Strictly Commerical

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Ed Rothstein's New York Times review of the new Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising, to my astonishment, takes a swipe at the widespread academic hostility toward advertising. (Perhaps I shouldn't be so astonished… I see Rothstein has a doctorate from the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought, which Hayek called home.) Rothstein's conclusion:


[T]he accumulated detail of the encyclopedia makes clear that the ordinary academic model of advertising and its effects is inadequate. Advertisements are a form of communication, not mere manipulation: they help make sense of the world, defining its differences and essences, filtering through its variety, making claims and constructing images. The final task ? discerning knowledge amid the claims and images ? makes us all cool-hunters in training.

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