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Ads, Fads and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society [Paperback]

Arthur Asa Berger

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Book Description

15 Mar 2007
Now in its third edition, the popular "Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture" is an engaging cultural studies critique of advertising and its impacts on American society. Arthur Asa Berger looks at marketing strategies, sex and advertising, consumer culture, political advertising, and communication theory and process to give an accessible overview of advertising in America. The new edition features updated examples and new theoretical material, including expanded discussions on critical analysis methods, sexuality in advertising, global advertising, and neuromarketing.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield; Revised edition edition (15 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742554449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742554443
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,541,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


I am the author of more than 100 articles and more than seventy books on popular culture, media, humor, advertising and tourism. I have also written some academic murder mysteries in which I bump off academics various ways and write nasty things about academia. I was born in Boston, Mass. I went to school at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA for my BA degree in literature and philosophy. I went to the University of Iowa in Iowa City for my MA degree in journalism (but I also studied at the Writers' Workshop there)and I went to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for my Ph.D degree in American Studies. I wrote my dissertation on the comic strip Li'L Abner. After I received my MA degree I was drafted into the US Army and I did public information in Washington DC for two years. I also wrote high school sports for the Washington Post weekends while I was in the Army. I lived in Italy for a year in 1963 and taught American literature at the University of Milan. I also lived in England for a year in 1973 doing research on pop culture there. I taught at San Francisco State University from 1965 until 2003, when I retired. My books have been translated into Russian, Italian, German, Arabic, Indonesia, Swedish, Korean and Chinese. These Chinese like my books and have translated 12 of my books. Not all reviewers like my books. A review of my book THE TV-GUIDED AMERICAN, published in the early 1970s read "Berger is to the study of television what Idi Amin is to tourism in Uganda." I've lectured in many different countries, such as England, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, Peru, and Tunisia. I was a visiting professor in Hong Kong for two months (in a school of tourism)in 2008 and I taught media criticism for six weeks in 2009 at Jinan University in Guangzhou and Tsing Hua University in Beijing. I spent a month in Argentina in September and October of 2012 lecturing on semiotics, media criticism and post modernism. In the course of my career I've lectured in around 20 foreign countries. I have continued to write and love to travel. I've visited more than 60 countries over the years. I live in Mill Valley, California.

Product Description


The manner in which advertising is developed and implemented, and the incredible influence it has on our culture and consumers, is profound. Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture delves into this and other matters. Arthur Berger provides fresh insights and explanations on various aspects and issues of the industry and the ads, and the impact on all of us.--Goldberg, Fred S.

About the Author

Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start in advertising 22 April 2014
By Mia Karlstad - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In my advertising class i chose to read this book as a part of a project. For me this was a really good choice because I am new in the world of advertising. The book is a very simple read, and is recommended to everyone who are curious, or need a basic book concerning advertising.
The author talks about different parts of advertising such as advertising and sex, political advertising, and also he defines important instruments such as the communication model. In the end he analyses two different ads, one is print and one is TV. The only negative comments I have is that the picture for the print ad is very small, and hard to see. Also, I was not familiar with the TV commercial he presented (Apple's Macintosh from 1984)
My recommendation is if you are not familiar with advertising, this is a very useful book. The author presents good view points, and good examples throughout the book.
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive & captivating study on advertising 11 Sep 2013
By J. Ilog - Published on
Discusses the different psychologists such as Maslow, Jung, and Freud and how the advertisers use their theories to persuade the masses through print and TV media.

Pages 130-136 mentions the Values and Lifestyles Typologies to focus on people's lifestyles. Maybe these typologies will help you understand yourself as a consumer as it did for me.

Here is a quote from the section The Marketing View: "...exposure to an advertisement or commercial for a particular brand of blue jeans or beer many not lead to a purchasing decision by a given individual, but when we take a broader look at American society, we discover that large numbers of people do purchase that brand of blue jeans or beer."

Even mentions that children influence around $700B/year of adult spending.

This book is still current, as it references Google and Craigslist and there is an appendix at the end of the book geared toward "For those who wish to pursue their investigations of advertising", as he puts it. There is a very helpful glossary that proceeds this appendix to help understand the advertising verbiage.

Very helpful and highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent purchase 23 Feb 2010
By Hiram Muniz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent product! Great advice Used at University Of Sacred Heart In Puerto Rico for study in Publicity . Great book highly recommended!
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 Oct 2014
By ricardonani - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 21 Sep 2007
By Roberto De Jesus - Published on
Excellent book. I bought it for a class that I was taking and it was verry interesting.I recommned this book to everyone thats is in the advertising business
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