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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 4: Drift & Decline

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DRIFT & DECLINE

Nearing the onset of yet another phase of development, advertising began to drift toward decline in the 1980s. Although this decade birthed several of contemporary advertising’s most celebrated brands and influential achievements, it was also a precursor to crisis. While there were several factors that contributed to decline, significant events involving corporate influence and cultural disconnect were extremely detrimental.

Economic prosperity experienced in the late 1970s led to increased corporate involvement in advertising. Although this formidable alliance produced seemingly advantageous results—from 1975 to 1984 advertising experienced the largest boom it had ever known—it contributed to industry tension (Tungate, 2007). One main area of tension stemmed from corporate comingling, which led to blurred boundaries and growing complexity. Another area of industry tension derived from a heavy emphasis on research.

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