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Adertising Agencies

Bibliography as a form of market information. Their denition of

information, however, is usually limited to prices and
Hower R 1939 The History of an Adertising Agency: N. W. Ayer
& Son at Work, 18691939. Harvard University Press, availability. To the extent that advertisements in-
Cambridge, MA corporate other non-information (such as prestige
Jones P 1999 The Adertising Business. Sage, Thousand Oaks, claims or sex appeals), advertising becomes an ex-
CA ogenous variable, constitutive of tastes, and there-
Leiss W, Klein S, Jhally S 1990 Social Communication in fore present in the system only as noise or interference.
Adertising: Persons, Products and Images of Well-being, 2nd As long as advertisements serve to notify markets of
edn. Routledge, London supply and price, however, the institution of ad-
Lien M 1997 Marketing and Modernity. Berg, Oxford, UK vertising operates neatly within the range of traditional
Miller D 1997 Capitalism: An Ethnographic Approach. Berg,
economic models. Indeed, to the extent that adver-
Oxford, UK
Moeran B 1996 A Japanese Adertising Agency: An Anthropology tising supports stable demand, allowing producers to
of Media and Markets. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, become price-makers rather than price-takers, it
HI becomes an important aid to microeconomic planning.
Schudson M 1984 Adertising: The Uneasy Persuasion. Basic The realization of economies of scale that accrue from
Books, New York such an arrangement, so the argument goes, tends to
Wells W, Burnett J, Moriarty S 2000 Adertising: Principles and reduce prices to consumers in the long run.
Practice. Prentice-Hall, London Critics and consumer groups often charge that
advertising merely adds to the prices paid by
B. Moeran consumerssometimes raising them as much as
100%but such claims do not hold for most goods in
the long run. For example, simple bar soap was sold
100 years ago in the US at a price that included
Advertising and Advertisements advertising expenses equal to direct costs (thus repre-
senting about 50% of each units price). As con-
sumption of soap grew, however, the advertising
1. Denition expenditures leveled o (advertisement budgets reach
The way the terms advertising and advertisement a plateau of eectiveness beyond which it makes no
are dened depends to a great extent on the authors sense to spend at higher levels). Consequently, the
perspective, training, and agenda. Even so, an en- percentage of each units price represented by ad-
cyclopedia entry seems to beg for an authoritative vertising steeply declined. Since advertising expense is
denition. This article oers the following: an ad- only one of the economies of scale created by mass
vertisement is a message paid for, but not delivered, by marketing and production, the total unit price of each
the sender, that (a) incorporates technologies or forms bar of soap also dropped dramatically, allowing many
other than speech, (b) appears in a public forum, and US citizens to wash regularly for the rst time. Today,
(c) attempts to persuade receivers to behave in a way it is only the very extraordinary soap that would
that brings direct economic benet to the sender. This include an advertising expense more than 3 percent of
denition allows for most of what is customarily its unit price. The same is true for most well-
considered advertising, while excluding other acts or established, mass-produced, and heavily advertised
forms that, while sharing some characteristics with products.
advertisements, are not generally considered such. For In the Marxist critique of capitalist consumer
instance, this denition would not include a salesmans culture, advertisings most central function is to ensure
pitch, but would encompass any brochures he used. capitalism continues: by stimulating ever-increasing
Political speeches, whether made in Parliament or levels of demand, advertising forces an always-grow-
during the breaks on 60 Minutes, would not be ing array of goods into consumers homes, regardless
advertisements because the expected behavioral out- of need or utility. Here too, advertisements that inform
come is not directly economic. Corporate image audiences of availability and prices are not typically
messages would count, even when purchase is not the thought problematic. However, the fetishization of
object, as such advertisements ultimately have an objects by advertisements that name, sing, or tell
economic goal, such as aecting the value of stock by stories is seen as a sinister form of industrial magic
increasing the prestige of the corporation. through which consumers are made to value products
for the wrong reasons. By adding this dubious
exchange value to the objects use value, advertising
2. Function serves to rob workers and pad the pockets of capitalists
with unearned prots.
The function of advertising likewise will vary in The cultural critics picture of advertising as a
description based upon the education, focus, and guarantee of long-term prots is sharply at odds with
motive of a particular author. Economists tradition- the way advertisings function is actually viewed in
ally have allowed advertising into their models only practice. Though the most obvious reason for a

Adertising and Adertisements

manufacturer to spend money on advertising is to has had the eect of increased control over distri-
stimulate purchase, advertisers are famously skeptical bution, arguing that channel management is actually
about the actual impact of media budgets on sales. the primary function of advertising conates eect
They tend to feel vaguely robbed by their advertising with function.
agencies, forced to participate in a pointless display by The conation of the terms eect and function is
social convention. And, indeed, one of the few also a problem in works that purport to identify the
generally accepted ndings of the past 30 years of impact of advertising upon social issues. For example,
academic research on advertising eectiveness is that a many feminists have written about the eects of
direct eect on sales is virtually impossible to dem- advertising on the status of women, frequently falling
onstrate. So many factors inuence sales that it is hard into the habit of claiming that advertisings function is
to isolate advertisings function to stimulate demand. to oppress women. While advertisements may indeed
And, from case to case, advertisings apparent per- contribute to the ideology of gender inequality, ar-
formance can vary from spectacular to abysmal with guing that advertisings purpose is the oppression of
little readily discernible logic. women seems a misplacement of emphasis.
Accounting practices reect the doubts of the From the broadest cultural perspective, advertis-
manufacturing community: advertising cannot be ings function may be more meta-structural than most
treated as an investment in capital (like buying a new social critics would describeor advertisers pay for.
plant), but must be treated instead as an annual Anthropologists argue that the primary function of
expense (like oce paper). Only in the past 5 to 10 consumption is cultural, not biological, because goods
years (and only in Europe) has the possibility of serve to make the categories of culture visible and,
recognizing the long-term benets of advertising in therefore, stable. Since human cognition demands a
nancial statements been discussed. The reason for balance between total heterogeneity and total hom-
reconsidering advertising as an investment is the equity ogeneity, any system of objects will require an activity
markets valuation of companies with established that marks items as being appropriate for certain
brands. Consider that shares in Procter and Gamble, users, places, or occasions. In pre-industrial societies,
the largest advertiser in the US, go for more than four marking is accomplished through exchange rituals
times book value. The price of the stock reects the performed in the presence of the entire tribe. The
nancial communitys belief that some value inheres in chanting, singing, and naming in such rituals can be
Procter and Gamble beyond the historical cost of its uncannily similar in form to modern advertising.
equipment, patents, and real estate. Probably, the Given the proliferation of otherwise homogeneous
nancial markets are imputing a value for Procter and goods in the mass-production society, one would
Gambles many brands, most of which are long- expect to see some mechanism arise for marking these
standing leaders in their respective product categories. goods as cultural artifacts. Since mass production was
Category leadership is at least partly attributable to accompanied in history by the emergence of mass
Procter and Gambles historical practice of consist- communication, it is, perhaps, not terribly surprising
ently advertising each brand at levels that exceed all that the activity of marking mass-produced goods
direct competitors expenditures. would occur in the public spaces provided by the
Historians have oered the view that advertisings mass media. Thus emerges advertising as we know it.
function is to weaken, even eliminate, the middlemen
in goods distribution by stimulating consumer demand 3. Form
for products. Once consumers want a particular brand,
they say, retailers are forced to carry it on their Today, advertising is highly identied with images.
shelves and brokers are forced to provide it to Particularly in cultural studies, invoking the dangers
retailers. While it is demonstrably true that the growth of the visual is almost synonymous with advertising
of advertising as an institution over, say, the past 150 criticism. But advertising is not necessarily, nor even
years has resulted in a rationalizing of distribution distinctively, visual in form. Television commercials
systems in a way that is advantageous for manu- that use only the visual dimension are as rare as silence
facturers (and, actually, consumers), the notion that on a sitcomthat is to say, rare indeed. Instead,
advertising allows makers to control distributors television advertisements, like most other types of
should not be overstated. Distributors and retailers advertising, skillfully integrate more than one sym-
retain a great deal of power in the current system and, bolic system (speech, writing, numbers, music, gesture,
in fact, during the last 30 years of the twentieth and so on). In radio, where the visual dimension is
century, the shift has been back toward the distributor. absent, the sound of speech is often elaborated with
We see evidence of this in the production of private rhyme and rhythm or augmented with song or sound
label brands, the growing power of stores like Wal- eects. Furthermore, the largest category of adver-
Mart, and the broadscale shift of advertising dollars tisements, directory and classied advertisements, are
spent by companies like Procter and Gamble into usually composed entirely of written text. Even here,
expenditures for trade allowances and the like. however, we see nonverbal dimensions brought to
Further, while it is certainly plausible that advertising bear. The addition of color, use of stylized typefaces,

Adertising and Adertisements

Figure 1
Visual use of speech sound similarity
Figure 2
Adaptation of familiar image
and strategic placement of written messages in all
forms of print emphasize something cultural critics try between duck and duct tape has no basis in use: one
to ignore: that writing is itself an image; the printed cannot buy ducks from amazon.com, nor can ducks be
word is, by denition, speech made visible. customers of amazon.com, nor, for that matter, would
Writing systems, furthermore, are not always al- duct tape be used on a duck. The association here only
phabetic in nature, but are sometimes based on works because, in speech, the phrase duct tape
picturing. The rst shop signs operated on a kind of sounds like duck tape.
pictography, even in alphabetic societies, because only The multiform nature of advertising is at least partly
the elites were literate. Thus, the convention of a result of the ongoing struggle to garner consumers
hanging the shape of a shoe outside a cobblers door, attention. In the early years of advertisings growth in
or painting a striped pole to designate a barber, or the USA, most publishers limited advertisements to
dierentiating taverns by the visual representation of ten-point agate type. This policy, known as the agate-
their names (the Bull in Boots). Critics who insist on only rule, was an attempt to equalize commercial
situating advertising in the industrial period argue that competition and a way of saving paper. Inventive
such signs were not a form of advertising because they advertisers strained against the agate-only rule by
were merely information, an announcement rather printing their messages in patterns, sometimes getting
than an attempt to persuade. The range of early signs notice through sheer repetition and other times by
includes many aggressive, even poetic, pictorial state- using the text to form a picture. When, eventually,
ments, however. In England, the signs became so huge publishers allowed advertisers to make use of images,
and outlandish that they began to cause accidents by the pressure only escalated. Now, advertisers wanted
falling or blocking the viewin 1762, they were bigger pictures, more distinctive pictures and, es-
outlawed. pecially, color pictures. The same struggle occurred in
Today, imagistic advertisements still reach into aural form during the early days of radio. The
common linguistic formsproverbs, colloquialisms, competition to stand out, be memorable, or gain
jargonfor the sense of their message. In the ad- credibility resulted in testimonials by leading radio
vertisement in Fig. 1, for instance, the association stars, jokes woven into the existing program, jingles

Adertising and Adertisements

As this visual vocabulary builds, even the images of

the past become meaningful to the readers of the
present. Thus, we see frequent adaptations of older
styles reused to specify a past period. For instance, the
typeface, background and headline in Fig. 3 all
communicate the late 1960s. Yet this advertisement
ran on the back of TV Guide in the autumn of the year
2000: many of those readers would not be old enough
to remember the 1950s or 1960s, but nevertheless are
clearly expected (by the advertisers) to know the style
associated with that time. Achieving specic reference
through subtle variation in the manner of rendering is
a hallmark of advanced pictographies. Advertisements
like these demand a highly developed form of reading
from their viewers, as opposed to the kind of mindless
absorption that most critics attribute to consumers of
the image culture of advertising.
Though references to the visual past appear fre-
quently in advertising today, it is also true that in our
own eraas in others before usmost advertisements
struggle to look modern (and here I mean hip,
new, cutting edge, etc.) The same is true in other
dimensions, such as music: the rst Pepsi jingle was in
the swing style popular on radio in the 1930s; in the
1960s, Pepsi used Motown artists; in the 1980s,
Michael Jackson and Madonna sang for Pepsi. As a
result of this propensity to operate right at the horizon
of a cultures formal style, advertisements are con-
sistently among the most topical, timely, and stylish of
cultural texts. Thus, the advertisements of any period
tend to be, if nothing else, distinctly of their time,
heavily periodized. As Roland Marchand noted, for
instance, the advertisements of the 1930s are markedly
Figure 3 dierent from those of the 1920smore aggressive,
Use of visual style to periodize less graceful, more pronounced in commercial intent.
He attributed the dierence to the declining economy.
put in with the music. The Internet advanced in less So, not only do the latest visual styles, celebrities,
than 5 years from a text-only medium to a jumbled tunes, and dances feature heavily in advertisements,
screen oering pictures, words, numbers, sound, ani- the issues and concerns of the day do as well. This
mation, and even video. While the proliferation of inuence may occur in pervasive ways, such as
formal features on the Internet was certainly made Marchand described, but it also makes itself felt in
possible by technological innovation, it was also very specic, identiable instances. War imagery and
largely fueled by the demands of the new commercial patriotic motifs, for instance, are much more common
media, the dot.coms, wanting to coax their reluctant in US advertising between January 1942 and August
customers, national advertisers. 1945 than they are in the months either immediately
Advertisements have also adopted the formal before or immediately after. Fear of disease is the basis
features of other genres. Early in the century, for for many advertising appeals following the inuenza
instance, the advice columns of the new national epidemic of 1918; todays advertisements refer to
magazines in the USA were quickly imitated by AIDS and breast cancer. Ideology is also reected:
advertisers, who used their own experts to give advice Thomas Franks Conquest of Cool (1997) has elo-
that inevitably involved buying a particular brand. quently argued that the change in advertising known
Today, advertisements like the one in Fig. 2 reach all as the Creative Revolution had its roots in the
the way to fteenth-century Italian art for their broader political shift that rumbled through the USA
inspiration, leading cultural critics to bemoan the between 1960 and 1970.
pastiche that seems to crop up so often in advertise- If one were to try to theorize an aesthetics of
ments. However, advertisements like this one (and advertising, therefore, a key characteristic might be
others that adapt genres like movies or comics) also this tendency to focus on the present, even while
testify to the growth of an elaborate visual vocabulary evoking the past. Another, which has been noted by
among the reading populace. authors like Jennifer Wicke, is that advertising is

Adertising and Adertisements

essentially an aesthetics of economy: saying a lot in a in the 1950s. Others like Bill Bernbach, who led the
small space or a short time is nearly always one of the Creative Revolution of the 1960s, have argued that a
objectives. Roland Barthes famous observation that good advertisement is one that is more creative (that
advertising is generally characterizable by its frank- is, prettier, funnier, more imaginative, or in some
nessin the sense that advertisements try to seem other way a more pleasing work of art), but have also
naturalis not, in my opinion, supportable. Instead, claimed that aesthetically pleasing advertisements
advertisings need to defamiliarize its propositions actually sell more product anyway. Such positions are
has created a corpus of texts notable for whimsy, hard either to evaluate or defend because of the
fancy, outrageousness, and blatant artice. A good previously-mentioned diculty of demonstrating the
example is a television commercial running now, which eect of advertising on sales. These positions are made
refers to the animal nature of a Jeep by having the car even more problematic by the changes over time in (a)
shake mud and water from itself like a wet dog, what is deemed to be a pleasing advertisement and (b)
showering its owners in the messy residue. The what is deemed to be a persuasive argument. For
fundamental impulse to animate an object in the instance, in the 1950s, anything that smacked of
context of exchangesomething that is present even science gave an aura of rationality to the argument.
in so-called primitive cultureshere runs directly Today, those same advertisements, with their secret
into the expressive capacity of early twenty-rst ingredients, graphic cross-sections, and microscopic
century technology. A simple metaphorical propo- views, look as irrational as the sci- movies of the same
sition (a Jeep is like a dog) is transformed, via period. Several campaigns of the Creative Revolution,
computer animation, into an extraordinary ction. like Alka-Seltzer and Volkswagen, still appear on
The expression of a very basic material proposition in industry best campaigns lists 40 years after they were
highly imaginative form would also probably be one created. But others, like the Brani campaign, are a
of the key principles of an aesthetics of advertising. puzzle to contemporary viewersthe Pucci costumes
For all its ctive properties, however, advertising is and Pop planes arent as fresh to todays eye.
unlike other art forms in one very mundane way. Aesthetic notions are always closely connected to a
Advertisements always have one foot on the ground cultures morality. Thus, outside the practical world of
in the sense that they attempt to inuence a concrete advertising, the distinction made between good
behavior, usually a purchase. Depending on the advertising and bad advertising is often seated in the
particular government under which it is operating, an presumed value of information versus the moral
advertisement may also have to accommodate prac- questionability of persuasion. Writers trying to sup-
tical concerns about the product or the status of port such divisions among advertisements often use
exchange in some formal way. Commercials for drugs the presence of images as the basis for categorizing:
that stimulate weight loss, for instance, often represent words and numbers tend to be seen as informative or
attractive possibilitiesfollowed abruptly by disclos- rational, while images are persuasive and ir-
ure of some rather unattractive side-eects. Many rational. Even an amateur rhetorician, however, can
other products, from toys to cigarettes, must include come up with examples in which the display of
warnings or disclaimers about everything from health alphanumeric information (or the withholding of it) is
risks to whether batteries are included. Regulations on itself an attempt at persuasion. Further, the visual
deceptive advertising, at least in the USA, will tolerate presentation of informationeven in the plainest
a range of ction and puery, but the inferences the styleaects its persuasiveness. Finally, information
average consumer makes about the product must be is often presented in pictorial form, as in maps and
concretely true or the campaign is pulled. What that graphs. In many cultures, visual forms are used to
means, then, is that most US viewers probably do not record and transmit widely varied types of data.
expect a Jeep to shake like a dog, even after seeing it on Today, writers like Edward Tufte have made us more
TV. In fact, looking at the total range of fancy aware of the intimate connection between visualiz-
discernible in advertisements today, viewers must be ation and information, whether our objective is
making, rapidly and on a daily basis, some fairly ne persuasion, mere representation, or facilitating our
distinctions between the ction of the advertisements own understanding. Therefore, the distinction be-
and the facts about the products. This, again, suggests tween the informativewritten advertisement and the
a more skeptical, sophisticated, selective viewer than persuasiveimagistic advertisement seems to rest
many who write about the manipulation of the mainly on a na$ ve understanding of rhetoric and an
populace by advertisers prefer to imagine. outdated approach to the pictorial.
Raising the specter of an aesthetics of advertising
among those who actually make advertisements often
revives a long-standing philosophical debate over 4. How Adertisements Work
what a good advertisement is. On one side are those
who believe that a good advertisement is one that There are almost as many theories about how adver-
sells, even if it irritates every member of the audience. tisements work as there are advertisements them-
Famous admen like Rosser Reeves took this position selves. Several famous admen have published their

Adertising and Adertisements

own treatises on how to make an eective adver- our families because we need both nurture and
tisement. There is little agreement among them. Few, nutrition. Indeed, the more inquiry is done on the
however, would subscribe to the theories that have dynamics of consumer behavior, the less currency is
been popular among academics. For instance, held even by the traditional split between needs that
Freudian theories popular among cultural critics of are biological (and therefore real) versus those that
the late twentieth century would inspire little more are social (and therefore false). With this in mind, it
than laughter among those who actually produce becomes increasingly dicult to insist that advertising
advertisements. After a brief irtation with Freudian either plays on hidden needs or that it makes us buy
notions in the late 1950s (an approach known in the things we dont needbecause the notion of need
business as MR, which stands for motivation re- becomes utterly redened.
search), the advertising industry abandoned attempts Elsewhere in academia, however, a dierent kind of
to sell products through subliminal cues, such as psychology still tries to explain how advertisements
phallic symbols or hidden images of genitalia. Such work. Experimental psychologists in applied areas like
approaches, having proven ineective, are now advertising and marketing have tried hard to identify
thought to be ridiculous. Shirley Polyko (who wrote specic formal cues and appeals that will consistently
the Does she or doesnt she Clairol advertisements produce sales for advertisers. These researchers design
of the 1960s) ridiculed these attempts in her memoirs, experiments that attempt to determine whether color,
published in 1975 (Polyko 1975). She recalls that a happy music, or big type work better to sell us goods
TV spot introducing a womens shaving cream was than black and white, sad music, or small type. After
changed to accommodate a psychoanalysts sugges- nearly 30 years of study, not a single generalizable
tion: after the woman shaved, her legs should rise nding has emerged from this research. The new
slowly as she leaned back in her chair, a position psychological theories of how advertisements work,
normally associated with an activity other than shav- therefore, are no more likely to win the respect of
ing. The product was a bomb: It turned out no advertising professionals than the old, Freudian ones.
woman at that time, rising legs notwithstanding, was So, professionals approach the creation of adver-
interested in paying for a shaving cream when she tisements in much the same way they always have: as
could use her husbands or a bar of soap that was a common-sense attempt to persuade their cultural
readily at hand(Polyko 1975, p. 98). Cases like this kindred to buy a product. True, they have a great deal
one eventually put the MR people out of business. of information about our needs, desires, and dis-
Purchase behavior, as it turns out, is better ex- satisfactionsand they do put that knowledge to use
plained by such pedestrian matters as price, practices, in crafting their messages. To that extent, advertisers
and preferences than by phallic imagery. So, in some may have some edge over the amateur persuaders we
ways, the subliminal advertising and motivation re- meet in everyday life: Girl Scouts who try to sell us
search fads of the fties were displaced by a greater cookies, preachers who try to get us to tithe, and
understanding of the reasons people consume. In The ospring who try to make us buy toys. Nevertheless,
Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard (1957) accused advertising professionals basically work with rhetori-
advertisers of manipulating hidden needs to sell cal principles as old as Aristotle: after studying their
products, sparking a national controversy. Packards audience, they oer information and arguments they
eight hidden needs were then thought to be irrational believe will be convincing. They aect a character they
or even immoral as a basis for buying. Today, these think will match up with the audiences self-image. For
needsfor self-esteem, for safety, for recognition sweetening the proposition, they throw in melodies,
are no longer particularly hidden, but are popularly jokes, and pictures. At the workbench level, this
accepted as being essential to human mental health. practice, for all the devilry attributed to it, is only a
Further, scholars investigating consumption from a garden variety of rhetoric.
more anthropological point of view, like Mary Like any other attempt at rhetoric, some of these
Douglas and Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, have now practical eorts fail. Some sink dramatically, like
published material emphasizing the complexity of Shirley Polykos advertisement for shaving cream.
consumption in all cultures, by all humans, and at all Few produce the kind of powerful propellant critics
times. This literature richly and repeatedly illustrates claim for this institution. The public and its pundits,
the myriad of ways that people use material posses- though, continue to believe that advertisers have some
sions to express themselves, to make connections with secret power to manipulate them. Some of this
others, to protect their families, to enculturate their suspicion is the advertising industrys own fault. In
children, and so on. The tendency in Western post- promoting their abilities to press and potential clients,
industrial thought to insist on material life being advertising agencies have consistently overclaimed for
properly separated from the spiritual or social does their own skills. Their bravado, coupled with con-
not hold up well under the weight of this evidence. A tinued attempts to nd magic formulas, makes the
more sophisticated perspective now recognizes that public justiably wary.
people usually consume for social reasons even when Many myths thus continue about the power of
they are satisfying biological needs: we eat dinner with advertising, lending fuel to the general discomfort with

Adertising and Adertisements

commercial culture. For instance, the 1950s story of See also: Advertising Agencies; Advertising: Eects;
subliminal advertising, in which unsuspecting US Advertising: General; Advertising, Psychology of;
movie patrons were persuaded to buy cola and Media Eects; Media, Uses of
popcorn by ickering messages undetected in the lm,
is retold today as if it really happened. In actual fact,
the whole event was a scam. James Vicary, the man
who claimed to have accomplished this feat, was an Bibliography
unemployed market researcher when he reported his
Aaker D A. (ed.) 1993 Brand Equity and Adertising: Adertis-
story to the press in 1957. While reporters and, soon,
ings Role In Building Strong Brands. L. Erlbaum Associates,
Congressmen investigated the validity of his claim, Hillsdale, NJ
Vicary collected retainers from some of the nations Barthes R 1982 The Rhetoric of the Image, The Responsibility of
largest advertisers. But his claim quickly began to fall Forms. Hill and Wang, New York
apart. First, the theater owner said no test had been Csikszentmihalyi M, Rochberg-Halton E 1981 The Meaning of
done on his premises, as Vicary had claimed. Then, Things: Domestic Symbols and the Self. Cambridge University
Vicary failed to produce the eect for a Congressional Press, New York
committee. Suddenly, less than 6 months after his Douglas M, Isherwood B C 1996 The World of Goods: Towards
name rst appeared in the papers, Vicary disappeared. an Anthropology of Consumption. Routledge, London
His closets and his checking account were left empty. Fox S 1984 The Mirror Makers: A History of American
Adertising and Its Creators. Random House, New York
He was never heard from again. Though many
Frank T 1997 The Conquest of Cool. University of Chicago
researchers have attempted to replicate his study, the Press, Chicago
purported eect has never been repeated. Even if Leiss W, Kline S, Jhally S 1990 Social Communication in
Vicary was a charlatan, though, the true story does Adertising: Persons, Products, and Images of Well-Being.
show that advertisers in the USA were willing to pay Nelson Canada, Scarbrough, Ontario
huge sums to learn how to advertise subliminally. So, Marchand R 1985 Adertising the American Dream: Making
however false this cultural myth may be, the suspicion Way for Modernity, 19201940. University of California Press,
of corporations that lies behind its continued viability Berkeley, CA
is not without foundation. Packard V O 1957 The Hidden Persuaders. McKay, New York
Polyko S 1975 Does She or Doesnt She?: And How She Did
It. Doubleday, Garden City, NY
Presbrey F 1929 The History and Deelopment of Adertising.
Doubleday, Garden City, NY
5. Conclusion Rogers S 1992\1993 How a publicity blitz created the myth of
subliminal advertising. Public Opinion Quarterly 1217
Advertising seems to touch every aspect of life in the Schudson M 1984 Adertising, The Uneasy Persuasion: Its
postindustrial world. As both form and institution, Dubious Impact on American Society. Basic Books, New York
advertising is blamed for an array of social ills ranging Tufte E R 1990 Enisioning Information. Graphics Press,
from the mundane to the millennial. The poor standing Cheshire, CT
advertising has in the global community at the opening Wicke J 1988 Adertising Fictions: Literature, Adertisement and
of the twenty-rst century is not based on the real Social Reading. Columbia University Press, New York
existence of any secret formula, economic equation, or Williams R 1980 Advertising: the magic system. Problems in
Materialism and Culture 17095
covert conspiracy. It is certainly not based on any
demonstrable eect on prices, social conditions, or L. Scott
even sales. Rather, our attitudes toward advertising
are probably a response to the rapid changes in
Copyright # 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
everyday life brought about by industrial commerce,
and are intensied by the knowledge that, at least All rights reserved.
some of the time, advertisers will make extreme
attempts to have their way with the public. Never-
theless, the human mind, being far more subtle and Advertising, Control of
sturdy than many theories would suggest, has shown
remarkable resistance to all such attemptsthe ex- Advertising is a form of communication between a
plosion of consumer culture notwithstanding. Our rm and its customers, that uses independent media to
discomfort with advertising is also profoundly situated communicate positive messages about a good. Firms
in ethnocentric prejudices against commerce, material supply it to generate sales and to counter their
comfort, sensual pleasure, and images. Rigorous competitors advertisements, but there is also a de-
thinking on the subject of advertising is rareat least mand for advertising because consumers lack infor-
partly because we are blinded by these very fears and mation, and much of it comes from advertisements
prejudices. Looking forward in a globalizing mar- that help lower inevitable search costs, that is,
ketplace, however, should impress upon us the need to consumers expenditure of time and money to select
break out of such constraints. what goods to buy.


International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences ISBN: 0-08-043076-7