It is one of the fundamental premises in scholarship about advertising and society that ads contain much more than selling messages. Scholars who study advertising are generally agreed that ads also talk about values - promoting some while ignoring others. But are the values they contain merely those that help sell products and services? And who makes these decisions anyway?
On April 18, 2002, a group of scholars and advertising professionals met in the Conference Room of the Department of Film & Media Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York to discuss advertising's potential role as moral arbiter in contemporary society. The following transcript reflects their discussion.
William M. O'Barr