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Advertising has become a central component of our contemporary cultural environment that finances all of the communication industries. However, the effects of advertising may lie far outside only the funding of media systems. This course explores the increasingly strained relationship between advertising, consumerism, identity, the environment and citizenship. We'll take a critical approach to the most ubiquitous form of media messaging that exists: the advertisement.
Advertising is a central component of our cultural environment. Technically speaking, it is a promotional activity used to persuasively communicate with targeted audiences. It differs from other promotional activity in that organisations pay for the media space or time used for their advertisements. As such, advertising finances the media industry across print, digital, and broadcast. Global advertising spend is predicted to top $653 billion in 2022. We are exposed to about 500 ads every day, according to some estimates. What does this kind of exposure mean for us; for society? How does advertising represent ‘us’ and consequently, how does this representation make us feel about ourselves? What are the broader ideological implications of conceptualising ourselves as consumers rather than citizens?In this course, we examine those questions through a critical lens. We analyse advertisements using semiotic and discourse techniques. We explore debates, concepts and theories surrounding advertising’s effect on culture, consumption and identity. The course provides an overview of the advertising industry, looking at how it has developed over time, its organisation and in which ways it is changing. We focus on the rise of ethical, green branding and its links to anti-consumerism. After the semester break, the course goes into practical mode. Our perspective switches from an external view to an internal one. We explore advertising agencies from the inside to discover how ads are created from market and audience research through to strategy and output.
Demonstrate your understanding of critical perspectives on the advertising as it relates to culture and identityAnalyse the meanings embedded in visual and textual elements in advertisementsDeconstruct the system of advertising and explain how it has changed over timeApply knowledge of advertising processes, techniques and strategiesPerform a fundamental copywriting task for advertising
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Any 15 points at 100 level from COMS, orany 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
All readings are available on the Learn page for this course. You should have completed the readings before coming to class and be prepared to discuss what you’ve read.There is no other official textbook for this course.
Domestic fee $785.00
International fee $3,500.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences