Pop culture’s portrayal of advertising focus of instructor’s Missouri History Museum talk
Set in the 1960s in a Manhattan advertising agency, the TV show “Mad Men,” has become a runaway hit. It’s upped the cool factor and sex appeal associated with the advertising agency. But has that fictional portrayal had any influence on students pondering a career in advertising?
Kristy Tucciarone, associate teaching professor of media studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, will address that topic and more during a presentation at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Lee Auditorium at the Missouri History Museum. Her talk, “From the Mad Men of the 1960s to Today’s Chicago Ad Execs: How Pop Culture Influences Career Choice,” will be given as part of “The 1968 Exhibit.” The discussion is free and open to the public.
Tucciarone was invited by the Missouri History Museum to present her research which examines portrayals of advertising during the 1960s via “Mad Men” to present day via the TNT show “Trust Me.”
UMSL Daily recently caught up with Tucciarone to preview her upcoming talk.
Why research how TV shows like “Mad Men” and Trust Me” influence careers in advertising?
Television has been cited as influencing course selection; course selection, which determines a student’s choice of major and ultimately career choice. Why do audiences turn to sources of information when selecting courses for their future career? Humans are not born with a reality. For this reason, humans must interpret experiences we encounter. “Mad Men” and “Trust Me” were selected for this research because these shows have an advertising plot, the setting occurred in an advertising environment and these shows had significant recognition by the undergraduate research participants.
To date, no research has been published that addresses the advertising industry in television programs and its pervasiveness on career choice; only the role of film has been examined and that research was conducted by me in 2009.
Do you think “Mad Men” and “Trust Me” have influenced students to pursue careers in advertising?
The majority of the research participants in my study said these two programs would prompt them to enroll in advertising courses. As one research participant explained, “I think any type of portrayal, even if exaggerated a bit, is better than being completely blind about what goes on in an advertising agency. By watching various depictions of the industry and the careers, I am able to decide if I would even want to take ad courses and be involved with such an industry.” For the few research participants who said viewing portrayals of advertising and its careers would not prompt them to enroll in advertising courses admitted that “Mad Men” and “Trust Me” did pique their curiosity to the point that they would seek more information about advertising.
Tucciarone has been with UMSL since 1999. In addition to teaching, she serves as the advising coordinator of media studies, manages the certificate in advertising and advises the student organization Ad Core, a student chapter of the American Advertising Federation, UMSL’s advertising club. She was named the 2012-2013 American Advertising Federation District 9 Faculty Advisor of the Year.
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