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MCH2063 : Advertising and Consumption

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Steve Walls
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Michael Waugh
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims to:
1. enable students to develop a core base in the field of advertising, culture, and consumption.
2. allow participants to develop specialisms on the basis of specific interest (e.g. advertising and language; advertising and globalisation; consumption in cross-cultural settings; consumption and identity).
3. encourage students to consolidate methodological and critical skills in studying practices (e.g. shopping/consumption), texts, and qualitative and quantitative material in the spheres of communication, culture and advertising.
4. explore and apply interdisciplinary approaches to the study of consumer society now and in the recent past.
5. examine the rise of global and cross-cultural consumer cultures and advertising.
6. investigate and understand the cultural context of specific consumer groups, and develop case studies of specific commodities, practices or cultural contexts.

Cultural consumption is one of the key activities of everyday life. All consumption occurs in relation to advertising, promotion or communication. This module will examine the cultural politics of advertising and consumption in relation to the perspective of cultural studies. It will provide a critical map of the field and bring together work on consumer culture in anthropology and sociology with work on media audiences within media studies and sociology. The rich and idiosyncratic features of local consumption practices will be illustrated through cases from different parts of the world.

Through such cases, the module will show the varying balance between constraint and power and creativity and resistance, making links between consumption and production, and the patterns that shape access to symbolic and material resources. Consumption takes place in the context of everyday lives, in urban, rural and domestic zones: questions of place and identity, poverty, the privatization of the home, and the linking of local everyday practices with broader, global processes are explored. Particular attention is given to the media and new communication technologies as points of overlap and exchange between the local and the global, between domestic consumption and the public sphere. Specific attention will focus upon the various communication strategies used in advertising including semiotics, branding, 'shockvertising', humour and music as rhetorical devices, and social media campaigns.

Outline Of Syllabus

Syllabus may be subject to updates/change but will typically include:
- Classical and Contemporary theoretical perspectives on Advertising & Consumer Culture
- Advertising & Promotional Strategies
- Consumer Groups, Practice, engagement and behaviour
- Issues affecting Advertising, Promotional Culture & Consumption

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Plan, design, research and execute summative assessment: Essay/Campaign
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00on-campus lectures - can move to online if required
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Plan, design, research and execute formative assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading115:0055:00weekly reading & research
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00on-campus seminars - can move to online if needed
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity112:0022:00weekly reflection/research on advertising/promotional media
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00on-campus assessment clinic - can move to online if needed
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module aims to encourage the development and comprehension of contemporary issues and ideas in culture, consumption, advertising and everyday life. Theories of the economy, identity, and culture will be discussed in relation to advertising content, consumption and production, and mass media texts. Lectures introduce and develop ideas and seminars allow students to consider material in more practical detail. A mixture of lectures, small-group sessions will be combined with private study and essay writing which investigates key aspects of advertising, promotion and consumption in everyday life.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A100Essay/Campaign, 2500 words and 500 word action plan following formative feedback.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MEssay plan (500 words) and reflective learning activity allied to dedicated session prior to summative assessment.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Essay/Campaign allows students to consider social and cultural theories of advertising and consumption, production & regulation and cultural identity or engage with a more practical/professional focus by conceptualising an advertising campaign. The formative assessment and associated reflective activities allow students to gain feedback on ideas/plans for the summative assignment and think critically about what they are being assessed upon prior to completion. Students must also complete an action plan (up to 500 words) describing how they sought to enhance their approach to the summative assessment on the basis of feedback from the mid-term formative assessment task and submit this alongside their essay/campaign. This must be included as a reflective activity but will not be part of the overall grade awarded for the module.

These assessments allow students to establish practical, theoretical, critical and evaluative skills and stress the importance of working to deadlines and goals. The inclusion of the action plan for the summative assessment will encourage students to think critically about their work and how to action improvements on the basis of feedback.

Reading Lists