of society and culture. 

Our focus will not be on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the advertising industry; nor will the course teach you how to create advertising campaigns. Rather, the course will draw upon different critical theories, qualitative research methods, and empirical studies to reflect upon the broader social, cultural and political dimensions of advertising.

The course begins with a discussion on the relationship between advertising and promotional culture. It then looks at theories of brand identity and the citizen-consumer. This will be followed by an exploration of post-modern advertising and globalization. In the latter half of the course, themes such as the promotion of pharmaceutical drugs, the commercialization of children’s culture, politics and political advertising, “green-washing” and cause marketing, and topics related to new media will be discussed.

Tutorial presentations and exercises

Questions about these materials?