Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Shintaro Okazaki
Chapter 19: Raising the Golden Arches: Advertising’s Role in the Socialization of the World
Jeffrey K. Johnson and Carrie La Ferle INTRODUCTION It is claimed that the golden arches of McDonalds are a more recognizable symbol worldwide than the Christian cross (Schlosser 2002) and that Coca-Cola is the second most known word worldwide after ‘OK’ (Pendergrast 2000). Inarguably, one of the primary reasons that these products have gained such a broad acceptance is their use of advertising. Is this advertising helpful, though, and is the spread of mass culture good for the over seven billion people who inhabit the planet? Depending on the critic, advertising can be viewed as either a creator of economic opportunity or the purveyor of a legion of social ills (Hovland and Wolburg 2010; Jhally 1995; Pollay 1986; Rotzoll, Haefner and Hall 1996). In reality, the truth most likely lies somewhere between these two polar extremes. However, a large portion of the comments regarding advertising have been negative. Pollay (1986) warns of the unintended effects of advertising leading to materialism, greed, dissatisfaction with self and general lifestyles that are detrimental to people and societies as a whole. Globally, these advertisement-induced changes are said to result in the loss of local values, culture, national identity, language and more (Frith and Mueller 2010; Jhally 1995). In fact, beyond the economic benefits of advertising (Naghshpour 2008), rarely do other potentially positive outcomes rise to the level of public discourse. Therefore an article suggesting that globalization and the advertising that helps the process can be uniquely effective tools in providing positive global change and...
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