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Digital Media

Transformations in Human Communication

Edited By Paul Messaris and Lee Humphreys

The age of digital media has given rise to a new social world. It is a world in which the transmission of information from the few to the many is steadily being supplanted by the multi-directional flow of facts, lies, and ideas. It is a world in which hundreds of millions of people are voluntarily depositing large amounts of personal details in publicly accessible databases. It is a world in which interpersonal relationships are increasingly being conducted in the virtual sphere. Above all, this is a world that seems to be veering off in unpredictable ways from the trends of the immediate past. This book is a probing examination of that world, and of the changes that it has ushered into our lives.

In more than thirty essays by a wide range of scholars, this must-have second edition examines the impact of digital media in six areas – information, persuasion, community, gender and sexuality, surveillance and privacy, and cross-cultural communication – and offers an invaluable guide for students and scholars alike. With one exception, all essays are completely new or revised for this volume.

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Chapter 7: The Impact of Digital Media on Advertising: Five Cultural Dilemmas (Matthew P. McAllister / Stephanie Orme)


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The Impact of Digital Media on Advertising

Five Cultural Dilemmas

Matthew P. McAllister and Stephanie Orme

Advertising agencies are at the heart of the advertising industry, employing nearly 200,000 people in the United States (Johnson, 2015) and coordinating key marketing activities: creative work, media planning and buying, research, and integrated marketing. But are all agencies the same? In fact, the list of top US agencies in 2014 (Advertising Age, 2015b) shows a split between two kinds of agencies. On the one hand are agencies born in the analog media era. These are agencies that Don Draper from Mad Men could work for: traditional agencies centered in big urban centers (New York City, Chicago) and that were typically named after the men (never women) who founded them or were key influences: Leo Burnett, BBDO (standing for Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn), McCann Erickson, and J. Walter Thompson. On the other hand, and increasingly more prominent, are agencies created in the digital era, located in places like Little Rock, Arkansas and Irving, Texas and named with words that are not proper names and are so futuristic that they sound like Star Wars planets: Epsilon, Acxiom, SapientNitro, Accenture, Experian. These companies (and, often, these words) did not exist in the Don Draper-era 1960s. They are agencies that specialize in digital advertising. The hacker Elliot Alderson from Mr. Robot—or rather an ad-friendly version of him—would be more likely...

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