A critical review of the costs of advertising: a tranformative consumer research perspective

Joseph L. Scarpaci*, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Ronnie Ballantyne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This critical literature review incorporates a transformative consumer research (TCR) perspective in highlighting selected transgressions in corporate social responsibility that touch on (1) wealth consolidation, (2) environmental degradation, (3) commodification, (4) semiotic contamination, and (5) an erosion of accountability. It argues for a participatory approach among stakeholders in sustaining marketing research and assessing consumer policy that is both ethical and critical for academic marketers and practitioners alike. Transformative consumer researchers work to ensure that advertisements, messaging, and integrated marketing communications play a key role in promoting honesty and transparency. At the same time, transformative consumer research recognizes that advertising often masks the underlying costs incurred by society in general, and consumers in particular. TCR practices presently exist, and examples are presented to highlight these practices in consumer policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-140
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Consumer Policy
Early online date24 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • advertising
  • integrated marketing communications
  • transformative consumer research
  • corporate social responsibility
  • ethics


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