Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society

Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society

by Arthur Asa Berger San Francisco State University

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Overview

The fifth edition of this approachable text draws on both academic and applied perspectives to offer a lively critique of contemporary advertising’s effects on American character and culture.

Berger explains how advertising works by employing a psycho-cultural approach, encouraging readers to think about advertisements and commercials in more analytical and profound ways. Among the topics he addresses are the role of brands, the problem of self-alienation, and how both relate to consumption. Berger also considers the Values and Lifestyle (VALS) and Claritas typologies in marketing. Distinctive chapters examine specific advertisements and commercials from multiple perspectives, including semiotic, psychoanalytic, sociological, Marxist, mythic, and feminist analysis. Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture provides an accessible overview of advertising in the United States, spanning issues as diverse as sexuality, politics, market research, consumer culture, and more; helping readers understand the role that advertising has played, and continues to play, in all our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442241268
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 01/22/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 276
Sales rank: 643,047
File size: 10 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University.
Arthur Asa Berger is Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University, where he taught for 38 years. He is the author of numerous books and articles on tourism, media, popular culture and everyday life. Among his books on tourism are Vietnam Tourism, Thailand Tourism, The Golden Triangle, Deconstructing Travel and Bali Tourism. He has lectured in more than a dozen countries and his books have been translated into nine languages.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Fred S. Goldberg
Preface to the Fifth Edition
Acknowledgments
1. Advertising in American Society
Advertising as a Puzzlement
Defining Advertising
Advertising Agencies
Max Weber on Religion and Consumer Cultures
Advertising and Politics
A Psycho-Cultural Perspective on Advertising
Running It Up a Flagpole to See If Anyone Salutes
Commercials as Mini-Dramas and Works of Art
Teleculture and the Internet
The Super Bowl
The Global Nature of Advertising Agencies
Conclusion
2. Consumer Cultures
A Cultural Critique of Advertising
Consumer Cultures Defined
Taste Cultures and Advertising
The Postmodern Perspective
The Problem of Emotions Overcoming Rationality
Consumer Culture and Privatism
Neiman Marcus and “Couthification”
Needs Are Finite, Desires Are Infinite
Are There Four Consumer Cultures, Not Just One?
National Character and Consumer Cultures
3. Advertising and the Communication Process
The Lasswell Formula
Focal Points and the Study of Media
Roman Jakobson’s Model of the Communication Process
Run It Up a Flagpole
Metaphor and Metonymy
Myth and Marketing
Integrated Marketing Communication
4. Running It Up a Flagpole to See If Anyone Salutes
Lisa’s Morning: A Fiction
Lisa Greatgal’s and Johnny Q. Public’s Daily Media Diet
Television Viewing and Exposure to Commercials
A Note on “Hauls”
The Price We Pay for “Free” Television
The Illusion of Control
Being a “Branded” Individual
Selling Oneself
Selling One’s Body for Brands
The Problem of Self-Alienation
We Can Choose as We Please, but Can We Please as We Please?
The Agony of Choice
Nonadvertising Forms of Advertising
5. Sexuality and Gender in Advertising
Sex and Gender in Advertising
Sex in Advertising
Sexploitation and Anxiety
The Peach That Became a Prune: A Cautionary Fable
The Pseudopoetic Appeal to the Illiterati
Sex Appeal and Gender Appeal
Sex and the Problem of Clutter
6. Political Advertising
The Cost of Presidential Campaigns
The Cost of the 2012 Presidential Election
Questions Raised by the Election Campaigns
A Note on the California Campaign for Governor in 2010
The Code of the Commercial (and Other Political Advertising)
The Emotional Basis of Partisan Politics
7. The Marketing Society
Statistics on Advertising
More Comments on the Illusion of Freedom
The Marketing View
The VALS 1 Typology
Using the VALS 1 Typology: A Case Study
VALS 2: A Revision of the VALS 1 Typology
ZIP Codes and Kinds of Consumers
The Claritas Typology
Magazine Choice as an Indicator of Consumer Taste
Types of Teenage Consumers
Blogs and Marketing
A Typology for Everyone in the World
A Comparison of the Different Typologies
A Conclusion to This Discussion in the Form of a Question
8. Analyzing Print Advertisements or: Six Ways of Looking at a Fidji Perfume Advertisement
Lotman’s Contributions to Understanding Texts
What’s There to Analyze in an Advertisement?
Analyzing the Fidji Ad
A Semiotic Interpretation of the Fidji Advertisement
A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of the Fidji Advertisement
A Sociological Interpretation of the Fidji Advertisement
A Marxist Interpretation of the Fidji Advertisement
The Myth Model and the Fidji Advertisement
A Feminist Interpretation of the Fidji Advertisement
Conclusion
9. Analyzing Television Commercials
The Macintosh “1984” Commercial
A Synopsis of the Text
The Background
Testing the “1984” Macintosh Commercial
George Orwell’s 1984 and Ridley Scott’s “1984”
The Image of the Total Institution
The Prisoners’ Boots
The Blond as a Symbol
The Brainwashing Scenario
The Big Brother Figure
The Brainwasher’s Message
The Big Explosion
The Inmates’ Response
The Macintosh Announcement
The Heroine as Mythic Figure
Psychoanalytic Aspects of the Commercial
The Blond as Mediator
Alienated Proles
The Big Blue
A Clever Marketing Strategy
The “1984” Commercial and a Bit of Scholarly Research
10. Where Next?
Drug Advertising
Children and Advertising
Battling for People’s Attention
Smart Phones, Social Media, and Advertising
Glossary
Annotated Bibliography
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

Jonathan Schroeder

Succeeds in introducing a way to study advertising in an interesting, lively, and thought-provoking package. An excellent, accessible textbook for students who are interested in advertising, as well as students in communication, business, and sociology.... I would feel comfortable using this text in courses with freshmen through seniors. (Jonathan Schroeder, University of Rhode Island)

Fred Goldberg

It was pure pleasure reading Arthur Asa Berger's esoteric deconstruction of the Macintosh '1984' commercial. I was part of this commercial's development and had no idea we were making semiotic history. Only a person of Berger's intellect and insight could have figured it all out as he has. (Fred Goldberg, Chairman & CEO, Goldberg Moser O'Neill)

Douglas Kellner

Arthur Asa Berger's Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture provides a multifaceted study of advertising that demonstrates its importance for the economy, politics, social life, and individual identities. Skillfully employing cultural, communications, and social theory, Berger brilliantly illuminates the multiple functions of advertising in today's consumer culture. (Douglas Kellner, UCLA, author of Media Culture)

Howard Rheingold

Arthur Asa Berger is that rare combination of astute, deep, and fun. His insights into the psychology, sociology, economics, and political implications of advertising and pop culture, in a lively, readable form, are a must for any student of popular culture. (Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community)

Carol Wilder

In Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture, Arthur Asa Berger strikes the raw nerve of American advertising. As in his many other cultural commentaries, Berger drives his point home with wit, wisdom, and wide-ranging examples, offering powerful inoculation against the worst excesses of today's climate of greed and commodification. (Carol Wilder, Associate Dean, The New School)

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