Advertising has been central to the commercial success of many prominent brands (Holt, 2004: Holt and Cameron, 2010), but it has also been posited as a significant factor in the establishment and evolution of Western consumer culture (Fox, 1984: Leach, 1993: Lears, 1994: Marchand, 1995: 1998; Powell (Ed) 2013). Advertising is important, not only for organisations, but for individuals and society, and it is rightly the subject of considerable interest from researchers from many disciplines. Many studies, like those cited above, consider advertising in its cultural context, and look at the full of scope of the practices of advertising production, and consumption. But, many other studies do not. Rather, they purport to be about advertising, but they focus, in fact, on the industry output, the published or broadcast advertisements. That is, they are about advertisements, rather than about advertising. These studies often use advertisements as evidence from which to make broader points about social relations. However, they often neglect both the social processes that led to the creation of the advertisement, and the cultural context of audience engagement. In other words, the analysis they offer is not really about the cultural, economic and managerial phenomenon of advertising, but is in fact about the particular advertisements they analyse.
This chapter will suggest that research into advertising, that is, studies that embrace the full context of advertising production and consumption, are best placed to connect advertising practice with wider issues of critical marketing. The chapter will outline key trajectories of research in both areas, and it will attempt to draw out points of connection and divergence between advertising and critical marketing. The discussion will then consider how all these issues are being re-framed as contemporary advertising re-invents itself in an era of convergence (Jenkins, 2008) characterised by consumer access to all media channels via one, internet-enabled screen (Grainge and Thompson, 2015).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Critical Marketing
EditorsMark Tadajewski, M Higgins, Janice Denegri-Knott, R Varman
Place of PublicationOxon
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781315630526
ISBN (Print)9781138641402
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Companions in Business, Management and Accounting


  • advertising
  • critical marketing

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