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Reading Notes- Advertising&Socio.docx

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Sociology 2172A/B
Gale Cassidy

[Reading Notes] Advertising & Sociology 2/8/2013 6:45:00 PM **Focus on random facts and questions INTRODUCTION (ARE ADS GOOD OR BAD?) This book examines the role of advertising and promotional communication in the expansionary phase of the market economy. (20 thCentury) Fact #1: Advertising is a major sector (especially in the US)  McCann says, Global advertising in 2003 was a $471 Billion business, more than half was US advertising expenditures.  Agency employees in US (165,000), in London (20,000) The symbolic attributes of goods in advertising is now fully integrated into our cultural repertoire. Ex: children sing jingles while playing Fact #2 Advertising = Religion?  James Twitchell (1996) commentator that compared advertising to religion (honest celebration of consumer goods) as the key to contemporary American life ways  Indeed, church influences diminished as mass media grew What is Advertising?  1950, debate over role of advertising in the marketplace  Marketers: Advertising = informational tool empowering customers (George Stigler “The Economics of Information)  Culture gurus: it runs consumers into dupes  Advertising = mirror, reflecting deep-seated material visions of well being  Advertising = persuasive force articulating new consumption patterns (Theodore Levitt 1970) o Aka the cause of environmental destruction, obesity…etc Term: “Discourse through objects” The marketplace as a significant medium of social communication, people communicate through objects they own, and the majority of daily thought/talk are about consumer goods Term: Material Cultures: Objects are enchanted with a profound range of meanings because they are embedded within the warp and weft of social relations  Material goods not only satisfies needs, but also serve as markets and communicators for interpersonal distinctions and self- expressions. Main Arguments: Advertising is not just a business expenditure, but is rather an integral apart of modern culture. Advertising became a privileged form of social communication ADVERTISING AS PERSUASION IN THE MARKETPLACE  Reference: Vance Packard: “The Hidden Persuaders” : Consumers are becoming creatures of conditioned reflex rather than of rational thought.  Large scale efforts are successfully channeling our unthinking habits by use of insights, below our level of awareness.  Both Packard and Wilson Bryan Key could not find actual instances in which alleged maniputlative techniques induced consumers to do anything they wouldn’t have done  But the overall idea is that advertising is smarter than consumers, and it uses the smarts to make them buy what they don’t need  They were kinda right: Reference: Martin Bell says advertising in 1920s=1930s was deceptive, aimed to rebuild economy Martin Bell’s Rational Approach (4 Stages)  Want recognition -> search -> evaluation of competition -> decide Marketer’s response  Advertising does not create wants, it finds what wants exists and then do design & manufacturing to fulfill them 1930s, In response to angry consumer mobs, a new strategy came along. Term: Marketing Concept = follow the customer, make ONLY what they want to buy. Formula: Intense market research + New Prod Dev Find out what they want, make it, then drive happiness to make profit  Concept believes that it’s a technology to handle the task of matching millions of consumption units with producing units  Assumes customers are rational decision makers Theodore Levitt (1970): there’s nothing wrong with advertising’s participation in (product use and symbolism) Both informative and persuasive communication are vital and indeed necessary in the decision making process. Consumers are not rational buyers .  Driver and Foxall (study of consumers choices) , shows that consumers are passive, low involvement, depend on wor
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