The current issue illustrates the richness and variety of interests that scholars have in the connections of advertising to society and culture. Stephen Engel explores the meaning of the controversial advertising that the clothing manufacturer, Abercrombie & Fitch, used over the past few years. His essay explores representation, reality, and identity in the context of an innovative advertising tradition that blurs the conventional boundaries of an advertisement. For both readers who have followed A&F advertising and those for whom it is new, his well-written article offers a provocative commentary on the state of contemporary advertising.
Two additional articles in this issue explore advertising in non-American contexts. Susan McFarlane-Alvarez examines advertising and media in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago where foreign media and images are far more common than local ones. She shows how one particular commercial became enormously popular as it managed to communicate its message while paying extraordinary sensitivity to the local context. The lessons here are important ones as we attempt to understand the significance of globalized images and mass media.
Chun Wah Lee takes up the issue of gender role stereotyping which has become a common theme in much of the advertising and society literature. Lee examines the degree to which the conclusions reached about gender stereotypes in American society also apply to Singapore, and by implication, to other non-American nations.
William M. O'Barr