Department of Informatics and Media

Seminar on Participatory Advertising organized in Colombia


The Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University, in collaboration with the Participatory Communication Research (PCR) section of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) successfully organized a 1-day seminar titled, Participatory Advertising: a global approach with a Latin American focus, at Uniminuto headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia on the 14 July 2017.

The main organizer of the seminar was Professor Ana Duarte Melo, the Vice-Chair of the IAMCR-PCR section. The seminar brought together representatives of the advertising industry, advertising agencies, consumer and citizen associations and members of the academia in a lively discussion about the changing landscape of participation and advertising.

Professor Nico Carpentier, Media and Communication Studies Chair at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University, kicked-off the seminar with his presentation, titled “Outside the Comfort Zone: Participation, Persuasion and Consumption”. Also representing the department Siddharth Chadha, doctoral student in Media and Communication Studies, presented a paper on “Community Media and Advertising in India”.

A synopsis of the event

Being one of the most influential institutions of our times, advertising has been enduring structural and conceptual changes that open new possibilities for consumer participation in the advertising process and its outputs. Driven by new technologies and a media ecology that is changing how we engage in society, fuelled by consumer awareness and agency on one side and by the advertising industry unending quest for new and impactful forms of communication on the other, participatory advertising involves co-creation and shared contents between all stakeholders.

The participants of the seminar reflected on the following questions:

  • How is consumer-citizen participation changing advertising?
  • What power (im) balances does it convey? Is it more effective?
  • Does participation question the power of brands or, on the contrary, makes them stronger?
  • What challenges does participation pose to the advertising industry? And to consumers?

A brief of the proceedings

J. Ignacio "Iñaki" Chaves G., Director of the Master’s Degree in Communication, Development and Social Change, Faculty of Communication Sciences, Uniminuto Bogota welcomed the international audience of the seminar. Opening the event, Alejandro Bermudez, General Creative Director of McCann Colombia, presented the famous "Balígrafo", a bullet transformed into a pen with which the 2016 peace treaty was signed, putting an end to more than 50 years of conflict in Colombia.

The 1-day seminar featured thirteen presentations from different stakeholders reflecting upon questions of participation and advertising. Each presentation was followed by a Q & A session between the presenter and the audience.

The first session provided a theoretical framework for understanding participation and advertising and to reinvigorate advertising studies by focussing on advertising as a breaking ground for citizenship, social interaction and consumer participation modes, without giving up on more critical approaches.

The second session focused on alternative models of socially responsible advertising towards the community, with examples of critical observation, memory preservation, urban art and collaborative economy.

The third session provided disruptive examples of citizen action in and through advertising, whether by appropriating and reconquering urban spaces, local languages and forms of advertising expression or by proposing behaviour and attitude change towards a post-consumption culture.

The last session of the day was devoted to an open dialogue between the presenters. In their closing statements, Ana Duarte Melo (the main organizer and vic-Chair of the IAMCR-PCR section) and Nico Carpentier (Chair of the IAMCR-PCR section) appreciated the hosts, Uniminuto, for their help in organizing the seminar and thanked the presenters for providing inspirational insights into the present and future of Participatory Advertising.

The evening had a cultural surprise in store for the participants who were treated with Andean songs performed by Makawara, a music group of the students from Uniminuto Bogotá.

IAMCR Participatory Communication Research Section

Nico Carpentier, professor in media and communication studies at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University.

Siddharth Chadha, doctoral student in media and communication studies at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University.