Branded Content Research Network Events 2017 and Call for Papers

Branded Content Research Network Events Notices and Call for Papers

The Branded Content Research Network is an academic network project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. The network seeks to bring together academic researchers, industry and civil society interests to explore the practices and implications of branded content, native advertising and the convergence of media and marketing communications. We are organising two events in association with the ECREA Advertising Research Group, a temporary working group with the European Communication Research and Education Association.

Seminar on Comparative and Collaborative Research into Branded Content
Thursday 15 June, 10am-5pm
University of East London
Stratford, London

The purpose of this seminar is to explore comparative research into branded content and discuss the development of collaborative research agendas and approaches. The seminar addresses the study of branded content, content marketing, native advertising and associated forms of integration of media and marketing communications.

The June event is designed to promote, share and discuss research into branded content carried out by international researchers in single-country or multi-country studies. For discussion, we wish to explore insights from these studies regarding research design, methods, approaches, findings and implications and suggestions for future research. We want to explore the state of the field, research resources and capacity-building and discuss agendas and resources for collaborative research.

We invite contributions on topics including the organisation, production, reception and regulation of branded content. We also invite contributions that address theoretical, methodological, institutional, resource and capacity issues, academic relationships with industry and other stakeholders, collaboration and networking relevant to the advancement of international and comparative research and collaborative research into branded content.

Deadline for abstracts: 3 April 2017
Please send abstracts (250 words max) to Prof. Jonathan Hardy , Principal Investigator Branded Content Network and Prof. Patricia Núñez (Chair, ECREA Advertising TRG) –

Branded Content Research Network Conference 7-8 November
The seminar in June is part of a programme of events culminating in our Branded Content Research Network conference on 7-8 November at the University of East London. The conference will include meetings and events on the afternoon and evening of 7 November and a one-day conference on 8 November. Keynote speakers at the conference include Dr Anne Cronin, Lancaster University, whose books include Advertising, Commercial Spaces and the Urban, and Advertising Myths; Dr Mara Einstein of New York University, author of Black Ops Advertising; Professor Joseph Turow, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, author of The Daily You, Breaking Up America, Media Today and The Aisles Have Eyes.

We invite interested members of the Advertising TWG to participate and join us for each of these events. Both the June seminar and November conference are free and open to interested researchers and we invite you to join us. We do not have funds to assist with travel unfortunately.

We realise that most members of the TWG who are based outside the UK will only be able to attend one of these events so we want to offer this guidance for those who would like to respond to the call for papers. The June event will be a good opportunity to present research papers or papers that contribute to the seminar topics. We warmly invite doctoral students and early-career researchers to apply for the June event, as well as mid-career and senior researchers. The conference will be a larger event. It will also include paper sessions but, rather than provide a platform for individual research, papers will be arranged around themed panels to address conference topics. these will be arranged around themed panels and will be more topic based rather than presenting individual research. For doctoral students and early-career researchers, in particular, the better opportunity to present your work for discussion will be the June event. We will endeavour to provide opportunities too at the conference but these may be more limited depending on the nature of panel sessions and plenary sessions.

For this call for papers for the June seminar we invite you to submit an abstract by 3 April 2017. We will confirm invitations to present by 28 April.

Please send abstracts (250 words max) to Prof. Jonathan Hardy and Prof. Patricia Núñez (Chair, ECREA Advertising TRG) –

There will be a separate call for papers for the 7-8 November conference shortly that will be disseminated to ECREA members and posted on the Branded Content Research Network website. The deadline for abstract submissions will be 30 May 2017.

About the Branded Content Research Network
The academic network is funded and based in the UK but one of our main aims is to contribute to building capacity for European-wide and beyond that international research networking and so we are delighted to work in partnership with the ECREA Advertising TWG. We invite you to join us. To subscribe to our mailing list please send an Subject: BLANK Message: SUBSCRIBE BRANDEDCONTENTRESEARCHNETWORK Firstname Lastname
You can also subscribe via our website. For more details please visit

Prof. Jonathan Hardy, University of East London; Principal Investigator
Prof. Iain MacRury, Bournemouth University; Co-Investigator

About the Advertising Research TWG
We are delighted to have the opportunity to work and share the CFP with the Branded Content Research Network. Advertising encompasses more than traditional ways of communication and new formats are emerging in marketing communication strategies. The establishment of the Advertising Research Temporary Working Group is informed by the belief that advertising is a particularly salient area of inquiry today. Our group, sets out to strengthen theoretical reasoning, critical reflection and empirical exploration in advertising research as an inherent part of communication and media studies. We also collaborate with different TWG and sections in Ecrea and other international associations.

Prof. Patricia Núñez, Complutense University, Spain. Chair of ARTWG
Prof. Guido Zurstiegen, university of Tuebingen, Germany

New Books: Critical Studies in Advertising

Here is a round up of three new academic books exploring contemporary advertising.

Explorations in Critical Studies of Advertising
Edited by James F. Hamilton, Robert Bodle, Ezequiel Korin

‘This volume provides a thoughtful and wide-ranging exploration of approaches to the critical study of advertising. Current and impending practices of advertising have in many ways exceeded the grasp of traditional modes of critique, due at least in part to their being formulated in very different historical conditions. To begin to address this lag, this edited collection explores through critical discussion and application a variety of critical approaches to advertising. Authors address a variety of concrete examples in their chapters, drawing on existing research while presenting new findings where relevant. In order to maintain the relevance of this collection past this particular historical moment, however, chapters do not simply report on empirical work, but develop a theoretical argument.’

Book details from the publisher are here

There are chapters written by members of the Branded Content Research Network. Jonathan Hardy, Principal Investigator, wrote the first chapter ‘Marketers’ Influence on Media: Renewing the Radical Tradition for the Digital Age’. ‘The Mood of Information in an Age of Empathic Media’ is written by Andrew McStay, a member of the Advisory Board. Two of the book’s editors, James F. Hamilton and Robert Bodle are international advisory members for the Network. James F. Hamilton is Professor of New Media and Director of the New Media Institute at the University of Georgia, USA, and Robert Bodle is Associate Professor of Communication and New Media Studies at Mount St. Joseph University and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at Miami University, USA. He served as Co-Chair of the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition at the UN Internet Governance Forum, and as a steering committee member of the IRP coalition since 2010.

Nicholas Holm, Advertising and Consumer Society: A Critical Introduction, Palgrave
An introduction to the critical study of advertising, exploring its role in our contemporary cultural landscape and its connections to larger economic, social and political forces. Written in an engaging and accessible style, the book provides students with the key concepts, methods and debates they will need to analyse and understand advertising.

Book details from the publisher are here.

Nick Holm is Lecturer of Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand.

Andrew McStay, Digital Advertising, 2nd Edition, Palgrave

In order to comprehend modern media, we need to understand how advertising works. Digital Advertising provides an assessment of contemporary and emergent advertising techniques that drive the world’s largest media companies.

The second edition has been fully updated to account for the re-shaped advertising industry and transformed media landscape since the publication of the first edition, taking on topics including the creative uses of technology, novel modes of storytelling, adblocking, the pre-eminence of analytics and big data, privacy, growing interest in data about emotional life, and alarm about the role of artificial intelligence and automation in advertising.

Incorporating an increased number of case studies and analyses of campaigns, this timely and engaging text is an essential resource for students, academics and anyone interested in advertising and media.

Book details are here

Andrew is a member of the Branded Content Network Advisory Board.

We’re open, please come in

Welcome. Thank you for finding us and I hope you join us for this exciting new project. The Branded Content Research Network seeks to to bring together academic researchers, industry and civil society interests to explore the practices and implications of branded content, native advertising and the convergence of media and marketing communications.

Something profound is underway in the relationship between marketers and media. Increasingly media and marketing are merging. After the digital ‘big bang’ advertisers have an ever-expanding universe of opportunities to present brand information to consumers. Print display ads, television spots and outdoor posters all remain heavily used forms of ‘paid’ media, but brands increasing produce their own branded media content (‘owned’ media) and they seek to integrate advertising more seamlessly into the editorial forms and flows of publishing, audio and audiovisual content, and social communications. Marketers are moving past banner ads and into forms of ‘native advertising’ where marketing is integrated into digital content so as to be ‘native’ to the editorial environment in which it appears. The integration of media and advertising is not new, but it is intensifying. Branded content is occurring in a multitude of mutating forms across news media, entertainment and social media.

Most of the analysis and discussion of branded content to date has occurred within the work of industry practitioners, trade associations and specialist trade media. Yet the growth of branded content and native advertising engages a much wider range of concerns about the implications for content producers and consumers, concerns that criss-cross work and business, education, politics, culture and civil society. This network aims to support, connect and promote academic research and study and to provide opportunities for discussion and exchange between academics, industry and civil society. Why has branded content grown so rapidly? How is this reshaping what content providers do, think and feel? What kinds of research do we have on production, distribution and consumption of branded content, and what is needed? How do different stakeholders perceive the benefits and costs of integrating advertising into media?

Branded content is both an economic and cultural phenomena that requires cross-disciplinary resources and new approaches to media and marketing analysis. It is a significant part of the economic dimensions of media, as media enterprises seek advertising revenue, but it is also profoundly cultural, affecting the ways content and communications are produced, used and shared. It marks the development of digital marketing practices and the merging of ‘paid’ (advertising),’earned’ (public relations), ‘owned’ (marketers’ content) and ‘shared’ (social media) communications. Assessing the impact and policy implications of these practices requires a better understanding of the cultural forms and practices that are developing amongst producers and users, and the attitudes of those affected. Fast-evolving practices of media-marketing integration also challenge existing rules and regulations and require research to inform debate on the values and objectives for public policy and the suitability of different forms of governance. This network project aims to investigate the changing relationships between media and marketing and to promote research, collaboration and dialogue across a very wide range of interests and perspectives.

The first in a series of seminars will be held on 3 November 2016 at the University of East London. With the theme ‘Investigating Branded Content’, members of the network and invited speakers from industry will discuss the scope of branded content practices today, survey existing research, and consider key research needs and research questions from a variety of perspectives.

Please sign up to our mailing list and join us.

Jonathan Hardy
Principal Investigator, Branded Content Research Network
Professor of Media and Communications, University of East London


The project formally began on 1 September 2016. Some of the members of the advisory group for the Branded Content Research Network met together for the first time on 6 September. Those present included Prof. Jonathan Hardy, Principal Investigator/UEL; Prof.Iain MacRury, Co-Investigator/Bournemouth University; Andrew Canter, CEO of the Branded Content Marketing Association; Prof. Chris Hackley, Royal Holloway University, Nusrat Ahmed, Research Impact Officer, UEL, and (via Skype) Dr. Andrew McStay, Bangor University.