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Roundtable on Approaches to the Analysis of Advertisements

What are the differences in approaches to analyzing advertisements? Scholars from different disciplines interpret ads and use them in vastly different ways. On February 26, 2004, a panel of scholars representing six disciplines met in New York City to discuss the analysis of ads. Each of the scholars nominated one or more ads for discussion by the group. The transcript of their discussion brings to attention the diverse questions scholars ask and the many ways they go about seeking answers to them.

At mid-point in the discussion, three advertising professionals joined the group to offer their commentaries on the scholars' approaches. The result was a lively exchange about perspectives.

I hope that others who take the time to read this Special Issue of Advertising & Society Review will be challenged to think about the questions they ask of ads and that their questions will be expanded and broadened by reading the ideas of others both scholars and practitioners about the meaning and significance of advertisements.

I invite other scholars who were not present at the Roundtable in New York to join the conversation by emailing comments for publication to me at william.obarr@duke.edu.

William M. O'Barr