- Editorial Introduction
"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."1 This quote by social work professor Brené Brown is apt for this issue's discussion of various changes that advertising practitioners and scholars are facing and making in today's culturally and politically divisive climate. Whether one is an advertiser, a professor, a student, a consumer, or a citizen, it takes risk and courage to change longstanding views about women, men, people of color, and the role of advertising in society.
Katherine Parkin's (Monmouth University) original article carefully tracks how automobile advertisers have treated women over time. Through her close reading of a variety of automobile ads over the last 100 years, Parkin encourages readers to imagine ways to appeal to women without falling into stereotypical tropes of a dainty, feminine woman achieving an unattainable Cinderella-like dream through the purchase of a product.
Nancy Brinson (University of Alabama), Melissa Adams (Appalachian State University), and Gary Wilcox (University of Texas at Austin) assess the gap between advertising academics and practitioners through a careful examination of the conferences each community typically attends (the American Academy of Advertising Conference and the American Association of Advertising Agencies Conference, respectively). The authors found a significant gap in how knowledge is shared, the content and form of information shared, and how each community sees one another. Similar to the mission of Advertising & Society Quarterly and its publisher, the ANA Educational Foundation, Brinson, Adams, and Wilcox call for and offer ways to build more bridges between professors and practitioners.
In an interview with Jackson Katz, an independent scholar and activist, and part one of the Roundtable on Masculinities and Advertising, readers are encouraged to question how men and boys have typically seen themselves and their place in the world through advertising and other media. Rather than examining masculinity in the singular form, one is encouraged to consider that there exists a plurality of masculinities. In his interview, Katz tells his story of becoming a preeminent expert on advertising and media's roles in defining a particular dominant notion of masculinity, which is based on strength, power, emotional detachment, and success at all costs. For Katz, such pressures to conform to a narrow definition of masculinity have led to men's violence toward women, each other, and themselves. Katz and roundtable participants examine how advertising has propped up this dominant notion of masculinity and has recently tried to move past it, as seen in Gillette's recent "The Best Men Can Be" campaign.
In this issue's "Author Meets Critics" discussion, Fred Beard (University of Oklahoma) and fellow critics explore the competitive nature of advertising detailed in Comparative Advertising: History, Theory, and Practice (Lexington Books, 2018). Beard explains how comparative advertising, the practice of referring to a competitor in an ad explicitly or implicitly, has been central to the advertising business and experience of advertising from a consumer's standpoint for over a century, if not longer. Like Brinson, Adams, and Wilcox, Beard calls for advertising scholars and practitioners to work together more to share insights on best practices, as well as ways to overcome missteps in using a prominent tactic such as comparative advertising.
Kevin Thomas (Marquette University) and Naya Jones (Medical College of Wisconsin) present a framework for teaching about race and racism in advertising that encourages students to be vulnerable to grow and build empathy toward oneself and others. Critical reflexivity is central to Thomas and Jones' teaching of a course about advertising and food justice. This approach encourages instructors and students to acknowledge a shared inheritance of racism, tell different personal stories and experiences about race and racism, listen deeply and with respect, and emulate the generative experience of "kitchen table talk."2 Thomas and Jones offer a pedagogical framework to build a brave space of learning that encourages everyone to face and imagine the change needed to address society's inequities, which advertising has reinforced throughout much of its history.
This issue includes the journal's first "Conference Spotlight," which will be an occasional feature that highlights an important conference or meeting related to advertising's place in society, culture, history, and the economy. This first Conference Spotlight presents...