Advertising as Culture (Book)

Penned by contributors from a range of disciplines, including art history, sociology and media and cultural studies, the essays that constitute Advertising as Culture offer an informed and critical overview of approaches to the study of advertising. These in-depth contributions explore such topics as the conceptual relationship between advertising and culture; the development of advertising through the industrial period; the nature of advertising production and reception; the relationship of advertising to a range of cultural fields such as art, fashion and music; and developments in digital media practice.

Category: Cultural Studies


This book is about advertising and culture. Advertising is a significant aspect of modern societies and plays an important part in economic activity. It is a highly visible component of everyday life and increasingly of contemporary culture. The book considers culture as a broad category of human endeavour and experience. It takes a multidisciplinary approach drawing on media and cultural studies and the study of history and of art history, sociology, politics and political economy for ideas and explanations that can be applied to advertising and culture. Indeed, the book’s contributors are drawn from each of these areas of academic enquiry. Their contributions represent strands and tensions in the relationship between different aspects of culture, such as fashion, art, popular music, politics and media and the world of advertising.

The book raises the question of how, to what effect and with what intensity, advertising features – as the Advertising Standards Authority, the UK’s advertising regulator, recently put it – as a ‘common subject’ in our cultural lives. The book deals with advertising and culture primarily within a British context, but in an increasingly globalised world many of its themes and issues are relevant to societies where advertising is a growing presence. This book explores the relationship between advertising and culture and this introduction outlines the book’s scope, content and themes.

Christopher Wharton is program leader in advertising and media in the Department of Media at Northumbria University.

Introduction – advertising and culture – Chris Wharton

Chapter 1: Advertising – a way of life – Tony Purvis

Chapter 2: Advertising research – John Fenwick and Chris Wharton

Chapter 3: Spreads like butter – culture and advertising – Chris Wharton

Chapter 4: Handbags and gladrags – the rise and rise of accessories in fashion and advertising – Hilary Fawcett

Chapter 5: Music and advertising – a happy marriage? – Judith Stevenson

Chapter 6: The cultural economy of death – advertising and popular music – Paula Hearsum

Chapter 7: Art and advertising – circa 1880 to the present – Malcolm Gee

Chapter 8: On-line digi-ads – David Reid

Chapter 9: Selling politics – the political economy of political advertising – Andrew Mullen

Chapter 10: Media and advertising – the interests of citizens and consumers – Monika Metykova

'This book is a very welcome addition to what will hopefully be a renewed wave of critical creative advertising and culture publishing' 

Media International Australia, Phil Bagust

'The volume should be commended for starting a broader critical discussion for a wide audience about advertising in and as culture ... This volume would be a useful addition, in whole or in part, to advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in advertising, cultural studies, art history, and mass media and communication.' 

H-Net, Edward Timke
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