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Advertising is the key link in the mutually sustained global expansion of consumer goods and services industries and the media of communication that carry their commercial messages. It is the life-blood of the media, the motive force behind media industry development, and the publicly most visible dimension of marketing.
The period since World War II has seen the internationalization of the advertising industry proceed in tandem with the emergence of the ‘multinational,’ now global, consumer goods corporation, as well as with the international expansion of new media, driven by their capacity to carry commercial messages to audiences. The flow of advertising expenditure toward new media, notably subscription television and, more dramatically, the internet, is undercutting the ‘mass’ media we have known in the past.
An accompanying drift to nonadvertising forms of promotion is tending to undermine the traditional business model on which the relationship between advertisers and the media has rested since the advent of commercial broadcasting. Instead of the media amassing audiences for sale to advertisers, the trend is propelling growth in new means of marketing delivery, particularly the mobile phone, the internet, and interactive TV. This implies on the one hand a more fragmented society, but on the other, a more interactive relationship between producers and consumers. Recent theory and research have largely moved away from the study of advertising as such, and more toward consumer culture in general. In the process, there is also a useful fusion being achieved between the traditionally antagonistic camps of political economy and cultural studies, under the rubric of “cultural economy” (McFall 2004), while some of the most innovative work in recent years has focused on brands and branding (Arvidsson 2006).
- Arvidsson, A. (2006). Brands: Meaning and value in media culture. London: Routledge.
- McFall, L. (2004). Advertising: A cultural economy. London: Sage.
- Sinclair, J. (2012). Advertising, the media and globalisation. London: Routledge.