Week Six – discussion leading!

This week my group (Abbey, Claire, and I) led discussion on advertising and propaganda. To prepare for discussion leading, we looked for materials regarding propaganda (which we covered on Tuesday) and advertising (which we covered on Wednesday). For my readings for Tuesday, I discussed an overview of what propaganda was–covering the introduction of our readings–and the institutionalization of propaganda, focusing mostly on how ubiquitous advertising is in the modern world. For instance, of the 2,000 advertisements the average American is exposed to every day, only about eighty register on a conscious level. The reading also addressed subliminal advertising; for the discussion of that part of the class, I brought up the “subliminal messages” that, as kids, we heard via rumors had been included in Disney movies like Aladdin, and how effective–or not–subliminal advertising is. For Thursday, we discussed advertising; as part of that, I discussed an article online that essentially traced the history of advertising. For that article, what I mostly had the class discuss were two aspects; the first being the switch from detailed broadsheets to slogans — why that changed occurred and why it was advantageous, and the advent of advertising agencies under the auspices of N. W. Ayers and Walter Thompson. The most intriguing thing I found out about this week was how closely propaganda and advertising are linked; I had always thought that propaganda was essentially just “spin,” when in fact it is so similar to advertising as to be parts of the same thing.

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