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Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society Paperback – Sep 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc; 2nd edition (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742527247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742527249
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.3 x 22.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 286 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,317,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Well-written, down-to-earth, accessible, and rich in useful information. (Contemporary Sociology)

In Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture, Arthur Asa Berger strikes the raw nerve of American advertising. As in his many other cultural commentaries, Berger drives his point home with wit, wisdom, and wide-ranging examples, offering powerful inoculation against the worst excesses of today's climate of greed and commodification. (Carol Wilder)

Succeeds in introducing a way to study advertising in an interesting, lively, and thought-provoking package. An excellent, accessible textbook for students who are interested in advertising, as well as students in communication, business, and sociology. . . . I would feel comfortable using this text in courses with freshmen through seniors. (Jonathan Schroeder)

A well-written, concise introduction to advertising communication. (Discourse & Society)

Arthur Asa Berger is that rare combination of astute, deep, and fun. His insights into the psychology, sociology, economics, and political implications of advertising and pop culture, in a lively, readable form, are a must for any student of popular culture. (Rheingold, Howard)

Arthur Asa Berger's Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture provides a multifaceted study of advertising that demonstrates its importance for the economy, politics, social life, and individual identities. Skillfully employing cultural, communications, and social theory, Berger brilliantly illuminates the multiple functions of advertising in today's consumer culture. (Kellner, Douglas)

It was pure pleasure reading Arthur Asa Berger's esoteric deconstruction of the Macintosh '1984' commercial. I was part of this commercial's development and had no idea we were making semiotic history. Only a person of Berger's intellect and insight could have figured it all out as he has. (Fred Goldberg)

Deceptively simple, and powerfully argued, Berger's little training manual describes the rationale, techniques, and application of cultural criticism of advertising and represents another assault on the limited-effects school that has so dominated--and some would argue stymied--American mass communication theory and study. (Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly)

Berger offers an intriguing analysis of advertising and its place in society. This book is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in learning about advertising. Undergraduate students would find the book an easy-to-use reference, while graduate students might use it best as a starting point for more in-depth research. Scholars, too, may find value in the text for the research questions posed throughout. Overall, the book is an informative, enjoyable read. Highly recommended. (Choice)

Pick up the new paperback edition.... It's a good, informative book about sex and advertising and other cool subjects, including new material on product placement. (Advertising Age)

About the Author

Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9fe89f78) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b34739c) out of 5 stars Good start in advertising April 22 2014
By Mia Karlstad - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In my advertising class i chose to read this book as a part of a project. For me this was a really good choice because I am new in the world of advertising. The book is a very simple read, and is recommended to everyone who are curious, or need a basic book concerning advertising.
The author talks about different parts of advertising such as advertising and sex, political advertising, and also he defines important instruments such as the communication model. In the end he analyses two different ads, one is print and one is TV. The only negative comments I have is that the picture for the print ad is very small, and hard to see. Also, I was not familiar with the TV commercial he presented (Apple's Macintosh from 1984)
My recommendation is if you are not familiar with advertising, this is a very useful book. The author presents good view points, and good examples throughout the book.
HASH(0x9b356e70) out of 5 stars A comprehensive & captivating study on advertising Sept. 10 2013
By J.Ilog - Published on
Format: Paperback
Discusses the different psychologists such as Maslow, Jung, and Freud and how the advertisers use their theories to persuade the masses through print and TV media.

Pages 130-136 mentions the Values and Lifestyles Typologies to focus on people's lifestyles. Maybe these typologies will help you understand yourself as a consumer as it did for me.

Here is a quote from the section The Marketing View: "...exposure to an advertisement or commercial for a particular brand of blue jeans or beer many not lead to a purchasing decision by a given individual, but when we take a broader look at American society, we discover that large numbers of people do purchase that brand of blue jeans or beer."

Even mentions that children influence around $700B/year of adult spending.

This book is still current, as it references Google and Craigslist and there is an appendix at the end of the book geared toward "For those who wish to pursue their investigations of advertising", as he puts it. There is a very helpful glossary that proceeds this appendix to help understand the advertising verbiage.

Very helpful and highly recommended.
HASH(0x9b370828) out of 5 stars Excellent purchase Feb. 22 2010
By Hiram Muniz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent product! Great advice Used at University Of Sacred Heart In Puerto Rico for study in Publicity . Great book highly recommended!
HASH(0x9b3561d4) out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 2 2014
By ricardonani - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b356b4c) out of 5 stars Excellent Sept. 21 2007
By Roberto De Jesus - Published on
Format: Paperback
Excellent book. I bought it for a class that I was taking and it was verry interesting.I recommned this book to everyone thats is in the advertising business