- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (October 2, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857852027
- ISBN-13: 978-0857852021
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,579,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Advertising and Anthropology: Ethnographic Practice and Cultural Perspectives 0th Edition
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“Advertising and Anthropology provides valuable insight into the ways that anthropology can effectively (if controversially) participate in the modern corporate world as well as ways that advertising/business anthropology reflects and rethinks conventional disciplinary tools and concepts.” ―Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database
About the Author
Timothy de Waal Malefyt is Visiting Associate Professor at the Center for Positive Marketing, School of Business, Fordham University, New York.Robert J. Morais is a Principal of Weinman Schnee Morais Inc., a marketing research firm in New York, USA.
Top customer reviews
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Had I finished it within the 7-day Kindle grace period, I would have returned this book!
THE REASON WHY?:
I was initially excited to hear from anthropologist who are actually in advertising. To prove they are well read, these authors strung together quotes on the most popular believes and points-of-view from any and all industry experts--at least they were kind enough to credit each one. Unfortunately, because they credit so many other experts and thought leaders, every other paragraph seems to have its own bibliography.
YES, it gets annoying having to read around all the references cited in every other paragraph. And don't worry, the last 30% of the book is also filled with other referenced material and sources. This is no joke, the book finishes at 68.5% on the Kindle Version, then all their notes start. And the Notes read more like a grocery list of references and misc details--nothing insightful.
At the end, this book becomes more of a sales plea to Ad Agencies... "please hire more anthropologist" ... "we promise to bring you value" ... "and if you hire ethnographers, don't forget to hire us too" ... "seriously ad guys, ethnography and anthropology are not the same" ... "and don't forget to hire an anthropologist--even if its not us".
If you are a student of the business and are well read, you will find nothing new here.
There was a point when I thought the authors were going to make it up to me and give me some value. Unfortunately, they disappointed.
They presented a case study comparing the successful launch of Cadillac's Escalade and (the not so successful one) of Nissan's Infinity. Kudos, they had a live behind the scene look at each, so I (unfortunately) assumed they were going to provide some great insight.
WOW !! I was so disappointed. The authors restated the obvious and MISSED the PRIMARY reason why the Escalade has been such a success. Not once did they even refer to the response Professional Athletes and Rap Stars had to the Escalade when it launched in 2001. If you'd like to know, here is a link to the USA Today Story: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/autos/2001-10-23-escalade.htm .
I'd like to think i'm objective and hence is why I still rate the book 3 out of 5 stars... and not 2 out of 5. If you are a pro in the business, you will think this is a 2 star book... if you are new to the business, you will probably see this as a 3 star book.
Bottomline, if you're going to get it, get the Kindle version... and make sure you go through it before the 7-day return/grace period is over.
Many readers will benefit from the discussions by Malefyt and Morais about expanding anthropological methods in consumer research beyond ethnography. For myself, I found chapter three, Rituals of Creativity in Advertising Agencies, to be the most interesting and useful. Most writing about rituals in commercial organizations is content merely to observe that rituals exist. Malefyt and Morais go further, to describe some of the ways in which processes of ritual actually work within advertising agencies. Their interest is in applying some of Victor Turner's concepts to understand how ideas generated in consumer research are applied by agency creatives, and then translated to become palatable to clients. We need to see more ritual analysis of marketing processes like this in order to move the industry beyond Mad Men cliches.
Given that this the book is rooted in cultural anthropology, it would have benefited from more examples of how these elements of ritual actually are manifested in particular advertising agencies. Some visual diagrams would also have helped clarify the ritual roles and relationships within the advertising industry.
These are quibbles, however. Malefyt and Morais are to be praised for their work, bringing an anthropological perspective to a subject that too many academic anthropologists casually dismiss as unworthy of their attention.
The book has two main sections. The first takes the form of a traditional anthropological study with the advertising agency as the subject. The authors make sense of the social relations, symbols, beliefs and rituals within the walls of a typical advertising agency and its relationships with clients. As someone who has worked at several creative agencies, it was fascinating to find the familiar habits and patterns of agency life explained with a new level of depth and insight.
The remainder of the book discusses how anthropology is applied in advertising and marketing today. The authors offer concrete examples, drawn from their own professional experience, of how anthropological insights have contributed to successful advertising campaigns in such diverse categories as luxury cars, pharmaceuticals and breakfast cereal.
As someone who regularly conducts qualitative market research, the topic most relevant to me was the debate about what properly constitutes business anthropology. In contrast to some purists, who view in-depth ethnography as the only true way to practice anthropology, Malefyt and Morais argue for more flexible and pragmatic approaches. They offer case studies that show how valuable anthropological inquiry can be conducted in the much maligned focus group setting, a method I will surely incorporate into my own work. They also caution business anthropologists to avoid insider jargon and learn to communicate their cultural insights in language that their clients can understand and apply.
Anthropology and Advertising is a valuable contribution that will interest both academic and applied anthropologists as well as intellectually curious practitioners of advertising.