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Advertising and Consumer Society

Advertising and Consumer Society

Nicholas Holm


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Book Details


An introduction to the critical study of advertising, exploring its role in our contemporary cultural landscape and its connections to larger economic, social and political forces. Written in an engaging and accessible style, the book provides students with the key concepts, methods and debates you need to analyse and understand advertising.

An engaging and accessible introduction to the critical study of advertising, which provides students with the key concepts, methods and debates they need to analyse and understand advertising.

Nick Holm is Lecturer of Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Contents v
Chapter 1: Introduction: Why study advertising? 1
Why study advertising? 2
Reason one: Advertising is everywhere 4
Reason two: Advertising is weird 4
Reason three: Advertising is where the money is 5
Reason four: Advertising is beautiful, inspiring and entertaining 7
Reason five: Advertising is political 8
What this book is about 9
What this book is not about 12
Chapter 2: The history of advertising: Contexts, transformations and continuity 14
Four moments in advertising history 15
The first moment: Origins, industrialisation and development 16
The second moment: Professionalisation, consolidation and redemption 20
The third moment: Manipulation, creativity and globalisation 24
The fourth moment: Digital advertising, algorithms and dataveillance 28
The changing nature of advertising 32
Chapter 3: Analysing advertisements: Form, semiotics and ideology 35
Advertising contexts, codes and conventions 36
Semiotic analysis of advertising 44
Mythology and ideology 52
Careful reading 61
Chapter 4: Advertising, capitalism and ideology 63
What is capitalism? 63
What is political economy? 67
What is ideology? 70
Consumer society and the magic system 80
Selling capitalism 85
From economics to ideology to advertising 90
Chapter 5: Advertising commodities and commodity fetishism 93
What is a commodity? 95
Advertising and commodity fetishism 99
Fetishism and consumerism 112
The life cycle of the commodity 114
Chapter 6: Audiences for sale: Quantification segmentation and personalisation 117
The audience as commodity 118
Breaking down the audience: Fragmentation, segmentation and distinction 124
Conspicuous consumption 129
From nichification to personalisation 133
Same but different? 137
Chapter 7: Advertising agencies: Organisation agency and internal conflict 142
The limits of abstraction 142
The organisational structure of agencies 146
The changing agency 151
Advertisers in their own voices 153
Conflict and compromise in the agency 159
Agency as form from chaos 160
Chapter 8: Advertising as art: From creativity to critique 162
Advertising and ‘creativity’ 163
Advertising and art 168
Advertising changing the world 177
The stakes of advertising as art 180
Chapter 9: Empowering consumers Engagement interpretation and resistance 181
The active advertising audience 182
What does the audience get from advertising? 187
Active audiences online 195
Activist resistance to advertising 198
Chapter 10: The politics of advertising: Capitalism, resistance and liberalism 201
The politics of capitalism 202
The politics of agency 205
The politics of art 207
The power of advertising 208
References 210
Index 219