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Your Ad Here

The Cool Sell of Guerrilla Marketing

Michael Serazio

Publication Year: 2013

“It is a truism that, in media, everyone knows they are being sold something all the time. It is exactly because of this that we become blind to the subtle seductions of contemporary commercial culture—and Michael Serazio is here to open our eyes.”
—Mark Deuze, author of Media Life and Media Work
“Michael Serazio has produced an extremely important and engaging book: well researched and highly readable, it provides a detailed and compelling account of the mechanisms of consumer governance at work in the digital age. It deserves a wide readership among scholars and students alike.”
—Liz Moor, Goldsmiths, University of London
Amidst the profound upheavals in technology, economics, and culture that mark the contemporary moment, marketing strategies have multiplied, as brand messages creep ever deeper into our private lives.  In Your Ad Here, an engaging and timely new book, Michael Serazio investigates the rise of “guerrilla marketing” as a way of understanding increasingly covert and interactive flows of commercial persuasion. Digging through a decade of trade press coverage and interviewing dozens of agency CEOs, brand managers, and creative directors, Serazio illuminates a diverse and fascinating set of campaign examples: from the America’s Army video game to Pabst Blue Ribbon’s “hipster hijack,” from buzz agent bloggers and tweeters to The Dark Knight’s “Why So Serious?” social labyrinth.
Blending rigorous analysis with eye-opening reporting and lively prose, Your Ad Here reveals the changing ways that commercial culture is produced today. Serazio goes behind-the-scenes with symbolic creators to appreciate the professional logic informing their work, while giving readers a glimpse into this new breed of “hidden persuaders” optimized for 21st-century media content, social patterns, and digital platforms. Ultimately, this new form of marketing adds up to a subtle, sophisticated orchestration of consumer conduct and heralds a world of advertising that pretends to have nothing to sell.
Michael Serazio is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Fairfield University. An award-winning former journalist, he continues to write about popular culture, advertising, and new media for The Atlantic, among other publications.
In the Postmillennial Pop series

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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1. Buying into the Cool Sell

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pp. 1-29

For much of the 20th century, marketers relied upon the conventional weaponry of the mass media to deliver their commercial payload: newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and billboards structured the information environment and furnished the primary venues for the placement of paid advertising. Within that environment, advertisers jockeyed for attention in...

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2. The Ambient Governance of Advertainment

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pp. 30-59

As audiences have become more technologically and psychologically adept at evading traditional advertiser entreaty, branding has regrouped with ambitious new designs of its own. In the past decade, the explosion of product placement and branded content offers an entry point into how advertising context is being rethought and, moreover, suggests an effort at “casualizing"...

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3. Street Spectacle and Subculture Jamming

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pp. 60-91

As branding has become a ubiquitous social force, it has run up against political reservations and, at times, outright contestations. “Culture jamming” often serves as a banner for the ideology and diverse tactics of those who would protest branding’s incursion into everyday life and popular culture. It is also culture jamming that, some believe, represents the social...

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4. Buzz Agency and the Regime of Dialogue

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pp. 92-121

Amid abundant advertiser anxiety about conventional communication channels, a significant number have begun turning to the oldest medium of all: word of mouth. Since casual conversation with friends and family has long represented a trustworthy space, it tenders fertile and unspoiled territory for marketers who claim to be routinely rebuffed in their effort to break...

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5. Crowd-Sourced Marketing and the Freedom to Labor

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pp. 122-153

Over the past decade, as broadcasting has increasingly given way to the network as the organizing principle of contemporary media ecology, interactivity has simultaneously emerged as a key component of how media work, and advertising more specifically, might be accomplished. Such a transition gives rise to “new kinds of ambiences, goals, and procedures for consumer...

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6. Managing Agency in the Regime of Engagement

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pp. 154-170

In 2002, scholars convened a focus group of high-level advertising practitioners and industry experts to rechristen their business. They noted that, throughout history, with each epoch of technological change, so too did the definition of advertising change and the techniques thought to be ideally applicable.2 Yet the focus group concluded by generating a new definition (“a...


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pp. 171-176


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pp. 177-202


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pp. 203-216


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pp. 217-226

About the Author

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pp. 227-238

E-ISBN-13: 9780814764947
E-ISBN-10: 0814745474
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814745472
Print-ISBN-10: 0814745474

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 838793643
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