- Editor’s Introduction
I am happy to be stepping forward as the new editor of Advertising & Society Review. The former editor, William O’Barr, and I have been working together to effect the transition for the past few months. This issue contains articles we have both worked on and, therefore, reflects the editorial transition itself. The next issue will be my official “inaugural” edition in which I will introduce myself and describe my own vision for Advertising & Society Review.
In the meantime, I am pleased to be able to introduce three original articles here. Pamela Morris explored Manhattan, taking photographs of all the billboards that included a human figure. At the same time, she interviewed a number of advertising professionals about their philosophy of outdoor work—how it works, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and so forth. The photoessay that combines her thinking, her interviews, and the images she saw is presented here. Morris’ focus is on the way that outdoor advertising constructs the gendered environment for viewers. Her work also presents a worthwhile record of what the visual environment is like in turn-of-the-21st century urban American life, along with contemporary professionals’ view of their own work—a key contribution, in and of itself. Tyson Smith also addresses the construction and performance of gender, but situates it in the social environment, rather than the physical setting. This article focuses on the campaign for Jim Beam and the way it uses irony to defuse the contradictions of performing masculinity in a world where feminism has upended traditional expectations. Derya Özkan and Robert Foster’s piece on the Cola Turka campaign expands the venue of “environment” even further. By situating this campaign in the total scheme of planetary economics, Turkish history, and the tensions between the US and many “less developed” nations of the world, Özkan and Foster are able to weave together a fascinating and provocative exegesis in which a few commercials open a window into the complexities of geopolitics.
The supplement to this issue inaugurates an important new initiative—Advertising and Society: An Online Curriculum. The two units included here are the first installment of a total of 20 units that will appear in the next 10 issues of A&SR. They are intended for classroom use by professors and students in a variety of courses that focus on advertising and its relationship to society, culture, history, and the economy.
The first two units are “What is Advertising?” and “A Brief History of Advertising in America.” I invite readers to read them and to consider incorporating them into their curricular materials. Future units will cover a broad range of topics including such themes as gender, children, creativity, history of the TV commercial, global advertising, regulation, and ethics. Either used singly or in combination, these units will be useful in teaching and learning about advertising.
Each unit is richly illustrated with audiovisual materials that support the text as are the articles in A&SR. Please click on the sidebar titled “Curriculum” for a full list of the organizations that support this project financially.
William M. O’Barr, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and former editor of Advertising & Society Review, is author of the online curriculum. He is assisted by Emma G. Hymas, Curriculum Specialist for the project. They invite comments, reactions, and suggestions by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.