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Brands, branding and advertising

Stage 3, optional (compulsory for Marketing pathway)

Understanding the nature of brands and branding is not only critical for understanding the marketing environment, but also the nature of the consumer society that we live in.

This course is best suited to those students who are open to new ideas, who are self-motivated, willing to read extensively and contribute widely to online discussions and who are curious about the nature of contemporary consumption, markets and culture. It seeks to offer an integrated understanding of advertising and promotion from both a managerial and a cultural perspective.

Topics covered


  • Introduction - understanding brands
  • Brand experience and consumer emotions
  • Cultural branding
  • Global brands and place/nation brands
  • Brand placement
  • The brandscape
  • Digital branding and brand communities
  • Corporate, non-profit and moral brands
  • Person branding and the celebrity brand
  • Controversial branding and anti-brand activism


  • Introduction to advertising and promotion
  • Theorising advertising
  • The brand and integrated marketing communications planning
  • Ad agencies: organising creative work
  • Strategy and creativity
  • Promotional media in the digital age
  • Non-advertising promotion in integrated marketing communications
  • International advertising
  • Advertising and promotion- ethics and regulation
  • Research in advertising

Learning outcomes

  • Critically evaluate a range of theoretical approaches to understanding brands and brandings
  • Expertly apply and critically evaluate relevant branding theories in explaining the impact of marketing strategies
  • Critically evaluate promotional campaigns and their construction by advertising agencies
  • Create an outline promotional campaign, critically evaluating┬áthe complementarity and inter-dependence of discrete marketing activities
  • Critically evaluate by deconstructing promotional communications in terms of their likely intended segmentation and positioning rationale.


  • Individual report [2500 words] (40%)
  • Three-hour written examination (60%)