English Media Coursework Advertising

Module Outline

The module engages with the historical development of advertising and opens up a critical understanding of its contemporary place within media economies, culture and society. In the 21st century advertising has been transformed by the rise of branding, the maturing of the internet and the emergence of new media forms like social media. Traditional advertising forms and the funding model for media which advertising has provided are under threat.

It asks questions about advertising in relation to (social) change, considering whether it is quite the conservative force it is sometimes believed to be reproducing 'dominant ideologies', trading in 'stereotypes', blocking or hiding change, and whether it is perhaps scapegoated when blamed for causing undesirable social changes, such as obesity. To think of advertising in another way, we explore how advertising as an institution and commercial tool is tied into the dynamics of capitalist modernity so that it also trades in the 'new': forever trying to capture the 'mood' of the moment or articulate the current 'state of play'. We consider how some scholars argue that advertising can be therapeutic, managing change and resolving the tensions of modern life rather than simply inciting anxieties for which capitalism has the remedy: go shopping.

We also explore the contradictions of advertising, as both commercial tool for capitalism helping to sustain consumer expansion and a cultural communicative artefact, offering pleasures and irritations, provoking memories, constructing multiple identities and like other cultural output contributing to how we feel, think, talk and culturally connect and disconnect from others.

Through lectures and seminars, group work and independent study, the module engages with these questions and issues through the study of historical and contemporary ad examples, scrutinising both commercial ads and those geared to social marketing, e.g. charity ads. It equips you with the tools of analysis to engage with the 'work' of ad campaigns and the broader phenomenon of branding and promotion. But it also provides you with knowledge of the ad industry and the work that ad agencies do. Through engagement with a wide scholarship, you will be introduced to theorisations which give you ways to understand why and how advertising has changed and how it can be thought about in relation to broader developments in society.

A key dimension to the course is to develop your skills of research, analysis and interpretation. Through particular studies you will be introduced to methodological approaches appropriate to this field and you will have opportunity to design and execute a small research project.

Module learning outcomes

Demonstrate a critical understanding of advertising's historical development in the context of economic, political, cultural and social change.

Identify and evaluate key academic debates about the place and status of advertising in contemporary society.

Explain and deploy relevant theoretical frameworks and concepts to understand particular facets of advertising.

Demonstrate knowledge of research methodologies and their limitations when used to explore and analyse a particular aspect of advertising.

Devise, plan and execute a small research-based project on an issue related to advertising and social change.

Demonstrate skills of presentation, synthesis of ideas, analysis and argumentation in oral and written communication.

View timetable

TypeTimingWeighting
Coursework100.00%
Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayA2 Week 1 70.00%
PortfolioT2 Week 6 30.00%
Timing

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.

Weighting

Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterLecture1 hour111111111100
Spring SemesterSeminar2 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Module Outline

This module focuses on advertising, approaching this field of study critically and theoretically. It is concerned with thinking about how in the 21st century we understand advertising as cultural practice and economic tool in the wider context of an intensive 'promotional culture' (Wernick 1991) and the rise of digital media technologies. We particularly consider it in terms of (social) change. What does it 'do'? How does it contribute to media? What does it tell us about societies? How does it contribute (or not) to social change? What do we 'do' with advertising?

We will explore advertising and ads at different moments of history and in different places.
Through lectures, screenings, seminars, workshops, tutorials, independent reading/study and group work on particular tasks, you will be exploring a range of topics and case studies, engaging with different aspects of advertising and getting to grips with understanding it in all its complexity and richness.

Module learning outcomes

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the historical development of advertising and related industries in the context of economic, political, cultural and social changes, and changes in media technologies

Identify and evaluate key academic and business debates about the place and status of promotion and advertising in contemporary society.

Research a small case-study project on an issue related to advertising and change, applying appropriate concepts and contextualizing to the study. (ESS)

Demonstrate skills of presentation, synthesis of ideas, analysis and argumentation in oral and written communication.

TypeTimingWeighting
Coursework100.00%
Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayA2 Week 2 70.00%
PortfolioT2 Week 9 30.00%
Timing

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.

Weighting

Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterLecture1 hour111111111111
Spring SemesterSeminar1 hour111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

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