Undressing the Ad: Reading Culture in Advertising

Undressing the Ad: Reading Culture in Advertising

Undressing the Ad: Reading Culture in Advertising

Undressing the Ad: Reading Culture in Advertising

Synopsis

Undressing the Ad aims to empower readers to become media literate through the work of deconstructing the consumer culture that surrounds them. By introducing critical scholarship on advertising in a way that is accessible, the book attempts to show how issues of race, class, & gender are expressed in contemporary advertising. The readings in this book take a decidedly critical political perspective & explore how representation in advertising upholds certain economic & political structures & subverts others, & exposes the myth that advertisements are merely messages aimed at selling goods & services. Rather they are texts that shape contemporary culture & shape our images of ourselves.

Excerpt

No book could have been released in a more timely fashion than Frith's collection of essays on the power agendas involved in advertising. Given the discussions of the past few years involving the accusation of child pornography ala Calvin Klein to the banishment of Joe Camel from the murals and walls of buildings, we are acutely aware that advertising has increasingly defined our collective consciousness. Many arguments, therefore, revolve around not only the political and economic intentions of advertisers but the ethics and pedagogy attached to each and every advertisement. Pedagogy, in this context, involves the production and transmission of knowledge and values, and the construction of identity. These themes play out consistently in all of the books in our Counterpoints Series.

As Katherine Frith opens this collection, she demands the need to "undress" the ad, to "read" the culture of advertising. This call for a pedagogy of advertising is essential in the postmodern era, especially to children and youth. As Brazilian educator Paulo Freire (1997) called for the "reading" of the world -- analyzing the texts presented within culture -- Frith is calling for a deconstruction and political reading of promotional propaganda involved in the economic dynamics of the late twentieth century.

As a society, we are whirled spun by spin doctors. Our media and advertisers spend vast fortunes working to construct a consumer consciousness. By the age of three, most children throughout the world are able to recognize the . . .

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