A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

Advertising and culture.

Marshall McLuhan (1977, age 66).  Try this experiment

Advertising (as figure) has much to instruct us about culture (as ground).  This is something you can explore in a plug and play fashion by looking at advertisements.  List as many different products as you can that are frequently advertised.  What picture does this list form of our culture?

Me (May 2010, age 57).   Let’s try it?

(This is another one of Marshall McLuhan’s exercises, which you can find in his book City as Classroom.)  Let’s try a variation on this experiment by looking at the products advertised in a recent issue of the New Yorker.  Here is a list of all of the products that appear in the ads that appear in the opening pages (inside cover to The Talk of the Town section) of the May 10, 2010 issue.

Vanguard investment fund

AT&T cell phone service

Novel by Isabel Allende

Novel by Marilynne Robinson

Continental airlines

New Yorker cartoon collection (The Graduation Collection)

Tiffany & Co. jewelry

Oil and natural gas exploration

New Yorker cartoon bank

Hyatt hotels

New Yorker T shirts

New Yorker cover prints

Chamber music concert at Lincoln center

Vintage golf photos

The magazine industry

U.S. Trust asset management

What’s your take on the culture described by these products?   How does this culture fit with your picture of the ‘real’ US culture?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Marshall McLuhan, Kathryn Hutchon, and Eric McLuhan, City as Classroom:  Understanding Language and Media , 1977,   pp. 7.

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Michael Hinton Friday, May 28th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Business, Communication, Uncategorized, Vol. 1 No Comments

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