Research Insights 11.1 If Advertising Won’t Die, What Will it Be?

Configuring the Marketing Communications Mix

Source: Dahlen, M. and Rosengren, S. (2016) If advertising won’t die, what will it be? Towards a new definition of advertising, Journal of Advertising, 45(3).

Abstract: Answering recent calls for a new definition of advertising, we identify three dynamics—(new) media and formats, (new) “consumer” behaviours, and extended effects of advertising—that drive the evolution of advertising. Based on these, and a survey of advertising academics and professionals, we formulate an updated working definition of advertising as “brand-initiated communication intent on impacting people.” We also test and validate this definition and the three dynamics in a content analysis of recently published advertising research (2010 to 2015). In doing so, we hope to contribute to a more diverse and contemporary development of advertising research.

Insight: This paper provides a timely and interesting consideration of the way advertising has and should be defined, within an academic context. Taking into account a range of issues and developments, the authors propose a new definition that they believe is a better fit for purpose.