According to some cultural theorists, advertising is deeply implicated in the phenomenon of globalisation, yet the management of advertising agencies has attracted much less attention from researchers than advertising itself. Analyses of the cultural economy of advertising have tended to neglect the constitutive management practices of agencies, preferring instead to see advertising as an institution driven by exogenous cultural and economic forces. In this chapter we review a range of research into advertising to substantiate this position before outlining some of the literature that deals with the main roles, functions and processes of advertising production. We then draw on several empirical studies, including some previously unpublished data, to try to pull together strands of advertising management practices in three countries: the United Kingdom, Thailand and the United States.
Advertising and promotional strategies and styles differ very much around the world, in response to national and regional marketing communications environments. Language, economic history and consumer culture, the communications and broadcasting infrastructure and legal and regulatory environments, among other things, create contrasting priorities for ad agencies and clients. This applies even when they are selling the same products in different countries. The management of advertising within agencies around the world, however, does not differ so strikingly, and employees in international agency groups can be quite mobile internationally. Nevertheless, agencies tend to have a very local feel.