Sally Christine Mannion is receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Advertising and Public Relations, and she will be attending Purdue University next fall to pursue her master’s degree. Sally is currently the Editor-in-Chief for the campus newspaper, The Wood Word. She is also president of Marywood’s chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America and Lambda Pi Eta, the national communications honor society. Sally was motivated to pursue a Citation in Honors in order to enrich her overall undergraduate experience. The aspect she enjoyed most was the in-depth class discussions that the small, seminar style classes afforded. Sally would like to thank her parents for their unconditional love and support; her advisor, Dr. Paulette Merchel, who helped create direction out of mere ideas; and her readers, Dr. John Zaums, who is an inspiration both in the classroom and in life, and Dr. Gale Jaeger, whose enthusiasm about business pushed her to strive harder. She would also like to thank her fiancé Anthony, who saw her potential and was nothing but encouraging, especially when things seemed overwhelming. Finally, she dedicates her thesis to Jay Hammeran, in loving memory.
Director: Dr. Paulette Merchel
Reader: Dr. John R. Zaums and Dr. Gale Jaeger
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Each day we are confronted with nearly 5,000 advertisements, many of which are trying to convince us that we must look a certain way, or own a certain product in order to be truly happy. Through the years, the public has become desensitized to conventional methods of advertising, so as new advertisements are developed the competition is not only a growing market of products and services, but also fellow advertisers. This competition has directed advertising into a genre different from conventional advertising. Advertisements today are forced to constantly be innovative and memorable. Within the last 15 years, companies have even gone as far as removing the product that is being promoted entirely from the ad. The United Colors of Benetton, in 1989, is the first company to have been documented as executing this form of promotion for their products. Such advertising, which this researcher labels as “anti-advertising,” goes against all conventional definitions of what advertising typically has encompassed in the past. This research examines the social significance of specific forms of anti-advertising, especially in the advertising strategies of the United Colors of Benetton, which substitutes images of their products with social topics in order to raise awareness on specific current issues in society. This paper first explains the history and characteristics of conventional advertising in order to provide a contrast to antiadvertising. This paper goes on to further explain corporate social responsibility and the roles that advertising plays in society in order reinforce the importance of socially responsible anti-advertising, and more specifically the anti-advertising campaigns of The United Colors of Benetton.
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