Now in its fourth edition, Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture deals with the impact of advertising upon American character and culture. It offers a definition of advertising, explains the way advertising agencies work, discusses the functions of advertising, and provides a psycho-cultural perspective on advertising. Among the topics it deals with are the role of brands in selling products and the problem of self-alienation and its relation to consumption. It also analyzes consumer cultures, places advertising in the communication process, and considers the use of sexuality in advertising, political advertising, and marketing theory. The marketing discussion deals with the Values and Lifestyle Typology (VALS) and the Claritas typology. The chapters analyzing print advertisements and television commercials are distinctive features of the book. For print advertising, it provides a list of topics to consider in analyzing print advertising and then provides a detailed analysis of a fascinating Fidji perfume advertisement that shows a Polynesian woman with a snake around her neck. It provides a semiotic, psychoanalytic, sociological, Marxist, mythic, and Feminist analysis of this advertisement. For television commercials, it analyzes the famous Macintosh '1984' commercials in a number of different ways as well. In the last chapter it speculates about the role of advertising in selling drugs to people, children and advertising, and the problems advertising agencies have in getting people's attention. It also offers a glossary to terms used in the book and an annotated bibliography.
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Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University.Review:
Berger hits on the topics I'm interested in bringing to the course. And it's easy for students to read; fun and interesting; accessible. I love this book. (Kathy Petitte Jamison)
I especially like how Berger addresses the issue of culture in an easy-to-present way and the in-depth analysis of a print ad. My students really like this book, too! (Mark Stuhlfaut)
Pick up the new paperback edition. . . . It's a good, informative book about sex and advertising and other cool subjects, including new material on product placement. (Advertising Age)
An excellent introduction for anyone interested in learning about advertising. Highly recommended. (Choice)
Well-written, down-to-earth, accessible, and rich in useful information. (Contemporary Sociology)
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