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British Television Advertising

British Television Advertising

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British Television Advertising

Cultural Identity and Communication

By Renée Dickason

Publication date: 2000
Total pages: 196
ISBN: 1 86020 571 2
Price: £ 22.50


Commercial television in the UK began some 45 years ago and television advertisements have come to be an accepted part of the spectacle offered to the viewer and, more recently, to be considered, by some, as a bastion of 'Britishness' in a world of increasing media globalisation. More than the programmes themselves, advertisements are firmly rooted in the society for which they are intended and can be seen as a reflection of the attitudes and perceptions of that society.

The subject is nevertheless complicated. The relationship between adverts and programmes is changing and commercials themselves cannot stand still. Product adverts primarily serve a commercial purpose, but the promotion of new goods and services and the representation of others are equally evocative of changes in social trends and conventions, while government ads have moved on from a purely informative role, highlighting health and welfare questions, to become something more obviously prescriptive, in their attempts to set the limits of (good) citizenship and to establish norms of conduct.

British Television Advertising examines the question of television advertising as an expression of cultural identity in four main ways: the legislative framework governing advertising, the varying images conveyed by product adverts within a developing historical context, the objectives and practice of governmental and institutional publicity and television advertising culture as a feature of television culture itself and as an element of collective memory.


Renée Dickason is a Senior Lecturer in British Media and History at the University of Rennes (France).

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