Social Issues of Advertising
Advertising is something which we are exposed to from a young age and which can affect us in many different ways. Centered around the question “Does advertising improve society?” this volume explores the impact and issues of advertising and questions its social responsibility, with a focus on Hong Kong society. The collection of essays offers a broad view of the interaction between society and advertising, from an introduction to semiotic studies, exploring the use of gender stereotypes to the employment of brand placement as a new form of product promotion.
Written by professors of advertising with experience from both within the industry and from international research, this is a senior level textbook designed to augment any studies in advertising, marketing, public relations or media studies.
This book is a textbook designed for a senior level course about advertising and society. The basic question that we ask is: does advertising improve society? This question is especially relevant for students who intend to pursue careers in advertising, marketing or public relations. We want our students to be aware of the social impact of advertising. The knowledge and the attitudes they gain through a deep understanding of the social responsibility of advertising will prepare them to be ethical communicators.
The chapters in this book cover the major social issues of advertising, from the perspectives of advertisers and marketers, as well as consumers and special groups such as children and youth. The first two chapters provide a framework of the advertising production system. Chapter 1 introduces various indicators that measure the performance of advertising messages through production, distribution and reception. Chapter 2 discusses market trends as well as the economic and social environment in which advertising operates. Chapter 3 explains advertising creativity from the perspective of practitioners. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on branded content and controversial advertising. In order to communicate effectively with consumers, advertising can touch on controversial issues or images; consumers’ responses to these forms of advertising are elaborated upon. Chapter 6 discusses the regulation of advertising in Hong Kong and the ethical issues involved. This chapter is useful for practitioners to learn how to stay within legal and ethical boundaries when creating advertising messages.
In exploring society’s reaction to advertisements it becomes apparent that they carry symbolic meaning. Chapter 7 elaborates on the use of semiotic analysis in exposing the deeper meanings embedded in advertisements. Three personal loan advertisements were selected to illustrate the process. Chapters 8 and 9 deal with the criticism that advertising enhances gender stereotypes. Chapter 8 reports a content analysis of the portrayal of women in magazine advertising, while Chapter 9 examines a qualitative study of how young people respond to the characterization of women in advertisements. Through these two chapters, readers will learn how advertisements may enhance certain stereotypes. Content analysis methodology can be used to analyze other stereotypes regarding minority groups. Chapter 10 focuses on children’s understanding of advertising and in particular public services advertisements. Recent empirical evidence of children and advertising are presented. Many social marketing campaigns attempt to influence the attitudes and behavior of children and youth; in this chapter, readers will learn about persuasive skills used to target younger generations.
1. An Overview of the Indicators of Advertising Performance
2. The Hong Kong Advertising Scene
3. Meanings of Creativity among Advertising Practitioners
4. Branded Contents: Public Attitudes and Regulation
5. Controversial and Offensive Advertising
6. Advertising Regulations in Hong Kong
7. Personal Loan Advertisements in Hong Kong: A Semiotic Study
8. Gender Portrayal in Advertising
9. Responses to Gendered Advertisements
10. Children and Advertising
11. Advertising Medical Services
12. Advancing Social Causes through Video Games
13. Political Advertising and Public Service Advertisements