In an increasingly global world, advertising is no longer a local phenomenon and should not be considered as such. Yet many academic discussions focus narrowly on advertising in the United States or Western Europe, perhaps as a result of the lack of information about how things work elsewhere.
Two articles in this issue explore advertising in other national contexts. Wright examines the interplay between advertising and nationalist ideologies in India, showing how firmly ensconced advertising is in modern India and how thoroughly it shapes national identity. Gao asks what Chinese advertising will be like after China's accession to the World Trade Organization. Will WTO membership bring a new heyday for Western advertisers, or have they been shortsighted in their assessments of the influence of culture context in which Chinese advertising will continue to operate?
In addition to studying advertising cross-nationally, it is also productive to consider how it operated in the past. Zieger examines the role of the Ad Council in shaping American identity in the post-Sputnik period. The lessons of history may be quite valuable as we endeavor to understand the role of advertising in the post-September 11th and Iraq War contexts where public opinion and national values are also at issue.
Each of these pieces breaks away from a focus on the contemporary and shows the value of comparative study in other times and places.
William M. O'Barr