Advertising and popular culture

Public service advertising, types of advertising. Media and advertising approaches, influencing and conditioning. Dependency of the media and corporate censorship. Popular culture: definitions, institutional propagation, folklore, advertising and art.


Every weeknight when I turn on the TV to watch CSI I mute the ads. I see SUV ads, Vonage ads, Pepsi and whatever other stuff they're trying to sell me.

When I check my email (I have a Gmail account), I usually have 1 or 2 new spam in my inbox, and about 120 new spams in my spambox. At the end of the month, my spambox auto-deletes all spam over a month old. I currently have over 4000 spams in there. I check any new spams as spam and then go about my business of answering emails/hatemail.

Then I read an interesting statistic: Advertising profits have slumped during the last three years in the United States. That doesn't mean that advertising companies are going bankrupt (although some of them might eventually), what it means is that companies that are advertising don't seem to be making as many sales.

For example, if the Widget Company spends $100 million on a new advertising campaign and usually makes about $500 million in profits, whats happened is that instead of making $500 M, they are only making $400 M instead.

Obviously people aren't selling Widgets, but the principle is the same. Companies seem to be going into an "advertising backslide", almost as if we were in a depression.

Except we're not in a depression. True, the US economy did SHRINK 0.5% during 2005, but that’s not a depression. It’s a minor bump on the economic radar.

These days you see advertising EVERYWHERE. We use Google Adsense in order to make sure the Lilith Gallery Network makes a profit and can afford to pay for its server/etc. Admittedly we also fall into this trap of using advertising in order to pay the bills, and we can admit to it without being hypocritical.

But what about the rest of the world? Advertising really is seemingly everywhere. Dentist offices often get free magazine subscriptions because the advertising in the magazine is a good way of selling products to consumers that might not see it otherwise. It also advertises the magazine itself simply by "being there".

During the whole history the aim of advertising is to inform and to convince, hasn’t changed. Advertisement which we know now is a modern phenomenon with its roots in deep past. One of the greatest events of the history of advertisement was the invention of demountable fonts by Johann Gutenberg in 1440. His invention gave life to the new carrier of advertisement: printed posters, leaflets and newspaper announcements.

Albert Lasker, the father of modern advertisement, told that advertisement is “a printed kind of trade”. But this definition was given before the invention of radio and TV.

Advertising is a transfer of information, usually paid and has the characteristic of persuasion, about production, service or ideas by famous advertiser with the help of different carriers.

Advertising occupies a major place in American society. Linked to the bedrock principles that shaped American nation – free speech, competition and individual choice – it has served the public since colonial times as a source of vital information about their open, market-based economy.

Advertising is a positive force in our free society. Protected by the First Amendment, it informs the public, promotes competition, fuels economic growth, creates jobs and fosters a wide array of media choices for consumers.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech or of the press…” In a long series of cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has conclusively extended this protection to “commercial speech.” As a result, advertising of lawful products and services, conducted in a non-misleading way, is fully protected by the U.S. Constitution.

According to a landmark study conducted by the highly regarded consulting firm Global Insights under the direction of a Nobel Laureate in Economics, advertising is a remarkably powerful economic force. Nationally, it generates over $5 trillion in economic activity, or approximately 20 percent of U.S. total economic activity. Sales of products and services stimulated by advertising support 21 million jobs, or 15 percent of the total jobs in the country. In addition, another Nobel Laureate in economics, George Stigler, also has noted that advertising is a critical force in fostering economic efficiency and competition throughout the US economy.

Advertising enables consumers to enjoy a vast array of media choices. Commercial television and radio are available to the public at no cost, thanks to advertising. In addition, advertising revenues provide substantial support for most print publications, large portions of the Internet and cable, giving people access to immense information and entertainment content at little cost. This support helps democratize access to information. The public, wherever they are located geographically and regardless of their income level, have more information available to them than at any other time in history.

Advertising informs consumers about product choices available in the marketplace. Increasingly, it also educates them about issues that affect their lives. Recognizing the power of advertising to educate, the industry annually voluntarily devotes multi-billions of dollars worth of creative and media resources to high-visibility public service campaigns.

Vast, affordable media options enrich our society and underpin a core American value: the democratization of knowledge and information. Advertising plays a critical role in fostering this abundance of information, as it provides the financial foundation for the immense number of media and Web services available to U.S. consumers.

Commercial broadcasting, both radio and television, is supported solely by revenues from the sale of advertising time and space. Other types of media, including the Internet, newspapers, magazines and large segments of cable television rely heavily on advertising for a major portion of their revenues. Indeed, without advertising dollars, many of today’s media outlets would not exist, and the cost of those that survived would be substantially higher for the consumer.

Advertising revenue has helped lead to a tremendous proliferation of media choices. For example, television viewers in the early 1950’s and 60’s could watch only three broadcast networks. Today, viewers can choose from multiple broadcast networks, hundreds of cable channels and direct broadcast satellite programming.

The advertising-supported business model has also fueled the explosive growth of the Internet, creating a low barrier-to entry for an immense number of entrepreneurial online businesses. According to research firm comScore, more than 200 million Americans age 15 or older use search engines each month. These consumers are going to the Internet to access – at no cost – all types of content: from news and health, to sports and entertainment, to job listings and travel recommendations. The most popular Internet search engines, news outlets, entertainment portals, photo and video sharing services and social networking sites all give consumers free access to vast content and online experiences thanks to their advertising revenues.

The online media has developed at an extraordinary pace. It took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million Americans; network television took 13 years and cable television took 10 years. It took only about three years for the Internet to reach 50 million users in the U.S.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), there was $23.4 billion spent on advertising and paid search on the Internet in 2008. To put this in perspective, the Internet today is a bigger advertising medium than radio, outdoor advertising and about the same as consumer magazines. (

However, policymakers need to refrain from imposing undue restrictions that would limit the effectiveness of interactive advertising, thereby diminishing the flow of ad dollars into this promising new media channel.

The economic health of most of American media, including the online marketplace, rests primarily on the strong financial foundation provided by advertising.

You see that modern economy, especially advertising, as a part of modern economy not only in the USA, is much connected with pop culture: TV, Internet, literature, art and etc. This phenomenon is very interesting. The problem of advertising is very important for economics because you need ads for promoting your production, especially if you only start your own business. Everybody knows that ad is connected with the culture: TV, magazines, newspapers, radio, even films an so on.

So in my work I’ll try to study the problem of affecting advertising on pop culture in America. At first we’ll learn the definitions of advertisement and pop culture.


Advertising is a form of communication intended to persuade its viewers, readers or listeners to take some action. It usually includes the name of a product or service and how that product or service could benefit the consumer, to persuade potential customers to purchase or to consume that particular brand. Modern advertising developed with the rise of mass production in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[1]

Commercial advertisers often seek to generate increased consumption of their products or services through branding, which involves the repetition of an image or product name in an effort to associate related qualities with the brand in the minds of consumers. Different types of media can be used to deliver these messages, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor or direct mail. Advertising may be placed by an advertising agency on behalf of a company or other organization.

Organizations that spend money on advertising promoting items other than a consumer product or service include political parties, interest groups, religious organizations and governmental agencies. Nonprofit organizations may rely on free modes of persuasion, such as a public service announcement.

Money spent on advertising has declined in recent years. In 2007, spending on advertising was estimated at more than $150 billion in the United States[2] and $385 billion worldwide,[3] and the latter to exceed $450 billion by 2010.


Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters. Commercial messages and political campaign displays have been found in the ruins of Pompeii and ancient Arabia. Lost and found advertising on papyrus was common in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Wall or rock painting for commercial advertising is another manifestation of an ancient advertising form, which is present to this day in many parts of Asia, Africa, and South America. The tradition of wall painting can be traced back to Indian rock art paintings that date back to 4000 BC.[4] History tells us that Out-of-home advertising and billboards are the oldest forms of advertising.

As the towns and cities of the Middle Ages began to grow, and the general populace was unable to read, signs that today would say cobbler, miller, tailor or blacksmith would use an image associated with their trade such as a boot, a suit, a hat, a clock, a diamond, a horse shoe, a candle or even a bag of flour. Fruits and vegetables were sold in the city square from the backs of carts and wagons and their proprietors used street callers (town criers) to announce their whereabouts for the convenience of the customers.

As education became an apparent need and reading, as well as printing, developed advertising expanded to include handbills. In the 17th century advertisements started to appear in weekly newspapers in England. These early print advertisements were used mainly to promote books and newspapers, which became increasingly affordable with advances in the printing press; and medicines, which were increasingly sought after as disease ravaged Europe. However, false advertising and so-called "quack" advertisements became a problem, which ushered in the regulation of advertising content.

As the economy expanded during the 19th century, advertising grew alongside. In the United States, the success of this advertising format eventually led to the growth of mail-order advertising.

In June 1836, French newspaper La Presse was the first to include paid advertising in its pages, allowing it to lower its price, extend its readership and increase its profitability and the formula was soon copied by all titles. Around 1840, Volney Palmer established a predecessor to advertising agencies in Boston.[5] Around the same time, in France, Charles-Louis Havas extended the services of his news agency, Havas to include advertisement brokerage, making it the first French group to organize. At first, agencies were brokers for advertisement space in newspapers. N. W. Ayer & Son was the first full-service agency to assume responsibility for advertising content. N.W. Ayer opened in 1869, and was located in Philadelphia.5

At the turn of the century, there were few career choices for women in business; however, advertising was one of the few. Since women were responsible for most of the purchasing done in their household, advertisers and agencies recognized the value of women's insight during the creative process. In fact, the first American advertising to use a sexual sell was created by a woman – for a soap product. Although tame by today's standards, the advertisement featured a couple with the message "The skin you love to touch".[6]

In the early 1920s, the first radio stations were established by radio equipment manufacturers and retailers who offered programs in order to sell more radios to consumers. As time passed, many non-profit organizations followed suit in setting up their own radio stations, and included: schools, clubs and civic groups.[7] When the practice of sponsoring programs was popularized, each individual radio program was usually sponsored by a single business in exchange for a brief mention of the business' name at the beginning and end of the sponsored shows. However, radio station owners soon realized they could earn more money by selling sponsorship rights in small time allocations to multiple businesses throughout their radio station's broadcasts, rather than selling the sponsorship rights to single businesses per show.

This practice was carried over to television in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A fierce battle was fought between those seeking to commercialize the radio and people who argued that the radio spectrum should be considered a part of the commons – to be used only non-commercially and for the public good. The United Kingdom pursued a public funding model for the BBC, originally a private company, the British Broadcasting Company, but incorporated as a public body by Royal Charter in 1927. In Canada, advocates like Graham Spry were likewise able to persuade the federal government to adopt a public funding model, creating the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. However, in the United States, the capitalist model prevailed with the passage of the Communications Act of 1934 which created the Federal Communications Commission.7 To placate the socialists, the U.S. Congress did require commercial broadcasters to operate in the "public interest, convenience, and necessity".[8] Public broadcasting now exists in the United States due to the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act which led to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio.

In the early 1950s, the DuMont Television Network began the modern trend of selling advertisement time to multiple sponsors. Previously, DuMont had trouble finding sponsors for many of their programs and compensated by selling smaller blocks of advertising time to several businesses. This eventually became the standard for the commercial television industry in the United States. However, it was still a common practice to have single sponsor shows, such as The United States Steel Hour. In some instances the sponsors exercised great control over the content of the show - up to and including having one's advertising agency actually writing the show. The single sponsor model is much less prevalent now, a notable exception being the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

The 1960s saw advertising transform into a modern approach in which creativity was allowed to shine, producing unexpected messages that made advertisements more tempting to consumers' eyes. The Volkswagen ad campaign—featuring such headlines as "Think Small" and "Lemon" (which were used to describe the appearance of the car)—ushered in the era of modern advertising by promoting a "position" or "unique selling proposition" designed to associate each brand with a specific idea in the reader or viewer's mind. This period of American advertising is called the Creative Revolution and its archetype was William Bernbach who helped create the revolutionary Volkswagen ads among others. Some of the most creative and long-standing American advertising dates to this period.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the introduction of cable television and particularly MTV. Pioneering the concept of the music video, MTV ushered in a new type of advertising: the consumer tunes in for the advertising message, rather than it being a by-product or afterthought. As cable and satellite television became increasingly prevalent, specialty channels emerged, including channels entirely devoted to advertising, such as QVC, Home Shopping Network, and ShopTV Canada.

Marketing through the Internet opened new frontiers for advertisers and contributed to the "dot-com" boom of the 1990s. Entire corporations operated solely on advertising revenue, offering everything from coupons to free Internet access. At the turn of the 21st century, a number of websites including the search engine Google, started a change in online advertising by emphasizing contextually relevant, unobtrusive ads intended to help, rather than inundate, users. This has led to a plethora of similar efforts and an increasing trend of interactive advertising.

The share of advertising spending relative to GDP has changed little across large changes in media. For example, in the U.S. in 1925, the main advertising media were newspapers, magazines, signs on streetcars, and outdoor posters. Advertising spending as a share of GDP was about 2.9 percent. By 1998, television and radio had become major advertising media. Nonetheless, advertising spending as a share of GDP was slightly lower—about 2.4 percent.[9]

A recent advertising innovation is "guerrilla marketing", which involve unusual approaches such as staged encounters in public places, giveaways of products such as cars that are covered with brand messages, and interactive advertising where the viewer can respond to become part of the advertising message. Guerrilla advertising is becoming increasing more popular with a lot of companies. This type of advertising is unpredictable and innovative, which causes consumers to buy the product or idea. This reflects an increasing trend of interactive and "embedded" ads, such as via product placement, having consumers vote through text messages, and various innovations utilizing social network services such as MySpace.

Public service advertising

The same advertising techniques used to promote commercial goods and services can be used to inform, educate and motivate the public about non-commercial issues, such as HIV/AIDS, political ideology, energy conservation and deforestation.

Advertising, in its non-commercial guise, is a powerful educational tool capable of reaching and motivating large audiences. "Advertising justifies its existence when used in the public interest – it is much too powerful a tool to use solely for commercial purposes." – Attributed to Howard Gossage by David Ogilvy.

Public service advertising, non-commercial advertising, public interest advertising, cause marketing, and social marketing are different terms for (or aspects of) the use of sophisticated advertising and marketing communications techniques (generally associated with commercial enterprise) on behalf of non-commercial, public interest issues and initiatives.

In the United States, the granting of television and radio licenses by the FCC is contingent upon the station broadcasting a certain amount of public service advertising. To meet these requirements, many broadcast stations in America air the bulk of their required public service announcements during the late night or early morning when the smallest percentage of viewers are watching, leaving more day and prime time commercial slots available for high-paying advertisers.

Public service advertising reached its height during World Wars I and II under the direction of several governments.

Types of advertising

Virtually any medium can be used for advertising. Commercial advertising media can include wall paintings, billboards, street furniture components, printed flyers and rack cards, radio, cinema and television adverts, web banners, mobile telephone screens, shopping carts, web popups, skywriting, bus stop benches, human billboards, magazines, newspapers, town criers, sides of buses, banners attached to or sides of airplanes ("logojets"), in-flight advertisements on seatback tray tables or overhead storage bins, taxicab doors, roof mounts and passenger screens, musical stage shows, subway platforms and trains, elastic bands on disposable diapers, doors of bathroom stalls, stickers on apples in supermarkets, shopping cart handles (grabertising), the opening section of streaming audio and video, posters, and the backs of event tickets and supermarket receipts. Any place an "identified" sponsor pays to deliver their message through a medium is advertising.


The TV commercial is generally considered the most effective mass-market advertising format, as is reflected by the high prices TV networks charge for commercial airtime during popular TV events. The annual Super Bowl football game in the United States is known as the most prominent advertising event on television. The average cost of a single thirty-second TV spot during this game has reached US$3 million (as of 2009).

The majority of television commercials feature a song or jingle that listeners soon relate to the product.

Virtual advertisements may be inserted into regular television programming through computer graphics. It is typically inserted into otherwise blank backdrops[10] or used to replace local billboards that are not relevant to the remote broadcast audience.[11] More controversially, virtual billboards may be inserted into the background[12] where none exist in real-life. Virtual product placement is also possible.[13]


An infomercial is a long-format television commercial, typically five minutes or longer. The word "infomercial" is a portmanteau of the words "information" & "commercial". The main objective in an infomercial is to create an impulse purchase, so that the consumer sees the presentation and then immediately buys the product through the advertised toll-free telephone number or website. Infomercials describe, display, and often demonstrate products and their features, and commonly have testimonials from consumers and industry professionals.

Radio advertising

Radio advertising is a form of advertising via the medium of radio.

Radio advertisements are broadcasted as radio waves to the air from a transmitter to an antenna and a thus to a receiving device. Airtime is purchased from a station or network in exchange for airing the commercials. While radio has the obvious limitation of being restricted to sound, proponents of radio advertising often cite this as an advantage.

Press advertising

Press advertising describes advertising in a printed medium such as a newspaper, magazine, or trade journal. This encompasses everything from media with a very broad readership base, such as a major national newspaper or magazine, to more narrowly targeted media such as local newspapers and trade journals on very specialized topics. A form of press advertising is classified advertising, which allows private individuals or companies to purchase a small, narrowly targeted ad for a low fee advertising a product or service.

Online advertising

Online advertising is a form of promotion that uses the Internet and World Wide Web for the expressed purpose of delivering marketing messages to attract customers. Examples of online advertising include contextual ads that appear on search engine results pages, banner ads, in text ads, Rich Media Ads, Social network advertising, online classified advertising, advertising networks and e-mail marketing, including e-mail spam.

Billboard advertising

Billboards are large structures located in public places which display advertisements to passing pedestrians and motorists. Most often, they are located on main roads with a large amount of passing motor and pedestrian traffic; however, they can be placed in any location with large amounts of viewers, such as on mass transit vehicles and in stations, in shopping malls or office buildings, and in stadiums.

Mobile billboard advertising

Mobile billboards are generally vehicle mounted billboards or digital screens. These can be on dedicated vehicles built solely for carrying advertisements along routes preselected by clients, they can also be specially-equipped cargo trucks or, in some cases, large banners strewn from planes. The billboards are often lighted; some being backlit, and others employing spotlights. Some billboard displays are static, while others change; for example, continuously or periodically rotating among a set of advertisements.

Mobile displays are used for various situations in metropolitan areas throughout the world, including:

· Target advertising

· One-day, and long-term campaigns

· Conventions

· Sporting events

· Store openings and similar promotional events

· Big advertisements from smaller companies

· Others

In-store advertising

In-store advertising is any advertisement placed in a retail store. It includes placement of a product in visible locations in a store, such as at eye level, at the ends of aisles and near checkout counters, eye-catching displays promoting a specific product, and advertisements in such places as shopping carts and in-store video displays.

Covert advertising

Covert advertising, also known as guerrilla advertising, is when a product or brand is embedded in entertainment and media. For example, in a film, the main character can use an item or other of a definite brand, as in the movie Minority Report, where Tom Cruise's character John Anderton owns a phone with the Nokia logo clearly written in the top corner, or his watch engraved with the Bulgari logo. Another example of advertising in film is in I, Robot, where main character played by Will Smith mentions his Converse shoes several times, calling them "classics," because the film is set far in the future. I, Robot and Spaceballs also showcase futuristic cars with the Audi and Mercedes-Benz logos clearly displayed on the front of the vehicles. Cadillac chose to advertise in the movie The Matrix Reloaded, which as a result contained many scenes in which Cadillac cars were used. Similarly, product placement for Omega Watches, Ford, VAIO, BMW and Aston Martin cars are featured in recent James Bond films, most notably Casino Royale. In "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer", the main transport vehicle shows a large Dodge logo on the front. Blade Runner includes some of the most obvious product placement; the whole film stops to show a Coca-Cola billboard.


This type of advertising focuses upon using celebrity power, fame, money, popularity to gain recognition for their products and promote specific stores or products. Advertisers often advertise their products, for example, when celebrities share their favorite products or wear clothes by specific brands or designers. Celebrities are often involved in advertising campaigns such as television or print adverts to advertise specific or general products.

The use of celebrities to endorse a brand can have its downsides, however. One mistake by a celebrity can be detrimental to the public relations of a brand. For example, following his performance of eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, swimmer Michael Phelps' contract with Kellogg's was terminated, as Kellogg's did not want to associate with him after he was photographed smoking marijuana.

Media and advertising approaches

Increasingly, other media are overtaking many of the "traditional" media such as television, radio and newspaper because of a shift toward consumer's usage of the Internet for news and music as well as devices like digital video recorders (DVR's) such as TiVo.

Advertising on the World Wide Web is a recent phenomenon. Prices of Web-based advertising space are dependent on the "relevance" of the surrounding web content and the traffic that the website receives.

Digital signage is poised to become a major mass media because of its ability to reach larger audiences for less money. Digital signage also offer the unique ability to see the target audience where they are reached by the medium. Technology advances has also made it possible to control the message on digital signage with much precision, enabling the messages to be relevant to the target audience at any given time and location which in turn, gets more response from the advertising. Digital signage is being successfully employed in supermarkets. Another successful use of digital signage is in hospitality locations such as restaurantsand malls.[14]

E-mail advertising is another recent phenomenon. Unsolicited bulk E-mail advertising is known as "e-mail spam". Spam has been a problem for email users for many years. But more efficient filters are now available making it relatively easy to control what email you get.

Some companies have proposed placing messages or corporate logos on the side of booster rockets and the International Space Station. Controversy exists on the effectiveness of subliminal advertising, and the pervasiveness of mass messages.

Unpaid advertising (also called "publicity advertising"), can provide good exposure at minimal cost. Personal recommendations ("bring a friend", "sell it"), spreading buzz, or achieving the feat of equating a brand with a common noun (in the United States, "Xerox" = "photocopier", "Kleenex" = tissue, "Vaseline" = petroleum jelly, "Hoover" = vacuum cleaner, "Nintendo" (often used by those exposed to many video games) = video games, and "Band-Aid" = adhesive bandage) — these can be seen as the pinnacle of any advertising campaign. However, some companies oppose the use of their brand name to label an object. Equating a brand with a common noun also risks turning that brand into a genericized trademark - turning it into a generic term which means that its legal protection as a trademark is lost.

As the mobile phone became a new mass media in 1998 when the first paid downloadable content appeared on mobile phones in Finland, it was only a matter of time until mobile advertising followed, also first launched in Finland in 2000. By 2007 the value of mobile advertising had reached $2.2 billion and providers such as Admob delivered billions of mobile ads.

More advanced mobile ads include banner ads, coupons, Multimedia Messaging Service picture and video messages, advergames and various engagement marketing campaigns. A particular feature driving mobile ads is the 2D Barcode, which replaces the need to do any typing of web addresses, and uses the camera feature of modern phones to gain immediate access to web content. 83 percent of Japanese mobile phone users already are active users of 2D barcodes.

A new form of advertising that is growing rapidly is social network advertising. It is online advertising with a focus on social networking sites. This is a relatively immature market, but it has shown a lot of promise as advertisers are able to take advantage of the demographic information the user has provided to the social networking site. Friendertising is a more precise advertising term in which people are able to direct advertisements toward others directly using social network service.

From time to time, The CW Television Network airs short programming breaks called "Content Wraps," to advertise one company's product during an entire commercial break. The CW pioneered "content wraps" and some products featured were Herbal Essences, Crest, Guitar Hero II, Cover Girl, and recently Toyota.

Recently, there appeared a new promotion concept, "ARvertising", advertising on Augmented Reality technology.

Influencing and conditioning

The most important element of advertising is not information but suggestion more or less making use of associations, emotions (appeal to emotion) and drives dormant in the sub-conscience of people, such as sex drive, herd instinct, of desires, such as happiness, health, fitness, appearance, self-esteem, reputation, belonging, social status, identity, adventure, distraction, reward, of fears (appeal to fear), such as illness, weaknesses, loneliness, need, uncertainty, security or of prejudices, learned opinions and comforts. “All human needs, relationships, and fears – the deepest recesses of the human psyche – become mere means for the expansion of the commodity universe under the force of modern marketing. With the rise to prominence of modern marketing, commercialism – the translation of human relations into commodity relations – although a phenomenon intrinsic to capitalism, has expanded exponentially.”[15] ’Cause-related marketing’ in which advertisers link their product to some worthy social cause has boomed over the past decade.

Advertising exploits the model role of celebrities or popular figures and makes deliberate use of humour as well as of associations with colour, tunes, certain names and terms. Altogether, these are factors of how one perceives himself and one’s self-worth. In his description of ‘mental capitalism’ Franck says, “the promise of consumption making someone irresistible is the ideal way of objects and symbols into a person’s subjective experience. Evidently, in a society in which revenue of attention moves to the fore, consumption is drawn by one’s self-esteem. As a result, consumption becomes ‘work’ on a person’s attraction. From the subjective point of view, this ‘work’ opens fields of unexpected dimensions for advertising. Advertising takes on the role of a life councillor in matters of attraction. (…) The cult around one’s own attraction is what Christopher Lasch described as ‘Culture of Narcissism’.”[16]

For advertising critics another serious problem is that “the long standing notion of separation between advertising and editorial/creative sides of media is rapidly crumbling” and advertising is increasingly hard to tell apart from news, information or entertainment. The boundaries between advertising and programming are becoming blurred. According to the media firms all this commercial involvement has no influence over actual media content, but, as McChesney puts it, “this claim fails to pass even the most basic giggle test, it is so preposterous.”[17]

Advertising draws “heavily on psychological theories about how to create subjects, enabling advertising and marketing to take on a ‘more clearly psychological tinge’ (Miller and Rose, 1997, cited in Thrift, 1999, p. 67). Increasingly, the emphasis in advertising has switched from providing ‘factual’ information to the symbolic connotations of commodities, since the crucial cultural premise of advertising is that the material object being sold is never in itself enough. Even those commodities providing for the most mundane necessities of daily life must be imbued with symbolic qualities and culturally endowed meanings via the ‘magic system (Williams, 1980) of advertising. In this way and by altering the context in which advertisements appear, things ‘can be made to mean "just about anything"’ (McFall, 2002, p. 162) and the ‘same’ things can be endowed with different intended meanings for different individuals and groups of people, thereby offering mass produced visions of individualism.”[1]

Before advertising is done, market research institutions need to know and describe the target group to exactly plan and implement the advertising campaign and to achieve the best possible results. A whole array of sciences directly deal with advertising and marketing or is used to improve its effects. Focus groups, psychologists and cultural anthropologists are ‘’’de rigueur’’’ in marketing research”.[44] Vast amounts of data on persons and their shopping habits are collected, accumulated, aggregated and analysed with the aid of credit cards, bonus cards, raffles and internet surveying. With increasing accuracy this supplies a picture of behaviour, wishes and weaknesses of certain sections of a population with which advertisement can be employed more selectively and effectively. The efficiency of advertising is improved through advertising research. Universities, of course supported by business and in co-operation with other disciplines (s. above), mainly Psychiatry, Anthropology, Neurology and behavioural sciences, are constantly in search for ever more refined, sophisticated, subtle and crafty methods to make advertising more effective. “Neuromarketing is a controversial new field of marketing which uses medical technologies such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) -- not to heal, but to sell products. Advertising and marketing firms have long used the insights and research methods of psychology in order to sell products, of course. But today these practices are reaching epidemic levels, and with a complicity on the part of the psychological profession that exceeds that of the past. The result is an enormous advertising and marketing onslaught that comprises, arguably, the largest single psychological project ever undertaken. Yet, this great undertaking remains largely ignored by the American Psychological Association.”[18] Robert McChesney calls it "the greatest concerted attempt at psychological manipulation in all of human history."

Dependency of the media and corporate censorship

Almost all mass media are advertising media and many of them are exclusively advertising media and, with the exception of public service broadcasting are privately owned. Their income is predominantly generated through advertising; in the case of newspapers and magazines from 50 to 80%. Public service broadcasting in some countries can also heavily depend on advertising as a source of income (up to 40%).[19] In the view of critics no media that spreads advertisements can be independent and the higher the proportion of advertising, the higher the dependency. This dependency has “distinct implications for the nature of media content…. In the business press, the media are often referred to in exactly the way they present themselves in their candid moments: as a branch of the advertising industry.”[20]

In addition, the private media are increasingly subject to mergers and concentration with property situations often becoming entangled and opaque. This development, which Henry A. Giroux calls an “ongoing threat to democratic culture”,by itself should suffice to sound all alarms in a democracy. Five or six advertising agencies dominate this 400 billion U.S. dollar global industry.

“Journalists have long faced pressure to shape stories to suit advertisers and owners …. the vast majority of TV station executives found their news departments ‘cooperative’ in shaping the news to assist in ‘non-traditional revenue development.”[21] Negative and undesired reporting can be prevented or influenced when advertisers threaten to cancel orders or simply when there is a danger of such a cancellation. Media dependency and such a threat becomes very real when there is only one dominant or very few large advertisers. The influence of advertisers is not only in regard to news or information on their own products or services but expands to articles or shows not directly linked to them. In order to secure their advertising revenues the media has to create the best possible ‘advertising environment’. Another problem considered censorship by critics is the refusal of media to accept advertisements that are not in their interest. A striking example of this is the refusal of TV stations to broadcast ads by Adbusters. Groups try to place advertisements and are refused by networks.

It is principally the viewing rates which decide upon the programme in the private radio and television business. “Their business is to absorb as much attention as possible. The viewing rate measures the attention the media trades for the information offered. The service of this attraction is sold to the advertising business”[22] and the viewing rates determine the price that can be demanded for advertising.

“Advertising companies determining the contents of shows has been part of daily life in the USA since 1933. Procter & Gamble (P&G) …. offered a radio station a history-making trade (today know as “bartering”): the company would produce an own show for “free” and save the radio station the high expenses for producing contents. Therefore the company would want its commercials spread and, of course, its products placed in the show. Thus, the series ‘Ma Perkins’ was created, which P&G skilfully used to promote Oxydol, the leading detergent brand in those years and the Soap opera was born …”

While critics basically worry about the subtle influence of the economy on the media, there are also examples of blunt exertion of influence. The US company Chrysler, before it merged with Daimler Benz had its agency, PentaCom, send out a letter to numerous magazines, demanding them to send, an overview of all the topics before the next issue is published to “avoid potential conflict”. Chrysler most of all wanted to know, if there would be articles with “sexual, political or social” content or which could be seen as “provocative or offensive”. PentaCom executive David Martin said: “Our reasoning is, that anyone looking at a 22.000 $ product would want it surrounded by positive things. There is nothing positive about an article on child pornography.”In another example, the „USA Network held top-level ‚off-the-record’ meetings with advertisers in 2000 to let them tell the network what type of programming content they wanted in order for USA to get their advertising.”[23] Television shows are created to accommodate the needs for advertising, e. g. splitting them up in suitable sections. Their dramaturgy is typically designed to end in suspense or leave an unanswered question in order to keep the viewer attached.

The movie system, at one time outside the direct influence of the broader marketing system, is now fully integrated into it through the strategies of licensing, tie-ins and product placements. The prime function of many Hollywood films today is to aid in the selling of the immense collection of commodities.[24] The press called the 2002 Bond film ‘Die Another Day’ featuring 24 major promotional partners an ‘ad-venture’ and noted that James Bond “now has been ‘licensed to sell’” As it has become standard practise to place products in motion pictures, it “has self-evident implications for what types of films will attract product placements and what types of films will therefore be more likely to get made”.

Advertising and information are increasingly hard to distinguish from each other. “The borders between advertising and media …. become more and more blurred…. What August Fischer, chairman of the board of Axel Springer publishing company considers to be a ‘proven partnership between the media and advertising business’ critics regard as nothing but the infiltration of journalistic duties and freedoms”. According to RTL-executive Helmut Thoma “private stations shall not and cannot serve any mission but only the goal of the company which is the ‘acceptance by the advertising business and the viewer’. The setting of priorities in this order actually says everything about the ‘design of the programmes’ by private television.” Patrick Le Lay, former managing director of TF1, a private French television channel with a market share of 25 to 35%, said: "There are many ways to talk about television. But from the business point of view, let’s be realistic: basically, the job of TF1 is, e. g. to help Coca Cola sell its product. (…) For an advertising message to be perceived the brain of the viewer must be at our disposal. The job of our programmes is to make it available, that is to say, to distract it, to relax it and get it ready between two messages. It is disposable human brain time that we sell to Coca Cola.”

Because of these dependencies a widespread and fundamental public debate about advertising and its influence on information and freedom of speech is difficult to obtain, at least through the usual media channels; otherwise these would saw off the branch they are sitting on. “The notion that the commercial basis of media, journalism, and communication could have troubling implications for democracy is excluded from the range of legitimate debate” just as “capitalism is off-limits as a topic of legitimate debate in U.S. political culture”.[25]

An early critic of the structural basis of U.S. journalism was Upton Sinclair with his novel The Brass Check in which he stresses the influence of owners, advertisers, public relations, and economic interests on the media. In his book “Our Master's Voice – Advertising” the social ecologist James Rorty (1890–1973) wrote: "The gargoyle’s mouth is a loudspeaker, powered by the vested interest of a two-billion dollar industry, and back of that the vested interests of business as a whole, of industry, of finance. It is never silent, it drowns out all other voices, and it suffers no rebuke, for it is not the voice of America? That is its claim and to some extent it is a just claim...”[26]

It has taught us how to live, what to be afraid of, what to be proud of, how to be beautiful, how to be loved, how to be envied, how to be successful.. Is it any wonder that the American population tends increasingly to speak, think, feel in terms of this jabberwocky? That the stimuli of art, science, religion are progressively expelled to the periphery of American life to become marginal values, cultivated by marginal people on marginal time?"[27]

Popular culture

Popular culture (commonly known as pop culture) is the totality of artistic products, ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes,[28] images and other phenomena that the average person of any nation or group is likely to have encountered or been influenced by. In developed countries, cultural products are often disseminated by market-driven mass media (at least from the early 20th century onward). For this reason, it sometimes comes under heavy criticism from various scientific and non-mainstream sources (most notably religious groups and countercultural groups) which deem it superficial, consumerist, sensationalist, and corrupted.[29]

It is manifest in preferences and acceptance or rejection of features in such various subjects as cooking, clothing, consumption, and the many facets of entertainment such as sports, music, film, and literature. Popular culture often contrasts with the more exclusive, even elitist "high culture",that is, the culture of ruling social groups, and the low or folk culture of the lower classes.The earliest use of "popular" in English was during the fifteenth century in law and politics, meaning "low", "base", "vulgar", and "of the common people"; from the late eighteenth century it began to mean "widespread" and gain in positive connotation. (Williams 1985). "Culture" has been used since the 1950s to refer to various subgroups of society, with emphasis on cultural differences.


Defining 'popular' and 'culture', which are essentially contested concepts, is complicated with multiple competing definitions of popular culture. John Storey, in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, discusses six definitions. The quantitative definition, of culture has the problem that much "high culture" (e.g. television dramatizations of Jane Austen) is widely favoured. "Pop culture" is also defined as the culture that is "left over" when we have decided what high culture is. However, many works straddle or cross the boundaries, e.g. Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. Storey draws attention to the forces and relations which sustain this difference such as the educational system.

A third definition equates pop culture with Mass Culture. This is seen as a commercial culture, mass produced for mass consumption. From a Western European perspective, this may be compared to American culture. Alternatively, "pop culture" can be defined as an "authentic" culture of the people, but this can be problematic because there are many ways of defining the "people." Storey argues that there is a political dimension to popular culture; neo-Gramscian hegemony theory "... sees popular culture as a site of struggle between the 'resistance' of subordinate groups in society and the forces of 'incorporation' operating in the interests of dominant groups in society." A postmodernism approach to popular culture would "no longer recognize the distinction between high and popular culture'

Storey emphasizes that popular culture emerges from the urbanization of the industrial revolution, which identifies the term with the usual definitions of 'mass culture'. Studies of Shakespeare (by Weimann, Barber or Bristol, for example) locate much of the characteristic vitality of his drama in its participation in Renaissance popular culture, while contemporary practitioners like Dario Fo and John McGrath use popular culture in its Gramscian sense that includes ancient folk traditions (the commedia dell'arte for example).

Popular culture changes constantly and occurs uniquely in place and time. It forms currents and eddies, and represents a complex of mutually-interdependent perspectives and values that influence society and its institutions in various ways. For example, certain currents of pop culture may originate from, (or diverge into) a subculture, representing perspectives with which the mainstream popular culture has only limited familiarity. Items of popular culture most typically appeal to a broad spectrum of the public.

Institutional propagation

Popular culture and the mass media have a symbiotic relationship: each depends on the other in an intimate collaboration."

—K. Turner (1984), p.4 [30]

The news media mines the work of scientists and scholars and conveys it to the general public, often emphasizing elements that have inherent appeal or the power to amaze. For instance, giant pandas (a species in remote Chinese woodlands) have become well-known items of popular culture; parasitic worms, though of greater practical importance, have not. Both scholarly facts and news stories get modified through popular transmission, often to the point of outright falsehoods.

Hannah Arendt's 1961 essay "The Crisis in Culture" suggested that a "market-driven media would lead to the displacement of culture by the dictates of entertainment." Susan Sontag argues that in our culture, the most "...intelligible, persuasive values are [increasingly] drawn from the entertainment industries", which is "undermining of standards of seriousness." As a result, "tepid, the glib, and the senselessly cruel" topics are becoming the norm.Some critics argue that popular culture is “dumbing down”: "...newspapers that once ran foreign news now feature celebrity gossip, pictures of scantily dressed young ladies...television has replaced high-quality drama with gardening, cookery, and other “lifestyle” programmes...[and] reality TV and asinine soaps," to the point that people are constantly immersed in trivia about celebrity culture.[31]

In Rosenberg and White's book Mass Culture, MacDonald argues that "Popular culture is a debased, trivial culture that voids both the deep realities (sex, death, failure, tragedy) and also the simple spontaneous pleasures.... The masses, debauched by several generations of this sort of thing, in turn come to demand trivial and comfortable cultural products."Van den Haag argues that "...all mass media in the end alienate people from personal experience and though appearing to offset it, intensify their moral isolation from each other, from reality and from themselves."[32]

Critics have lamented the "... replacement of high art and authentic folk culture by tasteless industrialised artefacts produced on a mass scale in order to satisfy the lowest common denominator."This "mass culture emerged after the Second World War and have led to the concentration of mass-culture power in ever larger global media conglomerates." The popular press decreased the amount of news or information and replaced it with entertainment or titillation that reinforces "... fears, prejudice, scapegoating processes, paranoia, and aggression."

Critics of television and film have argued that the quality of TV output has been diluted as stations relentlessly pursue "populism and ratings" by focusing on the "glitzy, the superficial, and the popular." In film, "Hollywood culture and values" are increasingly dominating film production in other countries. Hollywood films have changed from creating formulaic films which emphasize "...shock-value and superficial thrill[s]" and special effects, with themes that focus on the "...basic instincts of aggression, revenge, violence, [and] greed." The plots "...often seem simplistic, a standardised template taken from the shelf, and dialogue is minimal." The "characters are shallow and unconvincing, the dialogue is also simple, unreal, and badly constructed."[33]


Folklore provides a second and very different source of popular culture. In pre-industrial times, mass culture equaled folk culture. This earlier layer of culture still persists today, sometimes in the form of jokes or slang jargon, which spread through the population by word of mouth and via the Internet. By providing a new channel for transmission, cyberspace has renewed the strength of this element of popular culture.

Although the folkloric element of popular culture engages heavily with the commercial element, the public has its own tastes and it may not embrace every cultural item sold. Moreover, beliefs and opinions about the products of commercial culture (for example: "My favorite character is SpongeBob SquarePants") spread by word-of-mouth, and become modified in the process in the same manner that folklore evolves.

Owing to the pervasive and increasingly interconnected nature of popular culture, especially its intermingling of complementary distribution sources, some cultural anthropologists literary and cultural critics have identified a large amount of intertextuality in popular culture's portrayals of itself. One commentator has suggested this self-referentiality reflects the advancing encroachment of popular culture into every realm of collective experience. "Instead of referring to the real world, much media output devotes itself to referring to other images, other narratives; self-referentiality is all-embracing, although it is rarely taken account of."[34]

Many cultural critics have dismissed this as merely a symptom or side-effect of mass consumerism, however alternate explanations and critique have also been offered. One critic asserts that it reflects a fundamental paradox: the increase in technological and cultural sophistication, combined with an increase in superficiality and dehumanization.[35]

Examples from American television

According to television studies scholars specializing in quality television, such as Kristin Thompson, self-referentiality in mainstream American television (especially comedy) reflects and exemplifies the type of progression characterized previously. Thompson[36] argues shows such as The Simpsons use a "...flurry of cultural references, intentionally inconsistent characterization, and considerable self-reflexivity about television conventions and the status of the programme as a television show."Extreme examples approach a kind of thematic infinite regress wherein distinctions between art and life, commerce and critique, ridicule and homage become intractably blurred.

Long-running television series The Simpsons routinely alludes to mainstream media properties, as well as the commercial content of the show itself. In one episode, Bart complains about the crass commercialism of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while watching television. When he turns his head away from the television, he is shown floating by as an oversized inflatable balloon. The show also invokes liberal reference to contemporary issues as depicted in the mainstream, and often merges such references with unconventional and even esoteric associations to classical and postmodernist works of literature, entertainment and art.

Advertising in Literature, Art, Film, and Popular Culture

What is advertising? Advertising is a means of conveying information to consumers about a product or service that exists in many different media. Advertising serves to persuade and inform a consumer base in order to influence them and their purchasing power.[37] No matter the channel by which the advertising is communicated, be it in print, video, or sound-all advertising seeks to accomplish the same goal.

Is advertising a direct affect Popular Culture, or is it a direct effect of Popular Culture? Through the exploration of advertising history in the 20th century, brand identities and their development, along with the examination of Popular Culture, and historical events occurring during the same time frame, we can hope to find an answer to both of these questions.

Lowering of prices and the beginning of mass production made products more widely available to the public, and thus carrying with it, the need to bring their attention to the new items on the market. With the creation and development of the transcontinental railroad, a national market for products opened.

Although the first advertising agency was developed in 1841 by Volney B. Palmer, it wasn't until the 20th century that advertising agencies began to offer a full spectrum of services ranging from branding and logo design, to concepts, and implementation of the campaign. Originally, the agency served to secure the ad space in a newspaper. By the time the 20th century began there were several agencies for companies to choose from. Experts started coming out of the woodwork left and right to share their thoughts on advertising and the best methods to use, writing book after book on the subject.[38]

Literature and Advertising

Scholars and literary critics differ over what constitutes literature. The once revered canon of texts (such as The Canterbury Tales, The Merchant of Venice, and Wuthering Heights) has given way to the study of a much broader range of texts (including popular romances, soap operas, and advertisements) and voices (especially kinds of voices that had not been included among canonical texts such as African-, Asian-, and Latin-American writers). Some definitions of literature specify criteria that a text must have in order to qualify as literature whereas others emphasize acceptance by a reading community as the primary marker. The following two definitions of literature represent these differing approaches:

In antiquity and in the Renaissance, literature or letters were understood to include all writing of quality with any pretense to permanence. [focuses on textual criteria][39]

... literature is a canon which consists of those works in language by which a community defines itself throughout the course of its history. It includes works primarily artistic and also those whose aesthetic qualities are only secondary. The self-defining activity of the community is conducted in the light of the works, as its members have come to read them (or concretize them). [focuses on community acceptance] [40]

Whether one of these or yet another definition of literature is preferred, there is a widely shared sense that literature stands apart from more ordinary texts such as telephone books, shopping lists, operating instructions, and advertisements. A practical approach to understanding literature might enumerate some widely shared characteristics:

- Literature consists of written texts.

- Literature is marked by careful use of language, including features such as creative metaphors, well-turned phrases, elegant syntax, rhyme, meter.

- Literature is written in a literary genre (poetry, prose fiction, or drama).

- Literature is intended by its authors to be read aesthetically.

- Literature is deliberately somewhat open in interpretation.[41]

Are advertisements "writings of quality with pretenses to permanence"? Are advertisements widely understood to be a form of literature? Are they careful in their use of language, written in a recognizable literary genre, intended to be and actually read aesthetically, and deliberately open in interpretation? In fact, advertisements fail by any of these definitions to qualify as literature. It is this difference that gives rise to the sense that literature is a part of "high" culture while advertisements are something else and belong to "low," or mass, culture.

However, this binary division does not reflect the real relationship of literature and advertising either in the present or the past. The literary theorist Jennifer Wicke argues that neither the novel as a literary genre nor the advertisement as a text can be properly understood alone but rather share a long and intimate history. She notes that prior to Gutenberg, scribal manuscripts contained advertisements (or notices) that explained the circumstances of the copying. For example, a notice that copying had been done during holy days would signify that the text was not to be sold. At first, such notices appeared at the end of manuscripts. Later, after the printing press was invented, printers began placing them as prefatory material before the main texts. The content of these notices expanded to announce, describe, and indicate ownership of the texts that followed. Thus, the very technology of printing spurred the development of advertisements of printed texts.

Elizabeth Eisenstein, investigating this historic relationship of the book and the ad, writes: "In the course of exploiting new publicity techniques, few authors failed to give high priority to publicizing themselves. The art of puffery, the writing of blurbs and other familiar promotional devices were also exploited by early printers who worked aggressively to obtain public recognition for the authors and artists whose products they hoped to sell."[42]

This promotion of printed works by printers also led to the significant identification of texts with authors. The crediting of the author had not always occurred previously when oral stories were written down. These new techniques established books as intellectual property and made many authors into celebrities.

These early advertisements eventually became separated from the texts themselves. "By the late seventeenth century... [these] publicity techniques called 'advertising' had slipped out from the covers of literary works and helped to create the newspaper—The Advertiser became a generic name for journalistic offerings." At this point, advertisements as we know them today began to develop separately from books, appearing not only in newspapers but in public spaces as signs and posters as well.

In the 19th century, the novel emerged as the most important literary genre and remained so until film, radio, and television challenged its popularity it in the 20th century. After advertisements became separate and independent texts in their own right, the relationship between literature and advertising did not cease. Rather, it assumed complex new forms, as Wicke shows in her masterful analysis of three classic novelists—Charles Dickens, Henry James, and James Joyce.

In several of the novels by Charles Dickens (Sketches by Boz, Pickwick, The Old Curiosity Shop, Martin Chuzzlewit, Bleak House, and Our Mutual Friend), advertising figures prominently. In Sketches by Boz he wrote: "...all London is a circus of poster and trade bill, a receptacle for the writings of Pears and Warren's until we can barely see ourselves underneath. Read this! Read that!"

Dickens knew intimately of what he wrote. Before establishing himself as a novelist, he worked in Warren's blacking factory where shoe polish was manufactured. It seems that he sometimes helped write the copy for advertisements and that for a while he was placed in a window polishing shoes as a form of advertising. Later, when he wrote his novels, the power and presence of factory work and the promotion of goods played significant roles.

In addition, Dickens engaged with advertising yet another way by taking great interest in the advertising of his own novels—choosing or writing ads for them. The great popularity of his stories led to the incorporation of many of his characters into a broad range of advertisements in ways that are familiar today. Player's cigarettes issued in 1912 a set of trade cards (one inserted in each pack of cigarettes) for Dickens's characters. Various commercial products mimicked the style or used the name of one or more of his characters—from Dolly Vardon aprons to chintz fabrics emboldened with Dickensiana. This trend continues even today as various brands make reference to "A Christmas Carol" or ask "Oliver Twist."

The American author Henry James similarly engaged advertising in his novels. The American stage for spectacle, exaggeration, and outrageous claims was set earlier in the 19th century by P.T. Barnum and his extravagant and outlandish publicity for his traveling shows, circus, and museum. An America that succumbed to Barnum and unchecked advertising claims of every sort fascinated James. This fascination is reflected in his novels. According to Wicke, James's own style of fiction "bears a confessed kinship to the melodramatics of advertising." His late work The American Scene (1907) takes up the subject of the consumer society.

His book commemorates the trip he took in 1904, after returning from twenty years in Europe, a "pilgrim" come to see his own native land. The patchwork of places and sights—St. Augustine, Newport, the Waldorf-Astoria, Hoboken—may seem impressionistic renderings of his journey, but above all the text explores the phenomenon of a capitalist culture that has come into its own since his departure.[43]

Irish author James Joyce, like Dickens before him, wrote advertisements at an early stage of his career. (He ran a film theatre and often wrote the ads for it.) It is his masterful Ulysses (1922) that directly conjoins literature and advertising. Leopold Bloom, the central character in the novel, works as an advertising canvasser thus occasioning many references to advertisements in the novel. More profoundly, "the constantly unfurling 'stream of consciousness' that is Bloom's narrative style is largely made up of his 'mind' wending its way through the eddies, currents, and shorelines of advertising or advertised goods."

Many literary theorists have recently noted connections like those above between literature and the culture of consumption for which advertising is the mouthpiece. The James Joyce Quarterly asserts that advertising influenced the writer at least as much as Thomas Aquinas, Dante, or Shakespeare did.[44] Other writers like George Eliot and Sherwood Anderson have been studied for their connections to advertising discourse as well. Eliot's Middlemarch (1871-2) contains passages reflective of Bloom's interior monologues about consumer goods in Ulysses.[45] Anderson himself had a long career in advertising before writing his many observations about its practices.

Thus, what all these connections between literature and advertising show is the impossibility of maintaining any strict division between the "high" culture of literature and the mass culture of advertising. Some writers of great literature were also authors of many advertisements to which and from which they took their style of writing. More importantly, many influential writers have brought advertising into their stories in order to analyze the role of advertising in society. Finally, the study of literature has opened itself to the examination of many kinds of non-canonical texts such as advertisements in order to understand the culture that generates them.

Advertising and Art

The relationship between advertising and art is even more intimate than that with literature. Over the centuries, artists have been hired to paint signboards, shop walls, and other kinds of images in the service of commercial promotion. However, it was in the 19th century that a much closer relationship between advertising and art developed.

In London, the well-known illustrator Cruikshank was commissioned in 1820 by Warren's blacking company (the same company that Dickens worked for as a boy) to illustrate an ad. The drawing he produced—a cat frightened by its own reflected image in the sheen of a highly polished boot—clearly added spark to the long-copy advertisement it accompanied. Such relationships were typical 19th-century interactions between the art world and advertising.

In addition to the drawings and other images produced directly for commercial use, a second relation of advertising to art was the appropriation of high art for use in advertisements. For example, John Everett Millais's sentimental painting Bubbles (1886) became a poster for Pears soap, but not without considerable critical uproar from those who wanted to keep "art" on a high pedestal above the crassness of everyday commercial appeals.

Even more significant, however, was the close connection between advertising and modern art that developed in the later years of the 19th century. Both advertising and the artistic movement known as modernism emerged about the same time—around 1860 to 1870. The stage for their collaboration was set by at least two factors: the development of techniques supporting the mass production of images, and an abundance of consumer goods hitherto unknown. Modernism dismissed literal representations in favor of freer modes intended to evoke the sorts of fantasies and emotions that marketers were coming to realize would help move products. By the final years of the 19th century, modern art and modern advertising were freely borrowing from and influencing one another.

The French advertising poster of the late 1800s marks the beginning of this crossover between advertising and art. For example, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec produced advertising posters, as did many other artists who are usually thought of as belonging to the "high art" tradition. It was Jules Chéret, however, who invented and perfected the advertising poster as a new genre that had no real precedent in earlier artistic traditions. His poster for the Folies-Bergère in Paris privileges movement over literal representation. Its bright colors also depart from literalism to convey the excitement of the spectacle of the Folies-Bergère.

Despite widespread use, the advertising poster did not always meet with universal acclaim. There were those who felt that filling the streets of Paris with advertising was a sure sign of cultural decay rather than progress. A conservative writer, Maurice Talmeyr, published an article entitled "The Age of the Poster" in which he assessed its impact on society.

[The poster] does not say to us: "Pray, obey, sacrifice yourself, adore God, fear the master, respect the king..." It whispers to us: "Amuse yourself, preen yourself, feed yourself, go to the theater, to the ball, to the concert, read novels, drink good beer, buy good bouillon, smoke good cigars, eat good chocolate, go to your carnival, keep yourself fresh, handsome, strong, cheerful, please women, take care of yourself, comb yourself, purge yourself, look after your underwear, your clothes, your teeth, your hands, and take lozenges if you catch cold!" [46]

The artist Georges Seurat became a great fan of Chéret and the style of his posters. He drew inspiration for some of his later work from them. Chéret's high-stepping dancers in Les Girard: Folies-Bergère, a lithograph from 1879, reappear a decade later in Seurat's Le Chahut (1889-90). Many similar links between "high" artists and the popular cultural artists producing advertising are recognized by historians of art.

In 1990, the Museum of Modern Art in New York mounted an exhibition entitled High and Low: Modern Art, Popular Culture that explored the relation in such areas as words, graffiti, caricature, comics, and advertising. The exhibition catalogue noted: "[T]he story of modern artists' responses to advertising, and vice versa, is the most complex and tendentious of the various histories [the exhibition] addresses." The exhibition traced the link between art and advertising from the French advertising poster to the present.

An artistic movement based around "found objects" spilled over into advertising itself. The now familiar Michelin Man (1898) emerged from Édouard Michelin's observation that a stack of tires might resemble a man with the simple addition of arms. It was in such moments, where art and life come together, that many great advertising ideas of the 20th century were born. Another example is the RCA dog inspired by a real pet and an actual incident.

The influence between advertising and art moved the other way as well. Picasso, in his Landscape with Posters (1912) and Au Bon Marché (1913), and many Dada avant-garde artists incorporated images of ads or actual parts of advertisements into their productions. In the 1920s, Fernand Léger modeled his painting The Siphon (1924) on an ad that appeared in the French newspaper Le Matin. Examples such as these abound in 20th-century art.

The social theorist Michael Schudson has termed American advertising "capitalist realism" in order to indicate the similarity of advertising art in the 1930s to the propagandistic art forms that grew up in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union at that same time. According to Schudson, each of these states celebrated the different local ideas of heroism (communist, national socialist, or capitalist) in styles that were "reassuringly legible and impervious to ambiguity."

After World War II, artists like Andy Warhol commented on modern life through references to advertisements. Warhol painted cans of Campbell's soup repetitively to comment on modern life—a world in which endless copies of mechanically produced products are available and serve to homogenize experience. (Ironically, Andy Warhol was later commissioned by Absolut Vodka to produce an image of its famous bottle in the Warhol style as an actual advertisement.) Artistic commentaries on the nature of capitalism, consumption, and a world populated with advertising imagery are mainstays in contemporary art.

The omnipresence of advertising imagery in contemporary society is surely one of the hallmarks of this period in history. When future generations look back on 20th- and 21st-century life, they will surely marvel at how little care we took to preserve the popular art of advertising—most of which disappears quickly. TV commercials are intended to evaporate, billboards to come down, and magazines and newspapers to be recycled. Yet, the mutual influence of high art and popular culture is one of the most salient characteristics of contemporary expressive culture.

Advertising and Film

Since the end of World War II, first Hollywood films and later TV scripts have frequently included advertising as one of their themes. The Hucksters (1947) and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) tell stories about the lives of men who work in advertising, but the stories they tell are not flattering. In fact, they constitute the beginning of a long tradition in Hollywood to use advertising (often as a backdrop to a story rather than its central focus) in a highly stereotyped manner. The establishment of this screen version of advertising and its perpetuation even into the present has provided for members of the public—most of whom have never been inside an advertising agency and do not know anyone who works in one—their primary source of information about the inner workings of advertising. It is no different really from how the mass media has constructed images of lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, airline pilots, movie stars, and a host of other professions. Although these representations develop mythologies through repetition and are usually secondary to the main themes of stories, they nonetheless leave after-images that linger in our minds about what we have seen.

How does Hollywood represent advertising? For the purposes of this unit, a list of several films that deal with advertising in some way was developed. Then about half of these films were studied in detail for how they represent advertising. On the basis of this analysis, recurrent themes about advertising in the films were identified.

The themes that will be discussed in detail are the Hollywood representation of: (1) advertising as a profession, (2) the impact of advertising on society, and (3) the characteristics of people who work in advertising.

By setting a film in an advertising agency and/or featuring people who work in advertising, the film describes (albeit inadvertently) the profession of advertising. Films typically make advertising appear to be easy work. Creative ideas are not depicted in relation to strategy and research, but rather ideas seem to emerge while throwing pencils like darts at the ceiling or in a moment of serendipity. For example, a creative team in Nothing in Common (1986) invents skits and songs by acting out an idea for a commercial. The scene conveys a convivial, friendly, and fun atmosphere at work. Ray Liotta's character comes up with the perfect jingle in Corrina, Corrina (1994) while banging out notes in a piano duo with his housekeeper, played by Whoopi Goldberg. Many scenes show the fun aspects of his job as a writer for commercials for Jell-O and Mr. Potato Head. In the clip, the creative solution "just happens." In How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), Matthew McConaughey's character is engaged in a conversation with Kate Hudson's, who uses the word "frosting" to describe diamonds. He recognizes the originality and power of the description and develops the tag line, "Frost yourself," for a diamond company.

None of these representations portray the lengthy process that goes into making an advertisement nor the strategy that lies behind it. Rather, the most photogenic aspects of the creative process are selected and edited into the story about advertising that gets told through movies.

Another aspect of advertising's appearance in film is the glamorous lifestyle that surrounds the field. The collage of images in Figures 31-34 below shows advertising professionals dressing stylishly, working in beautiful offices, attending elegant parties, and living in extraordinary apartments and houses. For example, Ben Affleck in Bounce (2000) has a home whose large glass windows give a spectacular view of Venice Beach and the waves of the Pacific beyond it. Keanu Reeves in Sweet November (2001) lives in a high-ceiling refurbished loft in San Francisco. This early morning scene shows the elegant furnishings that include 12 flat-screen TVs. Mel Gibson in What Women Want (2000) lives in a Chicago high-rise apartment with a large balcony, elegant furnishings, and a killer view of the cityscape.

Offices are at least as impressive as homes in Hollywood's version of the lifestyles of advertising professionals. Offices are lively, colorful, interesting places to work. For example, Mel Gibson's office in What Women Want is filled with award trophies, leather chairs, and advertisements. Its dark woods and colors signify masculinity. By contrast, Helen Hunt's office in the same film is brighter and has lots of flowers and a more feminine feel. Her large office has not only a very big desk but plenty of other furniture and memorabilia of her career. The interior shots of the agency in the film show a large open space with many workstations where mid-level employees work. The architecture of the old building, complete with mezzanine and old ironwork, exudes style and good taste.

Advertising people attend lots of parties in the movies. Meg Ryan is shown below in a still from Kate & Leopold (2001). The setting is a business dinner where everyone is well dressed, all the tables have beautiful flowers, and the room itself is lovely. In a second clip from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, the party is a gala evening black-tie affair; the occasion is the celebration of an ad campaign for diamonds, plenty of which sparkle in the room. In Picture Perfect (1997), guests attend a lavish dinner where canapés pass on trays and two models dressed as the product celebrate Gulden's Mustard.

Not to be outdone by their surroundings, advertising people dress exceedingly well in the movies. Doris Day's character in Lover Come Back (1961) steps out of a convertible only to be covered by a canopy leading to the door of a fashionable New York building. She wears a matching dress and jacket outfit that is complete with a fur collar. Cuba Gooding, Jr., in The Fighting Temptations (2003) is smartly dressed in a well-tailored, fashionable suit as he addresses attendees at a board meeting. Meg Ryan in Kate & Leopold wears an expensive crushed velvet riding jacket to a business lunch in an uptown restaurant.

On top of the glitz and glamour that is advertising in film is a darker image that is repeated again and again. This is the notion that advertising is filled with lies and manipulation. The following clips from films are typical. Each of them conveys this idea rather directly. In The Fighting Temptations, Cuba Gooding, Jr., says in a conversation with his boss that deception is company policy in advertising. In Picture Perfect, Illeana Douglas's character, speaking with Jennifer Aniston's, remarks, "I didn't lie, I sold." Even more pointedly in Crazy People (1990), Dudley Moore describes advertising work by saying, "We lie for a living."

This notion dates back at least to the age of P.T. Barnum, whose exaggerated and frequently false claims, as mentioned earlier, gave the public a bad taste for advertising. It was not helped by traveling salesmen who drifted in and out of town in 19th-century America nor by the unrestricted claims about the benefits of patent medicines that were common well into the 20th century. When Hollywood began to depict advertising, all this plus Vance Packard's exposé about motivational research had alerted the public to the idea of deceit in advertising. This is the image of advertisers that was laid down on film, and these stereotypes have remained largely unchanged though there has been little if any effort to offer evidence for them.

A second theme about advertising in films concerns its impact on society. The idea is that advertising generally causes people to buy things they do not need. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House features Cary Grant as an advertising executive who wants to move from New York City to the country. It is his success in advertising that provides the means to make this decision, but the work Mr. Blandings does is not respected by his children. In a particularly pointed statement, one of his daughters speaks of the social evils associated with advertising. In The Fighting Temptations, another indictment of advertising's social policy in the willingness of Cuba Gooding's character to exploit the public for gain and his condescending attitude toward them.

A third idea in the Hollywood depiction of advertising is that there is a certain kind of person who does well in advertising. This is someone who is willing to do almost anything asked of him or her, to put job before family and personal life, and to sell things that they might not believe in themselves.

An additional theme in some of the films is discrepancy between men's and women's jobs in advertising. For example, in Lover Come Back, Doris Day and Rock Hudson both work in advertising. However, she works while he plays. In What Women Want, Mel Gibson gets all the credit for Helen Hunt's ideas.

Advertising and Popular Culture: The Super Bowl

Each January advertising moves onto center stage in American popular culture. The occasion is the Super Bowl—itself one of the country's most watched TV programs. In the weeks and days leading up to the actual event, media hype about the game and the commercials predicts game outcome, celebrates fans, and promises ever more spectacular ads.

In 2006, viewers in more than 45 million homes tuned in to the Super Bowl, making it the second-most viewed program in the history of American television. More than 15 percent of these viewers claimed to be watching primarily for the commercials.[47] As for the commercials themselves, they are among the most expensive to produce and air. It was reported that airing a 30-second spot could cost as much as $2.5 million in 2006. Having come to appreciate the appeal of Super Bowl commercials, advertisers are making their Super Bowl offerings available for video streaming online—for watching again, forwarding to friends, adding to personal web pages, and even downloading to video iPods.

In return for their investment, advertisers hope that viewers will remember their commercials and associate them with their brands. Nothing is more distressing than a viewer who says, "That was a very funny ad for light beer, but I couldn't tell you if it was for Miller or Bud." Despite the entertainment value of Super Bowl commercials (including the picking of winners and losers), these ads must still do their work of reinforcing brand loyalty, encouraging selection of their brands over the competition, or, more rarely, introducing new products or services.

The cost of airing commercials has risen from $42,000 during the first year to $2.4 million in 2006. The reach to homes and viewers has steadily increased during this period, making it a highly ranked and prestigious venue for showcasing ads.

A few spots from previous Super Bowls have achieved something of a cult status as best-liked ads. According to a poll conducted by America Online, the three best Super Bowl commercials ever were Coca-Cola's Mean Joe Greene (1980), Apple Computer's 1984 (1984), and Reebok's Terry Tate (2004). Each of these commercials struck responsive chords with audiences by focusing on themes like sports heroes, distrust of corporate giants, and work environments.

Newspapers, magazines, and above all the Internet reviews the ads after they appear on the Super Bowl. This publicity, if it is positive, is of incalculable value to the sponsors, but not all of it is positive. For example, the 2006 post-Super Bowl assessments included the following:

Let's start with the lowest of the low: Talk about a $5 million vanity project (so bad they had to run it twice). This complete mess was what it took Bob Parsons 14 tries with ABC to get through.

— Barbara Lippert, Adweek

A prehistoric air express delivery—of a stick, via pterodactyl—is stymied by a hungry tyrannosaurus, leading to the first-ever mailroom firing. Adorable and funny. Also, how can you fault a strategy (nobody ever lost his job for choosing FedEx) that's 40 million years old?

— Bob Garfield, Advertising Age

Ah, now here's a show stopper that should have been our lead-in: Burger King puts on a Busby Berkeley musical number. Singing and dancing "Whopperettes" dress as various burger components (my favorite is the mayonnaise dress, followed by the beef-patty tutu). This was the only ad all night that was outsized and garish enough to be Super Bowl-worthy.

— Seth Stevenson, Slate

Atmosphere BBDO developed an extension of Pizza Hut's Super Bowl promotion with Jessica Simpson creating a site that allows consumers to literally play with their food. The Pizza Hut Cheesy Bites site allows visitors to remix their own version of the Jessica Simpson Pizza Hut song, "These Bites Are Made for Poppin.'" With 28 musical tracks and 40 sound effects to choose from, people can watch and share their version of the song played along with the television commercial and see Jessica singing along to their creation.


Our favorite of all the Anheuser-Busch work this year is the hysterically funny, "On The Roof," where Bud Light-loving husbands seek refuge. The comic timing is perfect. Ditto the meticulously realized visuals."

— Lewis Lazare, Chicago Sun-Times

In addition to these professional columnists and commentators, many others offered their opinions of Super Bowl commercials via the Internet. One blogger wrote, "Nicely shot, but what's the point?", incisively cutting through the usual verbiage. Bulletin boards posted rants and raves about the commercials. And more than a few groups specially assembled for the purpose of reviewing Super Bowl commercials were reported on in the press. For example, in Boston members of ad agencies assembled to view the ads together. From their group emerged the not surprising finding that men and women liked different ads more. The women in the group were especially approving of Dove's commercial focusing on women's self-esteem.

Many times when people express opinions about ad preferences, they lack reasons for the preferences. Even when reasons are given, they tend to be more emotional than rational reactions. The Wall Street Journal, in an article quoting viewers' opinions about Super Bowl ads, included the following:

- the ad broke through and was attention-grabbing.

- it was so unpredictable.

- the spot was very moving.

- hilarious, everyone cracked up laughing.

- didn't like it, I was waiting for a spoof.

- tons of impact and very memorable.

- I'm a sucker for monkeys. [spot featuring office run by chimps]

All this hype about Super Bowl commercials brings the phenomenon of the TV commercial to public attention once a year and results in considerable discussion about the aesthetic and business value of this mode of advertising. Unlike the more highbrow domains of culture like literature, art, and even film, the commercial is at home in popular culture. For many, it is unabashed fun and hilarity. Maintaining the suspense about the commercials can be as exciting as the football game itself. The Super Bowl becomes the one moment in American cultural life where advertising is unabashedly welcomed.


Advertising arised in antiquity when the majority of people couldn’t read or write. The period of after the World War II was the period of progress of TV advertisement, intense competition in selling and branding.

Advertising has certainly come a long way since the beginning of the century. While the basic principles remain the same, as society becomes more accepting of certain topics, the advertising will continue evolve. For instance, consider in the '50s when it was taboo for pregnancy to be shown on television. "I Love Lucy" broke this wall down, and it is now commonplace. Things that are "politically incorrect" and aren't seen in advertising during one time period become accepted and visible in another.

The answer to our question, whether or not advertising is a direct effect or affect of advertising, is simple. Both are yes. Advertising uses what it sees as popular in its audience at the particular time the campaign is ran, to call attention to the product. What people see in the advertising of a product that they consider popular, creates a new trend in culture. Advertising both directs and reflects popular culture. Thousands of products are advertised daily in many different ways. Oftentimes people will discuss the manner in which the product was advertised as frequently, if not more so than the product itself. What makes any particular advertisement memorable is the "personality" which it is given, and the consumers ability to relate. While some advertising has proven itself to be more effective than others, once again it all serves the same basic purpose-to inform, and persuade. As long as there is a creative motivation to create new products and to allow the familiar ones to continually impact us, advertising will continue to drive and be driven by popular culture.

So you see that the role of advertising in American pop culture is very high: we can see hidden ads in films, on the pictures, even in music. Advertising affects on pop culture: ads can put such market conditions that a new direction in pop culture can appear.


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The Art and Science of the Advertising Slogan

by Timothy R. V. Foster

1. A slogan should be memorable

Memorability has to do with the ability the line has to be recalled unaided. A lot of this is based on the brand heritage and how much the line has been used over the years. But if it is a new line, what makes it memorable? I suggest it is the story told in the advertisement - the big idea.

The more the line resonates with the big idea, the more memorable it will be. 'My goodness, my Guinness!', as well as being a slick line, was made memorable by the illustrations of the Guinness drinker seeing his pint under some sort of threat (perched on the nose of a performing seal, for example). It invoked a wry smile and a tinge of sympathy on the part of the audience at the potential loss if the Guinness was dropped.

If it is successful, ideally the line should pass readily into common parlance as would a catchphrase, such as 'Beanz meanz Heinz' or 'Where's the beef?'

In addition to a provocative and relevant illustration or story, alliteration, coined words, puns and rhymes are good ways of making a line memorable, as is a jingle.

2. A slogan should recall the brand name

Ideally the brand name should be included in the line. 'My goodness, my Guinness!' thus works, as does 'Aah, Bisto!'. On the other hand, 'Once driven, forever smitten' does not easily invoke the word Vauxhall, nor does 'All it leaves behind is other non-bios' scream out Fairy Ultra. This, by the way, is possibly the worst endline in the history of advertising! It certainly gets my vote. It's a brand manager at P&G speaking to a brand manager at the competition and it means it doesn't leave a nasty residue in the wash -- the laundry equivalent of 'no bathtub ring'. No 'housewife' could possibly understand it.

What's the point of running an advertisement in which the brand name is not clear? Yet millions of pounds are wasted in this way. If the brand name isn't in the strapline, it had better be firmly suggested. Nike dares to run commercials that sign off only with their visual logo -- the 'swoosh' -- like a tick mark or check mark, as the Americans say. The word Nike is unspoken and does not appear. This use of semiotics is immensely powerful when it works, because it forces the viewer to say the brand name.

Rhymes - with brand name

One of the best techniques for bringing in the brand name is to make the strapline rhyme with it. Here are some lines we've selected from the database. See how well it works if the brand name is the rhyming word.

3. A slogan should include a key benefit

'Engineered like no other car in the world' does this beautifully for Mercedes Benz. 'Britain's second largest international scheduled airline' is a 'so what?' statement for the late Air Europe. You might well say "I want a car that is engineered like no other car in the world." But it is unlikely you would say "I want two tickets to Paris on Britain's second largest international scheduled airline!"

In America they say 'sell the sizzle, not the steak.' In Britain they say 'sell the sizzle, not the sausage.' Either way, it means sell the benefits not the features.

Since the tagline is the leave-behind, the takeaway, surely the opportunity to implant a key benefit should not be missed? Here are some...

4. A slogan should differentiate the brand

'Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach' does this brilliantly. When the line needed refreshing, it was extended in later executions to show seemingly impossible situations, such as a deserted motorway in the rush hour, with the line 'Only Heineken can do this', and lately showing unlikely but admirable situations, such as a group of sanitation engineers trying to keep the noise down to the comment: 'How refreshing! How Heineken!'

The distinction here is that the line should depict a characteristic about the brand that sets it apart from its competitors. In the above examples, we see Swan Light, an Australian low-alcohol beer. 'Won't make a pom tiddly' is brilliant. It plays on the expression 'tiddly pom', the sort of noise a stiff-upper-lip Brit would say in the colonies when reviewing the troops as they march past, and, of course, a Brit to an Oz is a pom. And what could be worse than a tiddly (tipsy) pom? This line gets my vote as one of the all-time greats. And it runs on double-decker bus 'super sides'.

5. A slogan should impart positive feelings for the brand

Some lines are more positive than others. 'Once driven, forever smitten', for example, or 'Aah, Bisto!'. Contrast this with Triumph's line for its TR7 sports car in 1976: 'It doesn't look like you can afford it', or America's Newport cigarettes: 'After all, if smoking isn't a pleasure, why bother?' "Because I'm hooked, you bastard!" might well be the answer from those who are addicted to the weed, a sentiment the cigarette company may not appreciate as part of its message.

Publishers will tell you that negative book titles don't sell. It is my belief that negative advertising is hard to justify.

Notice how boring all the negative electioneering is in general elections. The voters just want to turn off.

6. A slogan should reflect the brand's personality

How can a brand have a personality? Our dictionary says personality means 'habitual patterns and qualities of behaviour of any individual as expressed by physical and mental activities and attitudes; distinctive individual qualities of a person considered collectively.'

So think of the brand as a person. Then consider whether the line works for that person.

7. A slogan should be strategic

Some companies can effectively convey their business strategy in their lines.

8. A slogan should be campaignable

This means that the line should work across a series of advertising executions. It should have some shelf-life. Then you could have a dozen different ads or commercials, each with its own unique story, with a single common tagline that supports them all.

9. A slogan should not be usable by a competitor

In other words, you should not be able to substitute a competitive brand name and use the line. For example, 'My goodness, my Murphy's!' just would not work, but 'A company called TRW' could be a company called anything. Let's look at these characteristics in more detail, illustrating the points with more examples.

So many slogans have absolutely no competitive differentiation. You could add any brand name to the line and it would make sense. And this often is proven by how many users of a line there are.

10. A slogan should be original

In advertising, originality is king. A new way of sending a message can set a brand apart from copycats and also-rans.

11. A slogan should be simple

Remember, the endline is what you want the punter to 'get'. So KISS (keep it simple, stupid!).

12. A slogan should be neat

We're using the word neat in the teenage sense. A neat line helps portray the product progressively in the punter's perception.

13. A slogan should be believable

Poetic licence is allowed. Even exaggeration.

14. Does the line help when you're ordering the

product or service, or at least aspiring to it?

15. A slogan should not be in current use by others

The more different users of a slogan, the less effective it is. offers its LineCheck service so you can make sure your line isn't in use by others.

16. A slogan should not be bland, generic or hackneyed

Slogans that are bland, redolent of Mom and apple-pie, clearly suffer a weakness.

17. A slogan should not prompt a sarcastic or negative response.

18. A slogan should not be pretentious

This is the pomposity test.

Try reading the line with the utmost gravity, like an American narrator in a 50's corporate film, giving it the true spin of importance.

19. A slogan should not be negative

Publishers will tell you that negative book titles don't sell. It is my belief that negative advertising is hard to justify.

Notice how boring all the negative electioneering is in general elections. The voters just want to turn off.

20. A slogan should not reek of corporate waffle, hence sounding unreal.

21. A slogan should not be a "So what?" or "Ho-hum" statement

22. A slogan should not make you say "Oh yeah??"

23. A slogan should not be meaningless

These are... What on earth are they trying to say?

24. A slogan should not be complicated or clumsy

25. You should like it

26. It could be trendy - All in a word

There area two trends in slogans these days. One is the single-word line, such as exemplified here:

Budweiser: True

Hankook Tyres: Driven

IBM: Think

Irn-Bru: Different

Rover: Relax

United Airlines: Rising

It could be trendy - All in three words (or three terse ideas)

It is hard to deliver a complex message in a single word, so that brings us to the other trend - the triple threat...

Air France: New. Fast. Efficient.

British Gas: Energy. Efficiency. Advice.

ICI: World problems. World solutions. World class.

Jaguar: Grace... Space... Pace...

Marks & Spencer: Quality. Value. Service.

And of course...

Check. Create. Inspire.

It could be trendy - The twenty most frequently used words in slogans

We thought it would be interesting to see which words were the most prevalent in slogans, so we delved through the database.

Omitting such words as 'the' and 'and', etc, here's what we found. The percentages represent the number of lines using that word out of the total number of lines.

1. you 11.15%

2. your 7.94%

3. we 6.03%

4. world 4.18%

5. best 2.67%

6. more 2.54%

7. good 2.43%

8. better 2.12%

9. new 1.90%

10. taste 1.85%

11. people 1.54%

12. our 1.49%

13. first 1.42%

14. like 1.41%

15. don't 1.36%

16. most 1.19%

17. only 1.16%

18. quality 1.15%

19. great 1.13%

20. choice 1.08%

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[3] "Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2006–2010, a report issued by global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers". Retrieved 2009-04-20.

[4] Bhatia (2000). Advertising in Rural India: Language, Marketing Communication, and Consumerism, 62+68

[5] Eskilson, Stephen J. (2007). Graphic Design: A New History. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-300-12011-0.

[6] Advertising Slogans, Woodbury Soap Company, "The skin you love to touch", J. Walter Thompson Co., 1911

[7] McChesney, Robert, Educators and the Battle for Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928-35, Rich Media, Poor Democracy, ISBN 0-252-02448-6 (1999)

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[11] Keith Mcarthur. "Business". Retrieved 2009-04-20.


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"Welcome to E-Commerce Times". Retrieved 2009-04-20.


[15] McChesney, Robert W. “The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas”. Monthly Review Press, New York, (May 1, 2008), p.265, ISBN 978-1583671610

[16] Lecture held at Philosophicum Lech (Austria) 2002, published in Konrad Paul Liessmann (Hrg.), Die Kanäle der Macht. Herrschaft und Freiheit im Medienzeitalter, Philosophicum Lech Vol. 6, Vienna: Zsolnay, 2003, p. 36-60; preprint in Merkur No. 645, January 2003, S. 1-15

[17] McChesney, Robert W. “The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas”. Monthly Review Press, New York, (May 1, 2008), p. 270, 272, ISBN 978-158367161-0

[18] "Psychology — Commercial Alert". 1999-10-31. Retrieved 2009-04-20.

[19] Siegert, Gabriele, Brecheis Dieter in: Werbung in der Medien- und Informationsgesellschaft, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2005, ISBN 3531138936

[20] McChesney, Robert W. “The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas”. Monthly Review Press, New York, (May 1, 2008), p. 256, ISBN 978-158367161-0

[21] McChesney, Robert W. “The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas”. Monthly Review Press, New York, (May 1, 2008), p. 43, ISBN 978-158367161-0

[22] Lecture held at Philosophicum Lech (Austria) 2002, published in Konrad Paul Liessmann (Hrg.), Die Kanäle der Macht. Herrschaft und Freiheit im Medienzeitalter, Philosophicum Lech Vol. 6, Vienna: Zsolnay, 2003, p. 36-60; preprint in Merkur No. 645, January 2003, S. 1-15

[23] McChesney, Robert W. “The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas”. Monthly Review Press, New York, (May 1, 2008), p. 271, ISBN 978-158367161-0

[24] Jhally, Sut. Advertising at the edge of the apocalypse:

[25] McChesney, Robert W. “The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas”. Monthly Review Press, New York, (May 1, 2008), pp. 235, 237, ISBN 978-158367161-0

[26] Rorty, James: “Our Master's Voice: Advertising” Ayer Co Pub, 1976, ISBN 0405080441, ISBN 9780405080449

[27] Rorty, James: (1934) “Our Master’s Voice – Advertising”, Mcmaster Press (June 30, 2008), ISBN 1409769739, ISBN 978-1409769736


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^ "truthXchange Articles > Spirit Wars in the Third Millennium". Retrieved 2009-06-21.

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^ "Calvin College: Calvin News". 2001-03-15. Retrieved 2009-06-21.

^ "7 Things From Pop Culture That Apparently Piss Jesus Off". Retrieved 2009-06-21.

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[30] "one look at the sheer mass and volume of what we euphemistically call our popular culture suffices", from Winthrop Sargeant, 'In Defense of the High-Brow', an article from LIFE magazine, 11 April 1949, p. 102.

[31] Gloria Steinem, 'Outs of pop culture', LIFE magazine, 20 August 1965, p. 73

[32] Shuker, Roy (1994). Understanding Popular Music, p.4. ISBN 0-415-10723-7.

[33] Gloria Steinem, 'Outs of pop culture', LIFE magazine, 20 August 1965, p. 73

[34] Van den Haag, in Rosenberg and White, Mass Culture, p. 529.

[35] On the Ambiguity of the Three Wise Monkeys A. W. Smith Folklore, Vol. 104, No. 1/2 (1993), pp. 144-150

[36] McRobbie, Angela (1994). Postmodernism and Popular Culture. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-07712-5. Cultural anthropologist and feminist discourse on cultural studies.



[39] René Welek, "What is Literature?" in What is Literature?, Paul Harnadi, ed., 16-23 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 20; quoted in Jim Meyer, "What is Literature?: a definition based on prototypes," in Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session 41(1997), 2, from on April 8, 2006.

[40] George McFadden, "'Literature': a many-sided process," in What is Literature?, Paul Harnadi, ed., 49-61 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), 56; quoted in Jim Meyer, "What is Literature?: a definition based on prototypes," in Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session 41(1997), 2, from on April 8, 2006.

[41] Jim Meyer, "What is Literature?: a definition based on prototypes," in Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session 41(1997), 3-4, from on April 8, 2006.

[42] Elizabeth Eisenstein, The printing press as an agent of change: communications and cultural transformations in early modern Europe (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 228-29; quoted in Jennifer Wicke, Advertising Fictions: literature, advertisement, and social reading (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 5.

[43] Henry James, The American Scene; quoted in Wicke, 113.

[44] Garry Leonard, "Joyce and Advertising: Advertising and Commodity Culture in Joyce's Fiction," James Joyce Quarterly 33.4/34.1 (1993): 573-92.

[45] William Deresiewicz, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 38, no. 4 (Autumn 1998): 723-740; taken from note 23, page 740.

[46] Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik, High & Low: Modern Art, Popular Culture (New York: Museum of Modern Art: Distributed by H.N. Abrams, 1990), 236.

[47] National Retail Federation, "Fewer Young Adults Watching Super Bowl for Commercials, According to RAMA," news release, January 26, 2006, from on April 8, 2006.