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Advertising and Society (Coursera)

This course examines the relation of advertising to society, culture, history, and the economy. Using contemporary theories about visual communications, we learn to analyze the complex levels of meaning in both print advertisements and television commercials.

The course covers a wide range of topics, including the origins of advertising, the creation of ads, the interpretation of ads, the depiction of race, class, gender, and sexuality in advertising, sex and selling, adverting and ethics, and the future of advertising. The lectures will discuss theoretical frameworks and apply them to specific advertisements.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: What is advertising and where did it come from?

Week 2: Am I being manipulated by advertising?

Week 3: What’s in an ad beyond that which meets the eye?

Week 4: How do ads get made?

Week 5: What do ads teach us about race, class, gender, and sexuality?

Week 6: Does sex sell?

Week 7: What is the future of advertising?