- Roundtable on Advertising and the New Masculinities
This afternoon’s session panel is a part of Advertising Week in New York.1 I’d like to welcome you on behalf of the Advertising Educational Foundation, based here in New York City, whose job it is to build an educational liaison between the advertising community and the colleges and universities of this country.
Today’s panel is entitled, “Advertising and the New Masculinities.” The format will be a roundtable discussion. In a moment I’ll introduce the panelists to you, but perhaps you are wondering who I am. My name is William O’Barr and I am a professor of anthropology at Duke University, where I teach about advertising in its social, cultural, historical, and economic contexts. I am not a professor who teaches about advertising techniques, but rather one who looks at the place of advertising in contemporary society and culture. I am also founding editor of Advertising & Society Review, an online journal whose mission is to provide an academic outlet, a scholarly publication source, for scholars who write about advertising and society. A&SR is published by the Advertising Educational Foundation and distributed by the Johns Hopkins University Press through Project Muse, an online consortium constituting of more than 200 scholarly journals.
For the past 20 years while I’ve taught about advertising and society, it has been my goal to develop opportunities for people who work in advertising to engage in two-way conversations with scholars around the country who think and write about advertising and its place in our society and culture. All too often it has been the case that the scholars have relatively little contact with the advertising community. And it is also true that people in the advertising world, busy as they are, often don’t take the time to read academic articles and books written about advertising by scholars. We found some means at A&SR, such as roundtables to which we invite a panel of scholars and advertising professionals to discuss contemporary issues. We have frequently published the results of such conversations—on topics like political advertising, creativity, how to teach about advertising, and even one on the subject of masculinity recently. Today we like to continue that format by bringing together again a group of scholars and advertising professionals to discuss how masculinity is constructed and represented in contemporary advertising.
Let me introduce the panel to you: Doug Cameron, co-founder of Amalgamated LLC in New York City; Michael Paxton, Senior VP and Senior Account Director at BBDO New York; Peter Geary, Senior Vice President and Senior Account Director at BBDO New York; Sherry Nemmers, Executive Vice President and Global Creative Director of Publicis in New York; Michael Wilke, Executive Director and Founder of The Commercial Closet Association; Michael Kimmel, Professor of Sociology at SUNY Stony Brook and Editor of Masculinities. Professor Kimmel has also published what is perhaps the most important scholarly book on masculinity in America—Manhood in America, A Cultural History. For those of you who are interested in reading about masculinity, this is a great place to begin. And finally, let me introduce Tyson Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Stony Brook who is currently researching and writing about advertising and masculinity. This group of panelists will discuss four television commercials. Our format will be for a person from the ad agency responsible for this commercial to speak to us for five or ten minutes, introducing the commercial and telling us about the background of what went into its production—how the commercial fits into overall strategy for the brand and the issues about how the particular representation of masculinity was decided upon. Then we will view the commercial. Following the screening, one of the panelists will begin the panel’s discussion of the commercial by offering some comments as a scholar or outsider to advertising. Then I will invite other members of the panel and those of you in the audience to join...