Advertising: Commerce and Creativity

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
26 May 2023


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

Lecture 1 - week 2 Introduction: How do you study Advertising?
Lecture 2 - week 3 The Rise of the Advertising Agency
Lecture 3 - week 4 International and Global Advertising
Lecture 4 - week 5 Brands and Branded Corporations
Lecture 5 - week 6 Advertising and Media Forms Workshop
Lecture 6 – week 7 Understanding the Consumer
Lecture 7- week 8 Genres of Persuasion
Lecture 8 - week 9 Cultural Intermediaries and the World of Advertising
Lecture 9 - week 10 Advertising and Creativity
Lecture 10 - week 11 Review of module and Essay Preparation

Learning and teaching methods

Most modules at postgraduate level in Sociology are taught as a 2hr seminar. Most classes, labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming social distancing allows this). There may also be some online activities – either timetabled as a live online session or available on Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities before your seminar/class each week. Please note that you should be spending up to ten hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 30 hours in total for three 20--credit modules). You are strongly encouraged to attend the seminars as they provides an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The seminars will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these seminars it is very important that you attend and engage.


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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Research Report   20/11/2023  10% 
Coursework   Essay   22/01/2024  90% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Sean Nixon, email:
Professor Sean Nixon



External examiner

Dr David Clampin
Liverpool John Moores University
Subject Leader - History
Available via Moodle
Of 30 hours, 30 (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), module, or event type.


Further information

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