module specification

MC5076 - Contemporary Theory of Advertising (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Contemporary Theory of Advertising
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
9 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
105 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Individual Essay (2,000 words).
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module is designed to introduce students to contemporary applied theories of advertising relevant to brand advertising and explores traditional and online advertising practice. The module addresses the academician–practitioner gap in understanding how advertising work by uncovering agency practitioners’ core theories. The module also examines advances in digital advertising and neuromarketing research useful for understanding how consumers process advertising messages. The module also explores cross-cultural advertising practices underpinned by current scholarly research in advertising.     

The module aims to:

• Develop an understanding and a critical awareness of contemporary theories of advertising
• Develop analytical abilities of students and apply these to their knowledge and skills in understanding applied traditional and contemporary advertising theories    
• Create new insights into the advertising discipline and new contributions to professional practice.

The module also aims to assist students in the acquisition of the following skills:
- Researching and analysing
- Academic writing and reading
- Critical thinking and application of knowledge


Key subject areas addressed

•The origins of modern branding and how advertising developed

•The role of advertising in building strong brands and brand equity

• History as a source of critique- Historical perspective and critical reflections of past advertising theories and models.

• Advances in advertising theory - how advertising works & how consumer process information?

• The academician–practitioner gap in understanding how advertising works.

• Ad agency professionals’ mental models of advertising creativity.

• Application of advertising theories in the digital age.

• The role of neuromarketing and psychophysiological measures in understanding how consumers process advertising messages.

• Culture-driven values, brands and advertising theory.

• Ethical codes of Advertising practice

Learning Outcomes LO1 - O2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be taught over a 12-week period and consists of 2-hour interactive learning sessions and 1-hour appreciation and critique of contemporary advertising topic of the week. The 2-hour interactive learning sessions will set the theoretical principles to be explored.

A blended learning approach will be adopted with content on the web learn platform will be used and a flipped classroom’ approach is adopted where students are provided with a contemporary advertising topic and prepare well in advance of the date on which materials will be covered in the interactive learning period  These sessions have been designed for a better understanding of the topics through critical discussion, questions and answers and will play a crucial role in appreciating trends and  contrasting views from a practitioner and academic perspective.

The facilities of Web Learn will be central to the delivery of module handbook, case studies, campaigns, journal articles, and external web links, as appropriate. It will also be used for the timely provision of feedback following formative assessment.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to: 

1.Demonstrate a critical understanding of contemporary theory of advertising in brand communications.

2. Select, apply and critique contemporary issues and theoretical perspectives in advertising from a national and/or global context.

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed by one component: Individual Essay 100% weighting (2000 words)- LO1 and LO2 addressed.

Students will be required to select a recently published academic article about contemporary advertising theory. They will need to write an essay that presents the theoretical underpinnings of the article and gauge the most important ideas from the selected article and its relationship to advertising theory. Students should also be able to identify and analyse rival theories and concepts which may have been missing in the journal article as well as find alternative explanations for the findings presented in the article. Students will discuss managerial implications and provide illustrates of advertising campaigns supporting the theory and viewpoints from the article.

Students should demonstrate striking personal insight and originality, supporting their arguments with relevant literature.


Core Texts
- Rodgers S., and Thorson, E. (2017) Digital Advertising: Theory and Research, 3rd Edition, Routledge.
- Rodgers S., and Thorson, E. (2012) Advertising Theory, Routledge.
- De Mooj, M, (2018) Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Global Paradoxes. 5th Edition, SAGE.

Additional reading:
- Bullo, S. (2014) Evaluation in Advertising Reception A Socio-Cognitive and Linguistic Perspective Palgrave Macmillan.
- Crawford R. Brennan L. Parker L. (2017) Global Advertising Practice in a Borderless World, Routledge.
- De Pelsmacker, P., Geuens, M. & Van den Bergh, J., (2017) Marketing Communications, 6th Edition, Pearson. (Available as an e-Book)
- Fennis B. and Stroebe, W. (2015) The Psychology of Advertising, 2nd Edition, Routledge.
- Fill C., Hughes G. And De Francesco, S. (2013) Advertising: Strategy, Creativity and Media, Pearson.
- Hamilton J., Bodle R., and Korin E. (2017) Explorations in Critical Studies in Advertising, Routledge.
- Kapferer, J-N. (2012) The New Strategic Brand Management, Advanced Insights and Strategic Thinking. 5thth edition, London: Kogan Page.
- Keller, K. (2013) Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring and Managing Brand Equity. 4th (global) edition, London, Pearson International.
- Mueller, B. (2017) Dynamics of International Advertising: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives, 3rd Edition New York: Peter Lang publishing.
- Percy, L. and Rosenbaum-Elliott, R. (2016) Strategic advertising management, 5th Edition, Oxford University Press.
-Tag, N. (2012) Ad Critique How to Deconstruct Ads in Order to Build Better Advertising, Sage.
- Yeshin, T. (2011) Advertising, South-Western, CENGAGE Learning.

Journal of Advertising
Journal of Advertising Research
Journal of Interactive Advertising
International Journal of Advertising: the quarterly review of marketing communications
Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising
Journal of Marketing Communications
International Journal of Communication
Journal of Promotion Management
International Journal of Mobile Marketing
Journal of Interactive Marketing
Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice
Journal of Marketing