Vehicle Strand
Advertising and Branding
Advertising and Branding
 Branston & Stafford:
history of advertising and marketing,
movie tie-ins, influence and objections,
 advertising and branding: key part of
today’s mediated environment
 Key term: brand
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011)
What is a Brand?
 A mark made by a red hot iron
 Used on cattle (ownership)
 Used on convicted criminals
Holocaust tattoos to categorise
 In some languages: fire (e.g.
Swedish, German)
Exercise: Branded
 Make a list of all the items you
have with you right now.
 Note those which are branded:
name, logo, mark, etc
 Do you have more branded or
more unbranded items?
 Traditional view:
 advertising =
persuade people to buy goods
 successful advertising = more sales
e.g. washing powder, car, shampoo
Naomi Klein, No Logo
 Klein: this is no longer the case
 Canadian journalist
 No Logo (2000)
 Advertising is not about goods at all
 Specific products are largely irrelevant
 You don’t buy products, but brands
 What does Klein mean by this?
History of Branding
 Mass marketing campaigns:
began second half 19th century
 Advertised new products:
radios, phonographs, cars, light bulbs
 Advertisements =
information and persuasion
History of Branding
 Traditional staples scooped from bins:
soap, flour, oats, etc
 Uniform, factory-produced staples
needed distinguishing
 Proper names used:
Quaker Oats, Campbell’s Soup, Coca
Cola, Heinz pickles, Uncle Ben’s rice,
 Beginnings of corporate ‘personalities’
Twentieth Century
 Early 20th century: growing awareness
of the importance of brand image
 1920s: Bruce Barton (General Motors):
role of advertising =
for corporations to ‘find their souls’
 1940s: talk of ‘corporate consciousness’,
‘brand essence’, ‘brand identities’
 1960s: increased commercialisation and
consumerism; affordability; life style
1988: Philip Morris (tobacco) purchase
Kraft (food) for $12.6 billion
 Six times the company’s actual worth
 Brand name Kraft was the most
important part of company
 A new recognition of the importance of
brand names
Exercise: Shampoo Planet
 Consider the 7 brands of shampoo
What qualities and connotations do
you associate with each?
What is the ‘soul’ or ‘personality’ of
each of these brands? How do you
Exercise: Shampoo Planet
 TRESemmè
 Head & Shoulders
 Pantene Pro-V
 Palmolive
 L’Oreal
 Asda
 Johnson’s
 We have an impression of the
product without having tried it
 Advertising informs brand
 Throughout growth of the brand
advertising has increased hugely
E.g.: Madmen
New Locations
Advertisers desperate to get ads into
new places:
 Gordon’s Gin + juniper berries
 Calvin Klein perfume strips
 Scandinavian phone calls
 NASA’s space stations
 Pepsi and the moon
Diminishing Returns
 The more you advertise, the less
people take notice
 Adverts become environmental
 David Lubars (ad exec):
“Consumers are like roaches – you
spray them and spray them and they
get immune after a while.”
Advertising Brands
 Klein: advertising isn’t simply about
selling products
 Brand = core meaning (message) of
the corporation
 Adverts = a means (vehicle) for
conveying that message
New Corporations
 Successful corporations of 1980s:
Nike, Microsoft, Tommy Hilfiger, Intel
 Producing goods = unimportant
 Passed to oversees contractors
 Cheaper: lower wages, laxer safety and
welfare laws
Tommy Hilfiger
 Corporations buy goods and brand them
 Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t produce
 Commission underwear from Jockey,
jeans from Pepe, etc.
 Then add their brand name (or get
someone to do that too)
 Nike CEO Phil Knight:
“For years we thought of ourselves as a productionoriented company, meaning we put all our
emphasis on designing and manufacturing the
product. But now we understand that the most
important thing we do is market the product. We’ve
come around to saying that Nike is a marketingoriented company, and the product is our most
important marketing tool.”
 product = a marketing tool
 a complete reversal
Producing Images
 Objective: employ and produce as little
as possible
 Big corporations don’t make products
 They produce images,
representations and ideologies
Buying into a Brand
 You don’t buy a branded product
 You buy into a way of life, an attitude,
a set of values, look, idea, an ideology
Nike don’t sell sports products but
“enhance people’s lives through sports
and fitness”
 IBM don’t sell computers but rather
“business solutions”
 Microsoft don’t sell software but ask
“where do you want to go today?”
 Diesel doesn’t sell clothes but rather
“a style of life”
Apple don’t sell smart phones but rather
they “iphone your life”
Summary: Age of the Brand
 Products are relatively unimportant
 Advertising is not of products
 Advertising and products are part of
 Brands = images, ideologies, lifestyles
 Advertising of brands is set to increase?
 Even into dreams and classroom?
Any Questions?
Shock Advertising
 Arena: The Fine Art of Separating
People from their Money (BBC 2000)
Dennis Hopper hosts
 Shock advertising and brands
 Warning: shocking images!
Exercise: Shock Advertising
(1) Which imagery did you find most
shocking? Why?
(2) Does the fact that an advert is
shocking make it good advertising?
(3) Does advertising have a social
(4) Can advertising fulfil a useful social
function as well as promoting a brand?
Environment Strand
Environments and
Environments and
 Key term: anti-environments
 first: environments
 media = extensions + environments
 “All media are extensions of some human faculty –
psychic or physical” (McLuhan and Fiore 1967, p. 26)
 wheel = extension of the foot
 book = extension of the eye
 clothing = extension of the skin
 electric circuitry (computer) = extension of the
central nervous system
 all enhance some human faculty (i.e. extend us)
 “Any technology or extension of man
creates a new environment”
(McLuhan 1969, p. 31)
 extensions lead to a change in our
relationship with our surroundings
 we understand world differently
 we act and behave differently
Example Environments
 Clothing: extends our skin
we experience the physical environment
very differently, e.g. thermals, wet suit
 Alphabet: extends our visual sense
shifts us from acoustic to visual space
 TV: extends sight and hearing
the new global environment, i.e. ‘village’
Invisible Environments
 environments are imperceptible (invisible)
 we don’t notice that people are
wearing clothes:
 “nice jacket” not “clothes today?”
 we don’t notice our acoustic, cool,
global village:
 we notice particular TV shows (content)
not TV itself (medium)
Any questions?
McLuhan’s Fish
 “One thing about which fish know
exactly nothing is water, since they have
no anti-environment which would enable
them to perceive the element they live
in.” (McLuhan and Fiore,1968, p. 175)
 what is an anti-environment?
 we are shaped by our environment
 but the environment is imperceptible
 we don’t notice the far reaching effects
that environments have on us
 how can people be made aware?
 we need new strategies of
“attention and perception”:
 we need to create anti-environments…
Anti-Environment: Definition
 an anti-environment is anything that
draws our attention to the environment
in which we live, which would
otherwise remain invisible, affecting
us without our knowing it
 3 examples (linked to vehicle strand)
 McLuhan starts with art…
1. Art as Anti-Environment
 art can train our perception onto the
 e.g. Pop Art: 1960s (c. McLuhan)
incorporates elements from popular
or mass culture
 Pop Art uses everyday objects
 an example…
Andy Warhol
 started out as a designer and migrated
to advertising
 famous as an artist in early 1960s:
 started painting household products
 ‘Campbell’s Soup Can’, 1964
(same year as Understanding Media:
The Extensions of Man)
Why Soup?
 1964: 80% soup = Campbell’s
 ubiquitous in American shops,
supermarkets and homes
 stacked on shop shelves
 McLuhan: “The world of modern
advertising is a magical environment
constructed to produce effects for the
total economy but not designed to
increase human awareness.”
(1966, p. 111)
Why Soup?
 Pop Art reminds us that ordinarily our
artefacts and images don’t train our
perception or awareness
 soup cans in a gallery:
draw attention to our environment
 we are surrounded by soup cans
i.e. by commercial branding
 good or bad? just there
Anti > Environments
 McLuhan: anti-environments must
constantly be renewed
 we get used to anti-environments,
and they become merely environments
Warhol postcards, key-rings, teapots:
 all now part of the ‘Warhol’ brand
 Warhol-inspired range of soups…
2. Graffiti as Anti-Environment
 McLuhan: artists tend to be considered enemies
or criminals of society
 ‘Banksy’ is a criminal:
 “An Exterior Paint Specialist” (i.e. graffiti artist)
 creates ‘anti-environments’ around London &
 designed to make you pause and notice your
environment …
 More:
Created an anti-environment at the
Museum of Modern Art in New York
 Installed an image of his own…
‘Discount Soup Can’
 Warhol’s soup can become environmental
 What does Banksy’s ‘Discount Soup Can’
show us?
Art has become merely environmental?
 Art galleries ≠ anti-environments; for selfsatisfied elites?
 Limits of what you can do in a gallery?
 Removed soon after
3. Adbusters
 Adbusters = global network of
activists (based in Canada)
 Concerned with “the erosion of
our physical and mental
environments by commercial
 Opposed to physical pollution
by corporations, but also the
pollution of the ‘mental
environment’ by branding
Culture Jamming
 What do they do?
 Engage in ‘culture jamming’:
 Free up the mental environment by
creating anti-environments:
(1) magazine
(2) campaigns
 Magazine…
Adbusters Magazine
 Slick, glossy, well-designed magazine
 Where The Face and ID are
environmental, Adbusters seeks to be
 Articles, probes, and spoof ads…
Campaign: TV Turnoff Week
 Runs most years, end of April
 Goal: “to shake up routines and get
people questioning the role of TV in
their lives”
 “It's about cleaning up the mental
environment. Like our oceans and air,
our shared mindscape is littered with
pollutants -- distorted news,
manipulative ads, violence and
top-down culture.”
TV Turnoff Week
 Buy a ‘TV-B-Gone™’
 Turns off every TV within a few metres
 Not anti-TV per se
 Show own adverts (subverts)
 Want people to think about the TV
environment we don’t even notice
 Passive spectator > active participant
No Future?
 McLuhan: anti-environments
provide “early warning systems”
 If we don’t notice what media do to us,
we will be controlled by them:
 “We become what we behold. We
shape our tools and thereafter our
tools shape us” (McLuhan, 1964)
 cf. The Matrix – controlled by
No Inevitability
 “There is absolutely no inevitability as
long as there is a willingness to
contemplate what is happening.”
(McLuhan and Fiore, 1967, p. 25)
 Creating anti-environments:
contemplate what is happening,
refuse to let our tools take control
Case Study guidelines
Module handbook (on Moodle):
 Section 8.3: Description
 Section 8.4: Assessment criteria
Submission deadline: Monday 8th
December, 1pm (week 12)
Paper submission via a post-box
(outside the refectory, Harcourt Hill
Electronic submission via Turnitin
(Understanding Media Moodle site)
Case Study guidelines
Proportion: 50% of overall grade
 Length: 1500 words
Cover page information (see Section
8.3) -module name/number; student
name/number; essay title; word count.
Before Next Week
 Review this week’s reading
(Ch.11) of Branston & Stafford
 Read David Starkey,
‘Chasing Shadows’
(collect photocopy now)

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