Advertising and Societies: Global Issues

Article excerpt

Advertising and Societies: Global Issues. Katherine Toland Frith and Barbara Mueller. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2003. 320 pp. $29.95 pbk.

In most university libraries, we may easily find several books sharing such a similar title, Advertising and Society. But the one to be reviewed here is different from all the previous ones in two senses: It is not only up to date-the latest available on the market-but also features an entirely new focus and scope. Unlike most of its earlier counterparts, Frith and Mueller's book provides an international perspective on the practice of advertising while examining the ethical and social ramifications of advertising in global societies. Advertising is among the major forces shaping the worldwide drive toward globalization, so a scholarly book devoted to the global issues related to advertising and society is much needed and very timely.

A collaboration of two leading scholars in international advertising, Frith and Mueller's book is authoritative and thorough. It is authoritative because the book is a brainchild of the authors' longtime experiences, observations, and research in the field of international advertising. Prior to this new book, you may have read Professor Frith's Advertising in Asia: Communication, Culture and Consumption (1996) and Undressing the Ad: Reading Culture in Advertising (1998), and Professor Mueller's International Advertising: Communicating Across Cultures (1996), together with many of their scholarly articles on international advertising. This 320-page volume provides any reader interested in international advertising with an accurate, comprehensive, but concise review of the existing literature.

What is more exciting, however, are the extensive latest data and information, including many ad samples and photographs, which the two authors collected from all over the world for this book. In addition to many of the major players in international advertising, such as the United States, Japan, and Western European countries, the book is not short of examples from smaller but robust markets like Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. It also covers some new markets like the Chinese mainland and India, and many usually "under-studied" markets like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. All these fresh and vivid examples, textual and visual alike, have significantly enriched the book.

Frith and Mueller's book is also a thorough review of all major issues related to advertising and society, all from a global perspective. Comprising twelve chapters, the book begins with a discussion of advertising and the history of globalization, together with an examination of the rise of multinational corporations. It ends with the cutting edge of the latest advertising tools and practices, including the Internet, virtual reality, mobile phone, m-commerce (mobile commerce), and virtual marketing. Between the initial and ending chapters, the book covers topics like advertising and culture; advertising's economic, political, and media environments; advertising and regulatory systems; global consumer issues; and the commercialization of societies. …