SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION
CMNS 323-4 (W)*
Spring Semester 2012
CULTURAL DIMENSIONS IN ADVERTISING
Prerequisites: 60 units, including two of CMNS 220, 221, 223 or 226. CMNS 362 or 363 is strongly recommended.
Advertising is everywhere in contemporary society. From television and the Internet, to newspapers and magazines, people are exposed to thousands of advertising ‘impressions’ every day. Beyond individual ads, media convergence, and the quest for ‘synergies’, has 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, our value structures, belief systems, and our ideas about what constitutes ‘the good life’?
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, or how to design marketing strategies. Instead, we will draw upon different critical theories and empirical research methods, as a means of reflecting upon the broader social and cultural dimensions of advertising.
We begin with a discussion of the relationship between advertising, promotional culture, and a social, economic, and cultural environment dominated by commodification. We then examine some of the dominant characteristics of post-modern advertising and promotional culture, using case studies of the representation of capitalism and the emerging phenomena of...
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