This book examines the commercial speech of advertising as a cultural phenomenon whose social significance far exceeds its economic influence. Jhally argues that by selling viewing time to advertisers, television converts audiences into laborers who "work" for the media in the same way that workers do in a factory. By watching commercial messages on TV, viewers actively create symbolic meaning, but also generate profit for the media in return for the wage of entertainment.
"presents a detailed analysis of the specific political economy of the commercial, examining the way that, during advertising time on television, meaning is not only being generated in the relation between people and commercial messages, but is framed by the valorization of that watching activity." -- Journal of Economic Literature
1. Introduction: Fundamentals and Starting Points 2. The Fetishism of Commodities 3. The Valorisation of Consciousness 4. The Codes of the Audience 5. Advertising Codes and Fetishism 6. Conclusion: Advertising, Religion and the Mediation of Meaning