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ad fieldwork


on 20 April 2010

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Transcript of poiuytr

theory of ADVERTISING? Why study advertising? in South Korea... Anthropology of media Because advertising is ubiquitous in our lives, we tend to assume that we know everything about it.

Because advertising is so common we assume it as a natural part of contemporary life and do not ask questions about it.
What is the cultural logic that makes this extensive engagement with advertising in contemporary South Korea thinkable, practicable and worthwhile?
What do contestations taking place in and around the advertising industry reveal about local and global processes unfolding in Korea?
What does the South Korean case teach us about advertising as a capitalist institution and a part of social reality in capitalist countries? complex system of before-the-fact and after-the-fact review by industry, government and quaisi-government organizations
KOBACO systems of selling advertising airtime, which gives the Korean state control over advertising revenues
scrutiny of advertising from various NGOs (such as YMCA or Yosong minuhoi)
advertising boycotts to influence media (Samsung and the Hankyoreh; Onsoju and ChoJungDong) Challenges with studying advertising There is no clear community (unlike a community of drama fans)
People interact with ads in the midst of everyday life and it is hard to catch and record those moments.
New ads replace old ones at a fast pace and old ones are forgotten. In Korea, advertising regulatory environment has been changing fast In 2008, the Constitutional Court decided that

advertising falls under freedom of speech and that advertising pre-review is unconstitutional

Korea Broadcast Advertising Corporation's public monopoly on broadcast advertising time sales is unconstitutional and the system of airtime sales is to be privatized. participant observation

following advertising campaigns

ritual spaces of the advertising industry Preliminary conclusions and discussion Usual critiques of advertising advertising promotes unnecessary or harmful consumption

advertising stimulates desires

advertising brainwashes people into accepting capitalist ideology
Why cannot I just watch my movie without interruptions from advertising?

Does the advertiser really think that some people are foolish enough to purchase fans of this factory because of this ad? I want to analyze advertising
as an integral part of social reality, to get to its actual effects in everyday life without inferring them from advertising texts. Analyzing advertising content is a worthy project. But this way we can only critique the reality advertising reflects, not advertising itself as a social institution. Heigtened scrutiny
of advertising Heightened appreciation
of advertising two publicly funded advertising museums
extensive media coverage of advertising news
many books published on advertising culture, about looking at Korean culture through advertising, etc.
great number of advertising events, such as festivals, awards, seminars and conferences What does advertising do in our society? their fans must be expensive because they spend all this money on adveratising... no wonder they don't sell!! It is difficult to isolate effects of advertising from effects of other media or marketing tools

Accusations of calculated manipulation of consumer desires fall apart if one looks at how advertising agencies actually work.

Newly introduced products often fail despite aggressive marketing efforts and results of marketing/advertising campaign are not very predictable. Such critiques of advertising
are not empirically supportable because They look at
to make conclusions about what
actual social and cultural EFFECTS of advertising are. There is a LOGICAL LEAP in such critiques RESEARCH QUESTIONS What are the actual social effects of advertising?
What intentions and considerations go into producing, reviewing and critiquing advertising in contemporary South Korea?
What do they reveal about advertising as a part of social reality? Practical questions for the fieldwork: media-related practices as integral parts of complex social reality
continuity between mass media circulation and story-telling traditions
effects of media practices are not to be assumed as causal and direct
they are to be traced in concrete conjunctures and placed against a rich social and cultural context “How can the media be placed within the sort of rich social and cultural context that sustained anthropological fieldwork is uniquely able to provide? What to do with cultural forms that have no obvious and simple community and are only ever a part of people's complex lives? What kind of fieldwork is needed to track media in lives? ... Even more important, what are we to do with cultural forms that are produced deliberately for people under conditions that vary politically and historically?”

(Abu-Lughod, 2002: 265) Research strategies Looking for voluntary interlocutors of advertising

looking for situations where advertising naturally enters social discourse I tried to identify situations where advertising clearly does something—provokes appreciative or critical reactions, stimulates discussions, invites protests. Because it is hard to catch such moments in the everyday life, I focused on institutional sites, where people professionally or voluntarily engage with advertising. Fieldwork directions Participant observation 1. At a major advertsing agency 2. At Korea Communication Starndard commission What considerations go into producing advertising?
How do advertising workers understand their work? What are its challenges and rewards?
How do advertising workers balance artistic and commercial sides of advertising? What are criteria for distinguishing between good and bad advertising?
How and by whom are such decisions made?
How do reviewers balance social effects and commercial purposes of advertising? Following advertising campaigns (inspired by George Marcus' multisited ethnography strategies)
How does an ad become a part of the common-sense reality in a specific cultural context? KT Olleh campaign in summer 2009 ADvertising agency and advertiser
launched the campaign in the media and online
to project image of innovation
by inventing a new word netizens responded:
blog posts, parodies "Olleh" is heard on TV shows, in the streets Yosong minuhoi filed a protest against the ad because of the sexist portrayal of women,
and threatened KT with consumer boycott Fieldwork findings Many advertising workers see their work as an opportunity for creative self-realization.
Artistic creation is subordinated to commercial effectiveness and the tastes of advertiser, who generally wants safe solutions.
The usual way to navigate this tension is by reproducing advertising cliches and stereotypes: sexy girls to advertise liquor, celebrities to attest to the product quality etc.
Junior workers are disciplined into reproducing cliches and stereotypes by their superiors, only established auteurs have some leverage in suggesting uncommon campaigns.
Most problematic advertising is advertising that uses its persuasive power to push the limits of what is socially acceptable.
Many commissioners see advertising as the authority on what is normative in Korea and take the most conservative position, to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society, particularly the youth, are protected.
at the agency at the review commission After advertising is released, advertising campaigns take a life of their own--thanks to viewers' engagement with them.
Viewers are not just consumers of advertising, they are co-producers.
Popular advertising becomes a part of popular culture: advertising does not simply reflect pop culture, advertising influences it. following advertising campaigns ritual spaces of the advertising industry ritual spaces of the advertising industry How do industry events draw the boarders of the social field of advertising in Korea?
Who is entitled to talk about advertising at the advertising industry events?
What are the discourses about advertising that such events reproduce? Where do they place the proper role of advertising in Korean society?
Which perspective is privileged--of advertiser? of advertising worker? of advertising consumer? of a regular citizen? of a government regulator? Lots of intellectual and financial resources are devoted to producing discourses about advertising at various advertising fests, seminars, award ceremonies, etc.
Advertising industry is porous vis-a-vis academia; many advertising researchers are involved in consumer/media activism.
Debates about advertising are only one step away from political debates (e.g. media rep, system of ad review) Because of its ubiquity,
advertising seems obvious and trivial,
but it is this triviality that needs to be
denaturalized, scrutinized and critiqued.

Without detailing the ways in which advertising enters everyday life, there is no way to critique it effectively. What does advertising actually do in South Korean society?
How to explain and theorize the interlockings of all the multiple sites where advertising is produced and consumed?
What are implications for adverising critique?
Questions to consider:
What are the strings attached when advertising, initially a commercial tool, is appropriated as a cultural resource?
Is advertising that has passed multiple reviews safe to enjoy? Advertising, consumption and popular culture Gramsci-inspired preliminary answer:
Advertising is a worldview that reflects the interests of advertisers. Accepting advertising as popular culture advances interests of advertisers and secures their privileged position. Changes in advertising regulation reflect interplay between dominant, residual and emergent structures of feeling, and thus provide an insight into macro processes that unfold in South Korea "structure of feeling"
(Raymond Williams 1977)
is constituted by daily life and experiences, as they produce patterns of thought and emotions
a structure of actual feeling, it is linked to particular collective historical experience and its material effects.
structures of feeling are most readily accessible in the works of art (including popular culture)
Dominant, residual and emergent structures of feeling co-exist; different structures of feeling correspond to different generations and classes
advertising messages and revenues are marketing tool and business expenses, advertiser knows best how to handle them
what is good for business is good for the public, no need for advertising review
review AND regulations only interfere with business

advertising, with its content and revenues, is a public resource
advertising (messages, revenues and airtime) are public resources and must be managed publicly, not privately
advertisers' interests must be subordinated to the interests of the the state
advertisers cannot be trusted to pursue public good voluntarily, hence review and regulations are necessary
Advertising regulation and structures of feeling Developmental State
ADVERTISING AS BUSINESS MATTER consequences of Advertising critiques often advertising critiques target a real social issue, but offer to fix it by regulating advertising.

No questions are asked about the structural causes of the social problem, no real changes are demanded. Why study advertising in South Korea? Advertising's purpose is to encourage consumption, but it enters everyday life NOT as a marketing tool but as a POPULAR CULTURE product. Especially in Korea, there is a great appreciation for "humanistic advertising" vs. developmental state neoliberal ethos Example: non-bank loan advertising Non-bank loan ads are often blamed for driving people into debt.
But is debt truly caused by advertising?
Why is it that recently there have been so many people in South Korea who need loans and cannot get them at a bank? Advertising critiques are misplaced, impotent critiques of actual social issues. thank you! The question to ask is
what advertising actually does. Usual critiques of advertising don't hold Haug and commodity aesthetics: a good way to look at advertising's economic and ideological functions commodity aesthtics and its immediate economic purposes commodity aesthtics and the importance of images+ Haug on illusion, Debord on Spectacle [perhaps Illouz on emotive cap-m...] cannot get very far with rational sales appeals, need to appeal to senses as well Soviet childhood anecdote resistance to the injunction to enjoy consumption advertising since ubiqitous, but this commonsenciality prevents scrutiny~ kinda like Marx talks about commodity form at the beginning of Capital opinions very from that advertising provides useful information about commodities to that it stimulates overconsumption, manipulates desires and propogates consumerism that ads provide information doesn't hold since internet is a more efficient tool for that. manipulation argumetns are based on the assumption between mimetic relation b/w images and behaviour, which does not hold The latter problem hunts the structuralist critiques of advertising.
While they are a valid way to critique social problems adveritisng reflects, they are not providing a convinc critiq of advertising Insightful work on advertising comes from anthropologists who have worked on agencies, but they do not critique advertising and limit their discussion of its social role to negotiating local/global culture Leiss provides a way to talk about advertising and its social role designating it as social communicator, but this position is limited because again no real critique of what advertising communicates and how that reproduces relations of domination [quote Harms on this?] Ads are consumed as pop culture>advertising is popular culture ad as commodity aesthetics ads as an ineffective critique of everyday life ads as a capitalist fantasy, a fantasy that consumption will indeed resolve all the problems ads as a site of decaf resistance ads as a social institution and to be approached anthropologically
but first from its primary function>sales lacks subversive potential! but some of it, the most important part is done by consumers themselves importance of image, spectacle How do we understand advertising in everyday life? in a sense advertising is a F' discourse that seeks to guide behaviour--but lots of it is non-discursive, non-verbal--it's hints, suggestions, etc. It is much more useful to consider discourse about advertising in those terms while i am concerned about politico-economic implications of advertising as well as about the historical processes that led it to be what it is, I largely work on micro-level. Without understanding micro effects of advertising in the everydI'd ay, it is hard to mount well-grounded critique. I'd rather work from bottom up subvertising particular ad messages might be an oppositional reading but it does not disrupt the message of advertising as a medium: injunction CONSUME! ENJOY! ENJOY CONSUMPTION! or is it that even as a popular critique it is incoherent, reflecting the subaltern view? critical distance is necessary for advertising to function thus i am not discussing here how advertising obstructs competition and how it influences mass media
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