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Sociology 2172A/B
Gale Cassidy

Advertising Articles Introduction - Advertising full integrated into our cultural repetoire - James Twitchellcompares advertising to a religion, key to contemporary American life - Since the ‘50s the tensions surrounding advertising have been debated - Some celebrate it as the informational tool that empowered the consumer - Some say it turns consumers into dupes - Some styled it as a mirror, reflects our visions of well-being - Persuasive force articulating new consumption patterns - A century ago the prevalent forms of discourse were church sermons, political oratory, and the words of elders Their prominence in everyday life and their rhetorical force has diminished as the marketplace expanded - Marketplace has become a significant mode of communication - Mass media’s discourses through and about objects Communications among persons, in which individuals send signals to each other A significant portion of our daily public talk is about consumer goods - Objects are given meaning because they are embedded within the warp of social relations we call “material cultures” - Modern consumer culture and earlier economic relations: Material objects produced for consumption in the marketplace not only satisfy needs, but also serve as markers and communicators for interpersonal distinctions and self-expression - Goods are communicators (symbolic markers) - Distinguishing our society from earlier ones: Amount of goods and services available to customers Intensity of the promotional effort to sell Expansion of associated discourses about commodities and their modes of production - Development of the contemporary market economy: Expansion of material culture Changing meanings in the world of goods and the way they’re used Advertising’s role is economic and cultural - Advertising transforms symbols and ideas - Market economy and sociology are necessary to understand the role advertising plays in the changing discourse through and about goods - Advertising became a privileged form of social communication In our society, economic affairs and marketplace transactions occupy a preponderant place in public life At the individual level the discourse through and about objects sidles up to us everywhere - Goods become doubly articulated, first in its meanings and uses, second by the promotional discourse that advertised them - Advertising occurs beneath our awareness - Packard: attempted to show that consumers were becoming creatures of conditioned reflex rather than rational thought Subconscious - Wilson Bryan Key: subliminal perception Studied whether techniques impossible to perceive at the conscious level of awareness are concealed within the constructing of the advertisment and whether they can influence behaviour Sex on Ritz cracker, and in ice cubs - Neither Packard nor Key could point out instances where these techniques made consumers do something they didn’t choose to do - But Packard could point to programs for motivational research whereas Key’s assertions were never supported - Martin Bell: ads of the 1920s and 30s intended to escalate consumer demand, salesmen Marketing Concept - During the 30s there was more criticism of this approach Market industry recognized the aggression New strategies called the Marketing Concept based on: 1. Market research 2. Effective design of new products - Used to make goods more meaningful - Based on the consumer as the ultimate decision maker - Involves integration of the four Ps 1. Product 2. Price 3. Promotion 4. Place - Assume that the most efficient way for the market to function is to allow consumers to direct producers - Satisfaction of want in 4 stages 1. Recognition of a want 2. Search for means to satisfy the want 3. Evaluation of comparing alternatives 4. Decision - Launch of commercial TV in the 1950s - Vance Packard’s book The Hidden Persuaders Marketing as a form of manipulation Advertising as a theory of communication and culture rather than economics Called marketer’s integrity into question Advertising creates wants in people they don’t need - The informed consumer and the responsible producer remained the cornerstone of the democratic market system - George Stigler: justified advertising as an important source of consumer information Advertisers provide a service, reduce search - Manipulation involves outright deception whereas persuasion involves exaggeration and embellishment - Advertising industry has had to redefine what constitutes social influence in the marketplace as simply providing consumers with information - Most people would agree that appeals to people’s emotions and feelings are legit - Driver and Foxall: most purchasing decisions are strongly influenced by interpersonal connections, especially word of mouth Impulse and routine are most typical of consumer’s low-involvement purchases Advertising seems to have no power beyond engendering passing interest Economists account provides a limited reading of the role that advertising plays in the consumer culture - Andrew Wernick: navigating one’s way in market society requires constant attention to the modes of consumer behaviour - Advertisers inundate consumers with symbolic meanings and lifestyle references, but overall consumers determine which ones are most meaningful - 98% of goods introduced into the marketplace fail - Critics are interested in attacking the materialist ethos and pay little attention to the actual advertising - Objections to advertising in general are often indirect attacks - Most agencies argue that advertising works to enhance the cumulative brand values associated with products - Law and industry codes of ethics are supposed to discourage unfair or misleading practices - A high proportion of people enjoy ads as an art form - When asked whether the public school system or advertising had the greater influence on society, 54% identified schools, 42% advertising - 60% said that most advertising is an insult to one’s intelligence - Advertising must be recognized as a special yet problematic business institution because it lies at the intersection of the economy and culture - Some scholars say advertising has raised standards of living and expanded the range of lifestyle choices Acknowledged as an art form - Part of a highly industrialized, market-oriented society - As an industry it mediates between commodity production and culture production - As a message form it adopts, revises and shapes other cultural message systems - Through research it appropriates the social structure and cultural dynamics of market society and recycles them as strategies targeted toward segments of the population, making it into a loop - Advertising is a channel through which social change is constantly mediated A discursive practice and a representational practice - Best studied as a form of social communication about material culture - Built upon two pillars: history and culture Understand present day practices by looking at how they were composed during the preceding century  Advertising responds and contributes to cultural changes - Advertising is not just about influencing consumer choices - All forms of advertising transmit some information about goods or services from produces to consumers - 20 century witnessed a rise in the real income and purchasing power of the average person - Improvements in image production: move away from text based ads to image based - Spend less time talking about products and more claims about how the product can benefit your life - Cultural discourse: offers models of the good life and how to achieve personal pleasure and success - Circulation of messages and social cues about the interplay between persons and objects - Advertising helped industrialism to bring products associated with a redefined lifestyle - Cultural frame for goods: predominant set of images, values, and forms of communication in any period Advertising in Canada - Advertising: refers to a system of communication through which goods and services are brought to the attention of the general public - Raymond Williams: advertising has two phases 1. Content of advertising has insinuated itself into every medium of communication, create a favourable impression for a product 2. Structures media operations in a capitalist economy Media serves advertisers first and the public second - Media outlet’s value is determined by the size and quality of its audience - Advertisers want to reach the highest number of potential consumers at the lowest possible cost - Mass media needs to increase value to advertisers Some try to appeal to all demographics Specialty media outlets try to produce defined audiences - No one invented advertising - First newspaper published in Canada: The Halifax Gazette (1752) contained ads Indistinguishable from news stories - Second style in 1800sSingle unique font - 1880-1920: Industrial revolution, organization of advertising as a system of communication Helped the printing trade Advertising agency emerged Newspaper remained most important advertising medium until 1950s - Agencies did not flourish unwil 1880s: Robert Moore’s British American Advertisiing, Anson McKim’s The Mail Advertising Agency - 1900 offered a creative service JJ Gibons Ltd. First agency to offer media buying and creative work - After 1910: added market research (investigate consumer behaviour) Demographic analysis Psychological research - Most agencies divided their staff into four departments: account management, media research and buying, creative work, and market research - 1920-1960: ad industry adapted to broadcasting - Guglielmno Marconi wanted to improve the safety of ships at sea, radio advertising stemmed from this - Federal government wanted to outlaw broadcast advertising - Agencies started paying for broadcast time Sponsorship: associating an advertisers name with a program Spots/commercials: use a brief segment of on air time for sales talks - Sponsors shifted to television - 1960 to present: Montreal was Canada’s commercial center for most of the 20 C - Advertisers had to respond to French language campaigns - Cossette Communication Marketing was a graphic design studio in Quebec, transformed into an agency - Quebec nationalists focused on advertising content, English Canadians were focused on media buying - Federal government regulated media buying through the Income Tax Act and Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act Cannot claim advertising costs in foreign outlets - ACA: lobbies the government on advertising related issues - CMA: largest association linked to advertising in Canada - Advertising Standards Canada (ASC): most prominent organization on the creative side - Government has placed regulations concerning false advertising and standards of decency Tries to reinforce consumer confidence in all advertising by discouraging those who abuse the system - Two important laws: Broadcasting act: regulates advertising on broadcasting mediums Canadian Elections Act: monitors political advertising - Provinces have jurisdiction over trade and commerce - Advertisers and agents resent state intervention When someone has a complaint they contact the ASC - Advertising is an international industry - In 1970s the pace of international expansion intensified Interpublic Group of Companies - Every country has its own marketing challenges and when agencies from different countries form a group, they offer both convenience and cultural credibility - Canada’s manufacturing sector is dominated by foreign-owned companies - Few Canadian agents compete directly with agency groups - The proliferation of new media outlets and audience fragmentation has advantages and disadvantages for advertisers - New technologies have allowed for innovation - Doug Saunders: The public has grown cynical of advertising messages and tunes them out Agencies have responded by making ads more entertaining or controversial - Alternative to traditional advertising: public relations and “guerrilla marketing” Enhance publics appreciation for companies, their brands, and their products and services Delivers messages through channels the public generally trusts PR firms can generate positive coverage Guerrilla marketers seek unconventional channels of communication to reach local audiences Ex. Posters on telephone poles, coupons, etc. - Viral marketing is an extreme form of guerilla marketing: Uses personal relationships to promote a product or service on a company’s behalf Word of mouth - Privacy concern of collecting and selling databases of personal information Digital marketing - Publishers sell mailing lists to direct marketers - Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act Requires organizations to have the consent of someone before they collect, store, or distribute personal information Persuasive Products - 3 main elements of advertising: 1. The use of images 2. The use of persuasive rhetoric or ‘copy’ appeals 3. The development of emotional or psychological types of appeal - Earlier advertising functioned simply to inform - Images, rhetoric and emotions are not the same as persuasiveness - Persuasiveness is a judgment of the effects of advertisements on their capacity to make a difference - Not usually judged in relation to its historical conditions of production - Reconstructing the context of production is a useful counterbalance to the trend towards decontextualised interpretation - Puff, advertisement, campaign: all used to describe products of advertising th - Advertisement: can be traced back to the 17 C First press advertisement back in the 1620s ’Advertise’ is French: to inform, warn, or announce By 1700s was deployed in newspapers - Puff: deployed from beginning of 18 C in reference to promotional messages Convey boosting or inflation of the reputation Puff as persuasion - Advertising and puff had various meanings at different times - Campaign: Used since the early 20 C, core focus of most industry activity Reflects the industry’s determination to shift emphasis away from individuals to a more planned, professional system Signals the precise and strategic nature of advertising - Images did not become regular in advertising till 19 C th - Image based advertising achieves unprecedented persuasive potency - Use of images in two primary forms pre-1900s 1. Press advertising 2. Poster advertising Press Advertising - Image was not a well-developed element of press advertising - Most basic elements of the visual appeal of printed ads are display, layout and typography - Most common typographic effects was drop capitalization - Other techniques: asterisks, pointing hands, small woodcut illustrations - Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette introduced major changes to the layout White space, headings, different type effect, small illustrations - Illustrations were rare in the UK Stamp duty: limited papers to a single sheet folded once Advertisements were expensive Space was a scarce resource - In the US paper was less expensive - Illustration was common by early 19 C th - National paper shortage put restrictions on display advertising Regulation: ‘agate only’ requiring strict typographic uniformity - Printing was still conducted on a wooden hand-press, restricted size of print Larger advertisements were a challenge - Many publishers thought advertising was vulgar, dishonest Some papers refused ads - Tended to prefer many small to few large ads, believed more ads would attract more readers - Illustrated ads common in Britain’s regional press in the first decade of the th 19 C Real Japan Blacking one of the most widely advertised product of the era - Cruikshank is known as a prolific illustrator, caricaturist and political satirist - By 1855 illustrated ads described as effective, express meaning - Constraints for advertisers Institutional policies, paper shortages, technological constraints, stamp duty (UK) - Robert Bonner placed 93 identical ads in New York Ledger When he was refused to place display advertising in the New York Herald Worked to relax display restrictions in the US In the UK the process was slower - The impact made by mundane type effects is based on the media environment in which it appears - Despite the limitations certain advertisers devised effective visual techniques Broadsides, Posters and Other Forms of Promotion - Posters and other forms still subject to limits imposed by print and reproduction technologies Free from newspaper constraints - Earliest forms of advertising poster appeared towards the end of the 15 C th Known as Broadsides: single sheets printed on one side only, sold by printers, at fairs, and by street vendors for a penny or less - Broadsides used for a variety of purposes, including the distribution of ballads Folk music idiom but also a news and promotional medium featuring traditional narratives, political and social events, scandal and advertising Varied over time and in purpose Some printed in black ink, some hand coloured - Most broadsides for special events, spectacles, and curiosities - Some advertised luxuries - Unlikely prior to the boom in poster printing in the 1830s, they featured much promotion of everyday goods and services Tradecards th Distributed in hundreds of thousands each year from the 17 C Engraved on wood or copper Early ones had simple, almost heraldic illustrations of the shop sign - Letterpress tradecards also produced Not usually illustrated, often reserved for poorer trades - From 1730s tradecards usually reflected fashions - Tradecards were an elegant visual promotional medium designed to do more than inform Attract custom and especially the patronage of the wealthy - Neither tradecards nor broadsides were used as ‘stand-alone’ promotion but usually integrated with a range of devices - Phineas Barnum: considered one of the earliest proponents of persuasive promotion Used a mix of promotional devices to promote his attractions Overcame technical limits by using multiple forms - Fairs and carnivals provided a stimulating visual environment 18 C th Central to promotional strategies Particularly in urban areas - Many promotional devices were restricted to major urban environments But also appears on rocks, barns, trees, shops, hotels, offices, public transportation, etc. - Well-developed strategies for visual promotion in the 18 and 19 C th - Broadsides and tradecards not the most important but one of a number of devices - Early 19 C: posters and broadsides were popular but they were mostly text rather than image based - Technical advances allowed for posters to develop as a specialized image based medium - 1870s: Lithographic and printing techniques used for large-scale commercial use, production costs were low - Frederick Walker, and James Pryde and William Nicholson Aimed to appeal through the quality of the artwork, UK - Thomas Barrett purchased a painting “Bubbles” to advertise Pears Soap - Levers purchased Frith’s painting ‘The New Frock” to advertise Sunlight Soap Frith complained about this: use of art for an overtly commercial purpose degraded and devalued the original The use of academic art reconfigured the status and respectability of advertising Culturally uplifting - Through technological advances, commercial and academic art began to make carnivath as a form of mainstream promotion, obsolete - Prior to 19 C there were constraints on the technical reproducibility of the printed image After this images proliferated - Images deployed as promotional mechanisms as far back as the 17 C th Words and Rhetoric - Contemporary advertising persuades rather than informs - Historical advertising apparently had a more simple, informative function But in their context this is not entirely true - Detailed discussion of advertising’s rhetorical power by Henry Fielding Thought puffing, the ‘art of persuasion’, could be deployed to many ends and was a central aspect of human behaviour Promotion is a core practice of the species, part of the grand science of life - 18 C advertising used a style of lyrical exaggeration Form of persuasion - Samuel Johnson: ads make ridiculous associations between products and unrelated cultural objects These associations are one of the primary offences of contemporary advertising - Verbal appeal dominant in press advertising in 18 and 19 C th Verbal techniques: puns, slogans, verse, parody, and narrative - Absence of images in press advertising compensated for by evocative prose Literary culture of ‘puffing’ - Leading figures: George Packwood, Charles Wright, Moses and George Robins - Explicit parodies of the literary approach were common - Satirical responses indicated that literary ads were understood not as simple information but inducements that an unsuspecting public had to be protected from - Florid language and rhyme were devices that articulated well with the environment where they were used Rhymes are memorable, ensure recall - Towards the end of the century there were new trends Topical copy, competitions, gimmicks, extravagant claims, editorial styles - Role of preparing advertising copy was taken on by newspaper people - Shifts in copy style towards the last quarter of the century Establishment of the full-service agency system Desire to formalize the production Agency control of copy preparation, exemplified in the notion of the ‘campaign’, became increasingly attractive - ‘Reason-why’ copy one of the most popular rhetorical devices Built around the principle of providing a reason for purchase Articulate a specific argument for the purchase Distinguished by its use as part of a more standardized system of trade practices and knowledge Enhanced by John Power’s work in 1870s: wrote for department stores - Powers Method Emotions th - Associated with the late 20 C - Transition from a unique selling point to an emotional selling point Based on audio-visual techniques rather than verbal propositions After 1980s - But ads grounded in an emotional form of appeal can be traced back to the th 17 C - Anodyne necklace adverts: use fear as a method of appeal Rely upon consequences arising from failure to use the product - Common in contemporary advertising to target the fear of social embarrassment Esp. self- presentation and hygiene - James Webb Young’s copy appeal “within the curve of a women’s arm” Powerful appeal Reference to female perspiration caused outrage but increased sales - Relationship between the type of appeal, specific working practices, and the nature of the product itself - The nature of the produce combines with the existence of particular practices, knowledge, and precedents in the industry to mediate in favour of particular types of approach - Chase and Sanborn tea Emotional appeal, notion that tea has invigorating and stimulating qualities Sales increased by 700% Campaign was informed by product research into the chemical composition of tea - Emotional appeals may be produced through different mechanisms, combining different elements, techniques, and media - Woodbury’s Soap Nature of the market and the products history influenced the strategy Final campaign was the outcome of a tentative and collective production process From a ‘treatment’ to ‘a skin you love to touch’, romantic appeal - James Webb Young developed a reputation for expertise in emotional appeal - When psychology emerged it was thought it could be deployed scientifically to produce more effect advertising - Reason-why and emotion were the two main approaches informing advertising practice form 1880 to 1930 - Consumer as emotional and unreasonable vs. logical and reasonable - In practice the techniques of production used in both reason and emotion based appeals were probably very similar - Emotion is contingent upon the system of production Literary puffing provided an efficient means of producing memorable copy - Persuasiveness is always contingent upon the conditions of production Consumption and Advertising - Different forms of media are saturated with advertisements designed as simple, factual statements, sophisticated narrative developments, or complex symbolic undertones - Advertising’s explicit and implicit goals are to promote, stimulate, sell, and make profits - Consumption is integral to policy making Ex. Sales taxes - Consumption can be social, cultural, psychological, economic, political, and historical depending on which aspect of consumption we address - Commodification has become personal: self-esteem, emotions, values, and relations can be commodified - Consumption is also treated in moral terms: good for self-expression, individual development, or a reward Or can be looked at as wasteful and unethical - Consumption can also be considered a process of victimization Marxist Perspective on Production and Consumption - Marx saw the inseparable relations between consumption and production at three levels 1. Production is immediately consumption, consumption is also immediately production Consuming raw materials in production, and the necessity of consumption for subsistence 2. Production and consumption constitute a mediated relation because of their mutual dependence Remain distinctive Production is a means for consumption and consumption the purpose of production 3. Consumption and production complete and creates itself as the other, feeds off each other in supply and demand - Not an individual, subjective behaviour - Far from politically neutral - Use functions are overridden by exchange value - Workers are caught up in the process of commodification Alienated - Maintains capitalismSatisfies endless needs - Consumption for the worker is understood at two levels 1. It is productive consumption that turns labour purchased by capital into the process of production 2. It is individual consumption, an offering to workers as rewards for their work - Functions to control the lives of workers in an ever-improving living standard structured with an endless desire for commodities - Consumption creates the first false consciousness that misrecognizes the meanings of commodities - When consumption appears to reward the worker’s labour, it creates the second false consciousness that material goods=satisfaction - Poor work conditions and low wages are a means to minimize the cost of consumptive production and maximize profit Empowerment through purchasing and owning commodities is a false consciousness George Simmel on Fashion and Urban Life - Sees fashion, commodities, and consumption as the sites where modern individuals strive to stay autonomous against universal social forces Individualism - Consumption is the constant process of negotiation between subjective and objective cultures, and between the individual and the social - Suggests fashion gives satisfaction as one moves between individuality and conformity - Universal source of uniqueness - Fashion is a phenomenon of social class that stratifies and distinguishes individuals - But imitation gives both a sense of satisfaction and a sense security - Consumption as mediation between the social and individual is also manifested in urban life itself Urban life also makes one indifferent because it stimulates one’s emotional reactivity too strongly and for too long to allow any further reaction Leisure Class, Gender, and Conspicuous Consumption - Thomas Veblen - Considers consumption as the social force that makes social class possible, and as the site of struggle for individualism - Argues the advancement of modern society is accompanied by the rise of a middle or leisure class defined by the practices of consumption as opposed to those of production - Conspicuous consumption: consumption patterns prompted by symbolic significance more than material utility Replacing a working TV with a new HD one Entails a slant toward wastefulness and idleness - Discusses how women are owned and commodified, while production and consumption divided along gender lines - Men could not spend time on consumption as a way of maintaining a serious, masculine, and noble image - Wife’s buying power demonstrates the wealth and status of the male counterparts - Some limitations with Simmel’s and Marx’s analysis Cultural Capital and Social Class - Pierre Bourdieu - Echoes Simmel’s concern for both subjectivity and objectivity - Considers consumption as the mechanism of forming and sustaining personal identities and social status - Taste facilitates the individual distinction within a broader context of social conformity - Strong connection between economic and cultural capital How one cultivates taste and how one consumes corresponds to how one spends and accumulates wealth - Cultural capital is accumulated and educational choice is tapped into a wider social status and economic systems that ensure a spot in the workforce - Advertisers play a role in the creation and choice of appropriate tastes, habits, leisure activities, and lifestyles Symbolic violence - Maintenance and accumulation of cultural capital is connected to the structural role of cultural intermediaries who act as gatekeepers Feminist Critiques: Gender, Political Economy, and Consumption - Sex specific commodities associated with either masculinity or femininity - Most commodities entail no intrinsic gendered nature - Advertising for consumption has developed alone another line of gendered practices and stigma interconnected with the types of labour or productive work women or men do - Stereotypical concepts, images, and commodities appear in a complex package of marketing and advertising to normalize gender practices - The production of consumption itself is a gendered process - Encourage and perpetuate stereotypes - Gendering consumption is the process through which stereotypes and sustaining social norms can be challenged by the active consumers imagination - The contradiction of consumption occurs because the possibility of liberation through fashion imagery takes place within the structural constrains and political economy of global production Advertising as Mass Communication - Needs are often created by advertising - Normalizes and creates social norms and practices at the same time - Increasing importance of the consumer’s subjectivity in association with sign value over the utility value of commodities - Advertising is interlinked with the rise of mass consumption and mass market, integral to the structural development of media industries - Become mass messages - Advertising is a financial prerequisite of mass communication - Advertising is a source of emotional stimuli in cities where commerce aggregates and constantly needs reinvention - Cities may develop a blasé attitude toward the constant bombardment - Advertising can appear as a neutral conduit of communication that varies from one form to the other - If consumption is never politically or culturally neutral, neither is advertising - From a Marxist perspective advertising may be viewed as ideology - Jean Baudrillard: the analysis of contemporary society centrally lies in the system of material objects and its promotional messages comprising both image and discourse No such thing as advertising strictly confined to the supplying of information - Consumer is defined by means of the commodities Provides a system of meanings through which differentiation from one consumer to the other is imposed - Different choices offered by advertising in a sense mediate the idea that one is free to be oneself and also free to project one’s desires onto commodities - Functions like hidden persuasion - Advertising gives communicational warmth to the consumer in the sense that the ideal object is being produced and promoted for the sake of the consumers well being - “The abundance of products puts an end to scarcity, the abundance of advertising puts an end to insecurity” – Baudrillard - Advertising is ideological: replaces morality and politics as the symbolic system of manipulation - System of seduction rather than production - The mixing of the real and imaginary, or the sign-object, constructs not only a complex and wide landscape of social and cultural meanings but also confusion constructed and manipulated around commodities and social relations - Any human value or emotion can be turned into a symbol, metaphor, or narrative in advertising - Advertising can absorb and transform criticism of advertising to form its meta-message, through emotional connotations - Does not adhere to any specific ideology, as what helps to sell can be manipulated into the ideology of the moment - Advertising gives meaning not only to commodities but also the consumer Demands for material fulfillment camouflaged by the false promise of consumer democracy and freedom De Certeau on Agency, Interpretation, and Advertising - Concerns the empowerment of the ‘weak’, the user and the consumer - Neglects the idea that those who are in the categories of the weak are inactively shaped by the powerful in absorbing given information or ideology - The consumer is structurally confined to what is given by the advertiser - Using various tactics the consumer exhibits individual knowledge and interpre
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