cover of book

Tangled Goods: The Practical Life of Pro Bono Advertising
by Iddo Tavory, Sonia Prelat and Shelly Ronen
University of Chicago Press, 2022
Paper: 978-0-226-82018-7 | eISBN: 978-0-226-82017-0 | Cloth: 978-0-226-82016-3
Library of Congress Classification HF5822.T38 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 659.1019

A novel investigation of pro bono marketing and the relationship between goods, exploring the complex moral dimensions of philanthropic advertising.
The advertising industry may seem like one of the most craven manifestations of capitalism, turning consumption into a virtue. In Tangled Goods, authors Iddo Tavory, Sonia Prelat, and Shelly Ronen consider an important dimension of the advertising industry that appears to depart from the industry’s consumerist foundations: pro bono ad campaigns. Why is an industry known for biting cynicism and cutthroat competition also an industry in which people dedicate time and effort to “doing good”?
Interviewing over seventy advertising professionals and managers, the authors trace the complicated meanings of the good in these pro bono projects. Doing something altruistic, they show, often helps employees feel more at ease working for big pharma or corporate banks. Often these projects afford them greater creative leeway than they normally have, as well as the potential for greater recognition. While the authors uncover different motivations behind pro bono work, they are more interested in considering how various notions of the good shift, with different motivations and benefits rising to the surface at different moments. This book sheds new light on how goodness and prestige interact with personal and altruistic motivations to produce value for individuals and institutions and produces a novel theory of the relationship among goods: one of the most fraught questions in sociological theory.

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