Tony Kelso is associate professor of media and the chair of the Mass Communication Department at Iona College. He is coauthor of Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture and coeditor of Mosh the Polls: Youth Voters, Popular Culture, and Democratic Engagement. In his former extensive career, he worked as a professional advertising copywriter/producer.
1Introduction: An Insider’s Critical Approach to Advertising
2Promoting Heaven on Earth: A Brief History of Advertising in the United States
3So Much Energy for So Little Attention: Creating Images for Brands
4Always Keep ’em Happy: How Advertising Shapes the Content of the Media
5The Message Beneath the Message: Advertising and Ideology
6Buying into Identity (Part 1): Representations of Gender and Sexual Orientation in Advertising
7Buying into Identity (Part 2): Representations of Race and Ethnicity in Advertising
8Building Brand Loyalty from the Womb: Advertising to Children
9Sponsoring Exploitation and Environmental Destruction: Advertising and Externalities
10Conclusion: Evaluating Advertising on Your Own Terms
Tony Kelso has produced an extremely impressive book. Written in an accessible language and sophisticated in its analysis, he takes us from the first advertisers, patent medicine salesman, all the way to contemporary digital advertising, showing us the historical and institutional connections that link them. At the same time, he demonstrates how as a cultural form advertising stands at the nexus of identity, ideology and the environmental catastrophe that threatens to engulf us and the planet. Written for a general audience as well as the college classroom, Kelso has performed a difficult maneuver, producing a work that makes us think deeply about the social impact of our everyday lives and decisions. Highly recommended.
Written as only a true insider can, this comprehensive and engaging overview is an important introduction to advertising as profession, as a form of communication, and as a cultural force.