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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Advertising and Society by Duke University

903 ratings

About the Course

This course examines the relation of advertising to society, culture, history, and the economy. Using contemporary theories about visual communications, we learn to analyze the complex levels of meaning in both print advertisements and television commercials. About the Course The course covers a wide range of topics, including the origins of advertising, the creation of ads, the interpretation of ads, the depiction of race, class, gender, and sexuality in advertising, sex and selling, adverting and ethics, and the future of advertising. The lectures will discuss theoretical frameworks and apply them to specific advertisements. Course Syllabus Week 1: What is advertising and where did it come from? Week 2: Am I being manipulated by advertising? Week 3: What’s in an ad beyond that which meets the eye? Week 4: How do ads get made? Week 5: What do ads teach us about race, class, gender, and sexuality? Week 6: Does sex sell? Week 7: What is the future of advertising? Recommended Background No background is required; everyone is welcome! Suggested Readings Although the lectures are designed to be self-contained, we recommend that students refer to the free online textbook Other free resources will be suggested for each week’s module. Course Format Most videos will be lectures with instructor talking. Each lecture will be illustrated with PowerPoint slides, print advertisements, and TV commercials. The videos for each week will consist of segments that add up to about an hour. Each week will have one quiz that will appear as stand-alone homework. All resources beyond lectures will be available online to students at no charge. Most of these will be from Others will be visits to the sites of ad agencies in the US and abroad, open access websites that deal with course topics, and open-access journal articles....

Top reviews


Jul 27, 2022

I really enjoyed the course and will use the material I learned to create a month-long learning program as a foreign language teacher of English for the 8th grade students of my school, in Israel.


Jun 14, 2018

What a great course! As an owner of an agency, a marketer and advertiser, I found it very eye opening and enjoyable. I learned a lot that I can apply to our business. Thank you Professor O'Barr.

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1 - 25 of 214 Reviews for Advertising and Society

By Giorgio G

May 3, 2017

I will never look at advertising with the same eyes. It made me understand a lot of our current society and economy. Really suggested if you want to become a more informed citizen and consumer.

By sumitra n

May 23, 2020

I absolutely loved the explanations and lectures conducted so intelligently and thoughtfully by Professor O'Barr and how it was brought down to such a simple level of understanding. The examples provided gave us a deeper insight into the topic discussed and also provided knowledge into the different types of advertisements produced and published through the centuries.

If a similar course were to be developed, I would most certainly sign up for it. Professor O'Barr is a delightful, well-revised and knowledgeable teacher.

By Nneoma A

Nov 17, 2020

some of the lectures are not necessary and it's very advanced

By vijayan L

Aug 18, 2022

one of the best course i have attended,a complete new experience and the course was designed in such a way to understand the real advertising world.wiiliam o barr was excellent and wish to meet him once to learn advertising in modern era,his presentation communication and examples where quite outstanding,the important skill in teaching is making everyone understand in the simplest form and he has nailed it .Thanks professor. My area of reserach is all about advertising and i would like to have an oppurtinity to visit Duke university and enchance my knowledge in the area of advertising.



By Gamze S S

Dec 13, 2020

By taking this course, i did not only learn what advertising is and it's link to society; i also learned what is advertisement? where did it come from? where does it go? How it's linked to the society? It was a very informing and brief; also very deep and comprehensive course. I really feel like ı learned something through this great course and as a senior at high school, i wish i could be at the Duke University to take all the other classes that ı can from the same instructer. Thank you for this amazing experience :)

By Aine G

Feb 11, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I took it to help me further my career and get a better understanding of advertising and the world I want to work in. It provided me with great of information and gave me a lot to think about, to research further and pay more attention to the advertising around me. I found that even though the majority of the examples and case studies were American I still found it useful and seen similarities in Ireland and Irish advertising. Thank you.

By Anton M

Jul 13, 2020

That was a great course. I really like the way professor William M. O'Barr gives the information. He is passionate about ads and this passion goes through listeners. I liked the week about strategy most because there I found out the way advertising agency works and has taken the decision to research and learn more about marketing strategy and research. Perhaps, the role of market strategist will be the next step in my career. Thanks a lot.

By Filip R

Jun 12, 2020

The structure of the course, the super RICH resources to read and the leading professor gave me so much insight in the history of advertising! The course taught me more than I already learned during 2 years of college which is a shame but still I am very Very happy for finding the course on coursera which was recommended somewhere on Instagram. Lots of hugs and thanks to the professor who was sharing his own experience and humor with us !

By Kyle C

Oct 17, 2022

Quite an engaging and thought-provoking course on the intricacies of advertising in our society today. Even more than 5 years after, the issues and concerns presented within it are still relevant. I appreciate the large number of examples given be it in print, video, or digi-ads.

This course really gives an insight to the real process behind advertising and through that I hope to make my own ads that probably wouldn't repeat history.

By igor b

Aug 10, 2020

The course was a major review of what I had already learned in college but with a more global bias. Understand how the advertising made here in Brazil can be so similar and at the same time have the cultural differences of each country. I loved the course, the platform and would definitely love to meet dear Professor William M. O'Barr, I already have him as someone of prestige. Thank you for all the content and knowledge!

By eunice a

Oct 18, 2020

This course have been extremely engaging and interesting for me. Prof. O'Barr made almost every topic come alive with his examples, vast knowledge and experience in the advertising field. Every topic has detailed information. This didn't feel like a course at all. it felt like practicing a hobby, it felt like I was doing something that i loved to do. Thankyou Prof. William O'Barr and Duke University for this opportunity.

By Mahreen M

Sep 13, 2020

Never for one minute it felt like a MOOC. Professor William O'Barr is an absolute delight to listen to. I am an advertising teach at a private university in Bangladesh. For me, this course meant so so much. I thank him from the bottom of my heart, that this course will help my students learn better with the materials he shared. Oh, the quizzes!! kudos on making me feel young again in fighting the nerves for the answers!!

By Jose R M J

Jun 25, 2017

Informative and thought-provoking, this course will equip you with the tools you need to look at advertising with a critical eye and to understand its relationship with our modern world beyond what meets the eye. Professor O'Barr is also an excellent teacher, and his passion for the material inspires you to continue learning, even beyond what's mentioned in the lectures.

By Gautam M

May 10, 2022

Its a very amazing course and gives a totally new insight into the world of advertising which is ever growing and is the factor for most of our purchases. Professsor O Barr is surely one of a kind with various in depth explanations which truly made the course and excellent one. As an advertiisng student this one surely opened my eye in the world of advertising

By Maria V S

Oct 6, 2020

Excellent course! Professor O'Barr classes are clear, complete and accurate. As an university professor myself of "Advertising and Consumer" in my country, Argentina, I've increased my knowledge about Advertising discovering very valuable points of view and new topics to research. And I liked the good level of the questions after each chapter. Congratulations!

By Mr. S P

Apr 15, 2020

The course is full of surprises unfolding in each corners. Even been exposed to much of the content, I could never see the angels Professor William M. O'Barr referred. I'm sure that I have developed lot of different perspectives to analyse an Advertisement when looking at it or sometimes not analyzing them at all, as to enjoy the visual pleasure out of it.

By Ravindra K

Apr 1, 2020

I have been student of marketing since 14 years, completing and experimenting so many techniques as professor mentioned in 7 week lecture, have never found so intriguing his point of views on advertising and how it persists. I am really thankful to professor that he added more insight to my continuos journey of learning marketing.

By Mohak B

Apr 17, 2020

This is an amazing course, it is very knowledgable and best for someone who is interested in advertising. This course covers everything from the history of advertising to how do ads get made to what the future of advertising looks like. I personally think that is a must-do course for someone who is interested in advertising.

By cogochi1997

Dec 24, 2018

It is the my first time to study through a course in Internet. The experience is amazing, since it opens a brand-new door for me to advertising and gives a chance to explore the advertising by additional resources. Thx a lot~ Professor is really really nice and erudite. And I will continue to learn more about advertising~

By Hotsaliuk H

May 16, 2020

Hello, I am from Ukraine and I am 20 years old. It was really interesting for me to know a lot of new information about advertising! The examples are really unforgettable (especially about Macintosh) and the teacher give us useful information. All the materials are in the high quallity. Thanks a lot.


Oct 7, 2020

Dear Williams & Everyone

In the primary, I'm appreciate to your wise & guide. It's marvelous to have studied this incredible online course (Advertising and Society) and have taken the online class with amazing lecturer. I hope one day I visit Duke University in the future soon.

Stay Safe.

Regards, WD

By gulsah y

May 11, 2020

Thank you for this amazing course during quarantine days. I have an interest for this topic so much and now with this course I have lots of information about it. Thank you so much to Coursea, Duke university an expecially Professor William O'Barr :) Çok teşekkürler :) (Gülşah from Turkey)

By Momoe K

Apr 23, 2020

Hi, I'm an ESL student. I was very glad to find that English in the course was less challenging than I expected. The course was so specific and entertaining that I could not believe I didn't have to pay for it. Visual materials such as pictures and videos were very helpful. Thank you.

By stevi j

Jun 25, 2020

Great Course!

This was the first time I have taken an online course that didn't bore me to tears. It was very clear that Professor O'Barr had a vast knowledge of the subjects and could discuss it for hours out of pure enjoyment of the subject. I would love to take another with him!

By Sarah J

May 27, 2020

A very excellent take on how advertisements are a part of society and in some cases history. The examples are insightful and very effective. Many questions have been raised in my mind and I hope to study more on this topic to get some answers. Thank you very much for this course.