Advertising & The Business of Brands: An Introduction to Careers & Concepts in Advertising & Marketing

Amy L. Parsons (King's College, Wilkes‐Barre, PA, United States of America)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 2 August 2011




Parsons, A.L. (2011), "Advertising & The Business of Brands: An Introduction to Careers & Concepts in Advertising & Marketing", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 387-388.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Advertising & The Business of Brands is an ambitious undertaking that covers almost every angle of the advertising world that one could imagine. The book has an extensive introduction followed by 12 chapters and a career appendix at the end. The 12 chapters are broken down into four sections titled:

  1. 1.

    The evolution of advertising.

  2. 2.

    The business of brands.

  3. 3.

    The brand building process.

  4. 4.

    You & the marketplace.

Each chapter is organized in a similar fashion. The first section of each chapter presents profiles of individuals who work in the aspect of the industry that is highlighted in that chapter. The second section explains how the chapter is organized and provides an outline of topics to follow. The third section presents key information, including terminology and numerous examples with plenty of visuals. Each chapter finishes with a list of interesting discussion questions, a summary of key concepts, and an extensive vocabulary list. Also, throughout each chapter there are “side bars” which provide additional examples and illustrations of important concepts. A discussion of key topics covered in each of the four sections follows.

The “Evolution of advertising” section focuses primarily on the growth of the advertising industry, starting in Chapter 1 – “The evolution of advertising” with the influence of Ben Franklin and the Pennsylvania Gazette in the 1800s and Albert Lasker in the 1900s, Leo Burnett in the 1930s and 1940s, David Ogilvy in the 1950s, and Mary Wells in the 1960s, to name a few. Chapter 2 – “The modern marketplace” discusses how advertising has changed since the 1970s with the large number of advertising agency mergers and the evolution of media choices for advertisers. Chapter 3 – “Advertising & society” examines the role of advertising and society from both an economic and ethical perspective and also introduces key legal rulings which impact the world of advertising.

The “Business of brands” section introduces the different types of players in the marketing and advertising field and some of the career opportunities available. Chapter 4 – “Marketers & advertisers” provides of an overview of basic marketing principles, including the five “P's”, types of marketing, structures within marketing organizations, marketing job descriptions, and the marketing process. This chapter could easily be treated as a review for more advanced students. Chapter 5 – “Advertising agencies” examines the world of advertising agencies and describes the different types of agencies, what agencies do, how agencies are organized, descriptions of key positions within agencies, how agencies are compensated, how agencies gain new business, and the emergence of account planning. Chapter 6 – “The world of media” provides a brief discussion of some of the myriad media choices available to advertisers today. Included in this discussion is a brief history of media; descriptions of the current media world, how consumers interact with media, the role of media conglomerates, and entertainment brands; and a discussion of a variety of different types of traditional and non‐traditional advertising vehicles. Chapter 7 – “Marketing services” provides an overview of the many different areas that make up a piece of the integrated marketing communications puzzle. These areas include sales promotion, direct marketing and database marketing, public relations, marketing research, event marketing and sponsorships, and promotional products.

The “Brand building” section offers a description of the planning, implementation and evaluation of advertising and the challenges of integrating marketing messages across different media, agencies, and services. Chapter 8 – “Marketing & the planning process” presents ideas on how to effectively plan, develop and evaluate marketing strategies. The specific emphasis in this chapter is all of the different aspects of planning at the advertising campaign level. Chapter 9 – “Creativity & the communication process” examines how ideas get created, implemented, and presented. In this chapter we learn who “creatives” are and what they do. We also learn about the challenges associated with creating advertising for both traditional and non‐traditional media. Chapter 10 – “Media & the marketing of messages” expands on Chapter 6 and investigates how advertisers make strategic media decisions to most effectively reach their target audiences by examining the media planning process. Chapter 11 – “Evaluation & integration” brings the process full circle and discusses how to evaluate advertising and marketing campaigns and how to continuously improve given the challenges marketers face today and in the future.

And finally, the “You & the marketplace” section of the book emphasizes change. Chapter 12 – “The power of new ideas” identifies five key themes that will have an impact on advertising – the challenge of change, new agencies for a new world, the internet, managing change, and innovation in marketing services. And finally the last section – “You and your career” offers a guide to help job seekers break into the advertising and marketing field. One interesting idea encourages job seekers to “understand yourself as a product” and then suggests they develop a marketing plan to “bring your product to market.” A helpful checklist is provided to help job seekers accomplish this goal.

Overall, the book is written in an easy‐going tone that seems suited for a college audience. In fact the authors even make a point of telling the reader that they attempted to make the book easy to read. While it is easy to read, it should be taken in small doses to get the most out of the experience because of the sheer quantity and depth of information provided.

The book is more career‐oriented than other similar advertising and marketing textbooks which should prove appealing to college students. It offers excellent examples of people who work in the field throughout the book and provides numerous resources and advice for college students on how to prepare for a career in advertising. A suggestion for the authors is to prepare a separate edition that just focuses on the career information. This shorter edition could be positioned as a valuable career reference tool for anyone who wants to enter or advance in the advertising/marketing field.

The book also has a companion website, where additional resources can be found such as practice tests, hot links, videos, a MP3 juke box, study tips, extra readings and more. This is a wonderful idea for students who want to explore the material in more depth.

This book seems positioned primarily as a college/university level textbook that would be appropriate for any introductory level advertising course. The book could also be an excellent reference for anyone interested in learning about the advertising field. Faculty may find this book appealing because of its thoroughness. However, it may be challenging to cover all of the book's material in the course of one semester. My one suggestion for future editions is to shorten the introductory sections on advertising history and move the rest to the website.

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