24th February 2012

Working Paper: Advertising and Imitation

Prudential Advertising Poster 1924

Prudential Advertising Poster 1924

How does advertising enrol consumers?

Using the promotional practices underpinning the huge and enduring market for industrial assurance this paper suggests that it’s not advertising itself – not even the finest, funniest, most emotive, persuasive or manipulative examples – that makes people consume. Instead the best answer, in an uncertain and constantly changing environment,  to why people buy, then stop buying, certain things lies in the ‘fit’ between different social, technical and material elements of the market device. Advertising campaigns don’t prompt imitation because they’re colourful, beautiful, passionate or ‘cool’ – they prompt imitation if they capture the fit between product, market, marketing and world at just the right moment.

Download paper here: Working Paper: Following the line of least resistance?: advertising, agencements and crashes (pdf)