Advertising: Commerce and Creativity

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
29 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA NP5312 Advertising, Marketing and the Media,
MA NP53MO Advertising, Marketing and the Media

Module description

The module forms a core component of the MA Advertising, Marketing and the Media.

It draws on the expanding body of sociological, historical and cultural scholarship on advertising and consumer society. In doing so, the module explores the organisational and institutional structures of the advertising industry since the late nineteenth century, focusing on the growth of the service advertising agency in Britain and North America.

The module charts the internationalisation of advertising through the twentieth century and the rise of global advertising and brand promotion in more recent times. It also reflects on the economic role of advertising in supporting other media and the forms of professional knowledge, expertise and workplace cultures of the industry. Alongside these empirical concerns, the module also seeks to reflect theoretically on advertising as a market device and creative practice.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To develop an historical understanding of advertising as a commercial practice
2. To explore the institutional and organisational structures of the industry
3. To explore the international and global dynamics of advertising
4. To develop an understanding of the emergence of particular cultures of selling and promotion and the expert knowledge associated with them
5. To develop an advanced understanding of advertising as a commercial and creative practice

Module learning outcomes

Cutting across the historical and empirical focus of the module there will be a reflection on how advertising as an industry and practice might be theorized and a reflection on the links between advertising and the wider creative industries.

Module information

Please note that assessment information is currently showing for 2019-20 and will be updated in September.

Learning and teaching methods

No information available.


  • Sinclair, John. (2012) Advertising, the media and globalisation: a world in motion, London: Routledge.
  • Nixon, Sean. (2013) Hard sell: advertising, affluence and transatlantic relations, c. 1951-69, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Arvidsson, A. (2005) 'Brands: A critical perspective', in Journal of Consumer Culture. vol. 5 (2) , pp.235-258
  • Elizabeth Rose McFall. (2004) Advertising: a cultural economy, London: SAGE. vol. Culture, representation and identity series
  • Roy Church. (2000) 'Advertising Consumer Goods in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Reinterpretations', in The Economic History Review. vol. 53 (4) , pp.621-645
  • De Grazia, Victoria. (2005) Irresistible empire: America's advance through twentieth-century Europe, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • Miller, Peter; Rose, Nikolas. (1997-02) 'Mobilizing the Consumer', in Theory, Culture & Society. vol. 14 (1) , pp.1-36
  • Nixon, Sean. (2006) ''The Pursuit of Newness: advertising, creativity and the 'narcissism of minor differences', in Cultural Studies. vol. 20 (1) , pp.89-106

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Research Report     10% 
Coursework   Essay of up to 3,000-3,500 words     90% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Sean Nixon, email:
Professor Sean Nixon
Michele Hall, Graduate Administrator, Telephone 01206 873051, Email:



External examiner

Dr David Clampin
Liverpool John Moores University
Subject Leader - History
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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