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The Convergence Crisis

An Impending Paradigm Shift in Advertising

Joanna L. Jenkins

The Convergence Crisis tells the story of an impending paradigm shift in advertising. Beginning in the early 1840s with the birth of the first advertising agency and momentum spurred by industrial systems, the book provides a historical overview of significant events and socio-cultural economic factors that have occurred to explain how and why a [convergence] crisis has erupted in contemporary American advertising. Significant blurring of once-distinct boundaries and redistribution caused by convergence has led to new methods of communication being used in advertising and among audiences. The book intends to bring awareness, clarity, and understanding to the opportunities presented through convergence via its rich historical narrative and theoretical framework.
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Chapter 2: Dramatic Differences

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DRAMATIC DIFFERENCES

Advertising functioned as a fractured and disconnected community for more than 50 years after its inception. Although significant progress had been achieved, advertising agencies failed to gain the traction needed in order to move forward collectively. As a result, advertising struggled to become a full-fledged profession. Two main factors inhibited collective progression in advertising. The first factor was that there was no established paradigm to unite advertising. Second, power was highly concentrated among close-knit groups.

The absence of an established paradigm in advertising could be attributed to a lack of widespread knowledge. Advertising itself was relatively young. Consequently, there were diverse approaches to advertising and virtually all of them appeared valid. There was no standard upon which to determine the credibility or validity of varied approaches to advertising. Without a unifying paradigm there was an inability to distinguish facts from opinions. In addition, the knowledge and technology relied upon by advertising was in flux. Accordingly, advertising was fragmented and unstable. It had yet to ascend to a level of sophistication that could sustain a universal enterprise.

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