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CMN 2173 Study Guide - Final Guide: Media Consumption, Consumer Behaviour, Semiotics

Course Code
CMN 2173
Dina Salha
Study Guide

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CMN 2173 Advertising and Society
Lecture: Advertising Concepts and Strategies
- Like advertising is a mass contact strategy, it is ideological but has political ends
- It can use coercion/force
- And appeals not to psychological needs but to fear and warnings
o Advertising appeals to psychological needs of belonging and love to fit in with the rest of
society, products can allude to an idea of success
- It informs and instructs and satisfies the needs of the propagandist (benefits the initiator of the message
as opposed to the receiver
Advertising as Propaganda
- The lines between advertising a propaganda are increasingly blurring
- Argument:
o While the function of advertising is to sell products, it is also selling an ideology of consumption
and capitalism
o Advertising should be treated as propaganda
o This is most visible when the tactics of advertising and the ideology of consumption are
introduced to developing societies or transitional societies where the modes of consumption are
limited to basic needs
§ Advertising is now embedded in the programs we watch (i.e. ad placements) as opposed
to an in your face advertisement (traditional advertisement)
§ Advertising has power over the way products are used in movies or the media to portray
an image the company desires to be viewed by the masses (i.e. in a movie a company
won’t necessarily want their car to be trashed, but would rather it be the
strong/fast/efficient getaway car
Campaign: “condom is just another word”
- In India, discussing sexual acts or the use of condoms is considered taboo
o Advertisers had to understand the culture and value systems in India (including the below the
surface/underlying values of the society)
- Introducing an idea into a culture where the topic is considered controversial
- “Condom condom” campaign to reduce the stigma around discussing sex and condom use in India in a
stride to reduce HIV transmittance
- A good message understands the belief systems, values, public opinion on the issue, question what is
currently being done (why is condom use taboo?)
How to analyze propaganda [10 steps/questions used to analyze advertising campaigns]
- The ideology and the purpose of the campaign
- The context in which the campaign occurs (global vs. local)
- Identification of the source/propagandist
- The structure of the propaganda organization (institution)
- The target audience
- Media utilization techniques
- Special various techniques
- Audience reaction to various techniques
- Counterpropaganda, if present
- Effects and evaluation

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Consumer Behaviour and advertising
- Advertising, like marketing, is the planning and execution of a concept, as well as pricing, promotion,
and distribution of ideas, goods, and services that create an exchange which satisfies both individual and
organizational objectives
o learning that attention spans of consumers is decreasing which requires them to alter how their
messages are being sent
- Place utility (ex. a show from one place to another)
o advertisements can reach people anywhere (i.e. apps that connect consumers to a brand through
loyalty/rewards programs)
o they become part of our lives due to their reach
- Ownership utility (buy now- pay later)
- Time utility (ex. cinema schedules
- Mobility and connectivity utilities
- Utility is the WANT satisfying power of a product or service
Advertising is a technique based on studying consumer behaviour
- (1) Introduces one to the study of why consumers behave the way they do so that they can better meet
the needs of consumers (and the organization’s objective)
- (2) Helps one understand why the consumers behaves the way they do
- (3) Makes one aware of the complexity of human motivation in general and consumer behaviour in
- (4) Gives the consumers better understanding of their own decision process bearing in mind that the
purchasing and selling are two sides of the same coin
- (5) Elevates the appreciation of how advertisements attempt to persuade consumers
Strategies and Needs
- Consumer behaviour strategies depend upon consumer needs and wants
o *There is a difference between needs and wants
o A clever ad can manipulate customer’s needs and wants. A need can be both psychical and
psychological, which is what ads aim to manipulate in order to develop a connection.
- The Motivational Appeal
o Lower needs (biogenic): physical and safety needs
o Higher needs (psychogenic): love and social needs, self-esteem, and self actualization
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
- Self-actualization: personal growth and fulfilment
- Esteem Needs: achievement, status, responsibility, reputation
- Belongingness and Love Needs: family, affection, relationships, work group, etc.
- Safety Needs: protection, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.
- Biological and Physiological Needs: basic life needs- air, food, drink, shelter, warm, sleep, etc,
Women in War Advertisements
- Glorification of the new roles of women while reproducing patriarchal ideologies
- Female labour force increased 32% from 1941-1945
- The ad campaigns were successful because of the use of skillful presentation; they both build consensus
in society and catered to desired inherent in a large segment of society
- The role of women was so vital that it became the model for proper civilian attitude

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- In 1945, the war ended, and the government decided it was time to begin to move women back into the
- The media emphasized the image of the perfect woman as one at home, married and utilizing new
products of home technology, such as washing machines, coffee machines, dryers, and vacuum cleaners
- Many women were fired from their positions in skilled labour
Critique of Advertisements
- On the level of content:
o Creation and spreading of stereotypes
o False promises and unrealistic representations
o Humanize objects and objectify humans
- On the level of economy:
o Contribute to an exploitative capitalist system
o The audience becomes a labour force for the media system and they are not paid but by
encouragement of further consumption
- On the level of philosophy:
o Advertising does not encourage the use of reason on facts that are made public. “I consume
therefore I am” mentality
- On the political participation level: ads distract
Defences of Advertising
- Stereotypes are useful to relay a message in 30 seconds
- Advertising drives the economy of surplus
- Advertising is an art of persuasion that requires the use of reason
- Advertisers say that consumers are too sophisticated to be persuaded and that they up their game in
response to this sophistication
- Ads are an extension of advances in communication media and modern communication flows
Advertising and the Rise of Consumer Society
- Shift from traditional to modern society
- Shift from a village setting to an urban setting with industrialization of production and systemization of
Strategies of Advertising: Raymond Williams
- (1) Tracing the institutionalization and systemization of persuasion, from something specific as grabbing
the individual’s attention to an institution of consumption
- (2) Contextualization, back to changes in society
- (3) Observing changes in methods, that fit in the context of changing organization
Advertising: The Magic System
- Refers to the reality that advertising hides, such as advertising being an institution that controls the
media and flow of advertising worldwide
- While you are focusing on one aspect, others are occurring behind the scenes
- Highlight particular issues about consumption, but hide the important issues that could lead to social
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