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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Advertising: Theories and Practice (BUST10014)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAdvertising is a highly visible and pervasive marketing communications tool, constantly evolving in response to developments in media, technology, and the marketing industry. The effects of advertising are examined and debated by individual clients and agencies, the marketing industry in general, and those concerned about its role within society. This course enables students to develop a critical understanding of advertising (broadly defined) from the perspective of advertising planners, consumers and critics.
Course description The course is divided into four sections: Advertising in Context, Advertising Planning, Models of Advertising Effectiveness, and Social/Cultural Effects of Advertising. It seeks to relate theories or issues to examples of advertising where possible, and draws on practitioner as well as academic literature in relating theory to practice. Video material is used, providing insights into the development of particular campaigns as well as different perspectives on issue such as stereotyping and the communication of values in advertising. Practitioner input into the course is also intended to relate theory to practice.

The advertising industry
Advertising and brands
Planning: developing advertising strategies and creative briefing
Media planning
Advertising Research
Information processing, emotional response and the role of involvement
Active audience models
Social and cultural effects of advertising
Tools for assessing advertising's social/cultural effects
Advertising and regulation

Student Learning Experience

Overall, the course aims to apply your knowledge and understanding of key concepts and theoretical frameworks in developing and justifying a creative brief and develop a critical understanding of advertising as an evolving marketing communications tool. Given the diversity of views amongst practitioners and critics about how advertising does or should work, you can gain a great deal from comparing your own views and experiences with those of others. The use of interactive lectures and small-group work is designed to encourage you to debate, discuss and apply theories to examples of advertising.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Marketing (BUST08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Year 4 only. Business Studies Honours Entry
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have at least 4 Business courses at grade B or above. This MUST INCLUDE at least one Marketing course at intermediate level. This course cannot be taken alongside BUST08004 Marketing. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the structure of the advertising industry.
  2. Offer a critical account of the process and context of advertising development, informed by both practitioner and academic literature on advertising.
  3. Critically evaluate advertising effects from different managerial and critical perspectives.
  4. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of particular advertisements as examples of persuasive communication.
  5. Locate and use appropriate advertising resources (traditional and on-line) to research particular issues.
Reading List
Key text
Semenik, R., Allan, C., O'Guinn, T. and Kaufmann, H. (2012) Advertising and promotions: an integrated brand approach, International edition, Sourth-Western/Cengage Learning

Key website

You should spend some time early in the course exploring (available via Databases A-Z from the Quick Links menu at
This is an excellent advertising database, offering hundreds of award-winning case histories from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Advertising Works series, as well as various journals, industry news and statistics, marketing conference blogs, and a wealth of other marketing and advertising-related resources.

Key journals
International Journal of Advertising
Journal of Advertising
Journal of Advertising Research
Journal of Consumer Research
Journal of Marketing Communications
Advertising & Society Review

Hard copies of some journals (eg Journal of Consumer Research) are available in the main library, but at the time of writing, all of those listed above (apart from Admap, which is available from via Databases A-Z on Library Online) are available online as e- journals from Just type the journal name into the "electronic journals" box on the page, and follow the link to the relevant database.

Useful supplementary texts

Hackley, C. (2010) Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach, London: Sage, 2nd edition

Leiss, W., Kline, S., Jhally, S. and Botterill, J. (2005) Social communication in advertising, 3rd edition, New York: Routledge

Other useful websites
Some internet resources are detailed along with other reading for particular sessions and you will be introduced to others during the lecture programme. You are encouraged to draw
upon these as well as traditional resources in reading for this course and if you spend some time exploring individual advertising agency websites yourself as well as following links from, this will enhance your experience of studying on this course.

Sites like allow you to keep up to date with creative advertising campaigns, both in the UK and internationally.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding

- explain the roles which advertising can play in the contemporary marketing mix and marketing environment
- describe the process of advertising planning and the context in which it is undertaken
- explain different theories and models with respect to advertising effectiveness
- describe key concerns which have been raised concerning advertising's role in society, together with the advertising industry's response to such concerns
- describe the British approach to advertising regulation

Cognitive Skills

1. assess sources of tension within agencies and between agencies and clients
2. analyse how different approaches to positioning, creative work, media and advertising research may influence advertising effectiveness
3. compare and contrast different theories and models of advertising effectiveness
4. critically evaluate competing arguments concerning the role of advertising in society
5. assess the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to advertising regulation
6. relate advertising theories, models and debates to particular examples of advertisements
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 lecture per week
Course organiserDr Stephanie O'Donohoe
Tel: (0131 6)50 3821
Email: S.O'
Course secretaryMs Chrysanthi Manidou
Tel: (0131 6) 50 3826
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