Handbook Editors Q&A: Routledge Handbook of Political Advertising

Christina Holtz-Bacha & Marion R. Just are editors of the recently published title, Routledge Handbook of Political Advertising. Thematic chapters address advertising effects, negative ads, the perspective of practitioners and gender role.

We caught up with Christina & Marion to discuss this exciting new title and its relevance in today's political climate...

Routledge Handbook of Political Advertising (Hardback) book coverThis Handbook provides the most comprehensive overview of the role of electoral advertising on television and new forms of advertising in countries from all parts of the world currently available. Thematic chapters address advertising effects, negative ads, the perspective of practitioners and gender role. 

Country chapters summarize research on issues including political and electoral systems; history of ads; the content of ads; reception and effects of ads; regulation of political advertising on television and the Internet; financing political advertising; and prospects for the future.

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1. Congratulations on the publication of your book Routledge Handbook of Political Advertising. What do you want your audience to take away from the book?

Christina: Just as commercial advertising, political advertising (how it is designed, its strategies and to what extent it is employed for electoral campaigning) is dependent on its cultural environment. Similarities and differences across countries can only be understood by taking the 'culture' of a political system into account and this is what the book demonstrates with contributions from all parts of the world.

Marion: The book emphasizes the variety of electoral systems around the world and how regulations constrain the kind of advertising viewers get to see.

2. What inspired you to get involved in this handbook?

Christina: Much of my work has been comparative and I'm particularly fascinated by the impact culture has on advertising.

Marion: I teach campaigns and elections, and students are perennially excited by the topic.My previous research on candidate gender and the impact of the Internet on politics spurred my interest in political advertising.

3. Two-part question: 3a) Why is your book relevant to present day political advertising? 3b) How do you think the study of political advertising is evolving today?

Christina: With the rise of social media we are experiencing a profound change of election campaigning which provides for new ways of speaking to voters and will have consequences for traditional campaigning and electoral advertising in particular.

Marion: This book examines the role of on-line advertising in each system.Most systems do not regulate on-line advertising at all or as strictly as other forms.The difference provides an opening for new forms of communication in systems with an aversion to advertising in general.

4. What makes your book stand out from its competitors?

Christina: With its international and broad perspective, I don't think the book has competitors.

5. What did you enjoy about working on this handbook?

Christina: It's always a challenge to coordinate a book with chapters from all over the world but it's also an enormous pleasure to deal with people from different backgrounds and learn about other cultures.

Marion: The book provides numerous examples of new solutions to questions about regulation as well as new kinds of content.

6. What are your academic backgrounds?

Christina: I'm a Professor in Communications at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. Before coming to Nuremberg, I taught at the universities of Mainz, Bochum, and Munich. I also was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Minneapolis/USA, a Research Fellow at the Shorenstein Center/Harvard University/USA and a Guest Researcher at the University of Gothenburg/Sweden.

Marion: I have taught at a liberal arts college for more than 45 years and I have published several books and many articles in the field of political communication.

7. What first attracted you to advertising as an area of study within political science?

Christina: The US experience because it was so different from what I knew about electoral TV advertising in Europe.

Marion: Americans are bombarded with ads which make citizens and researcher naturally curious about the effects.Because the advertising in the U.S. is so dependent on private funds and participation by outside groups (PACs), the process raises questions of equity.

8. How do you feel the USA’s lack of regulation on electoral advertising, had an effect on the 2016 election result?

Marion: Political advertising itself did not change in the 2016 election.What was different was the candidates’ traditional reliance on televised ads.In particular candidate Donald Trump’s communications strategy gave him an enormous amount of free coverage in the press.He enhanced that coverage by using Twitter to communicate with voters and outrage his opponents and critics.

9. You have both been involved in another book with Routledge, Twitter and Elections Around the World, what encourages you to keep working with us?

Christina: A professional attitude and support whenever it is needed.

Marion: I am particularly impressed with the communication between the authors and the editorial staff and the speed at which Routledge books are produced.I found the editorial guidelines, and the in-house indexing especially useful compared to other presses I have worked with.I was encouraged by the numerous communications that I personally receive about Routledge books.


Dr. Christina Holtz-Bacha is Professor of Communications at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. Before she went to Nuremberg, she was teaching at the universities in Mainz, Bochum and Munich. She was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (1986), a Research Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, Harvard University (1999), a Guest Researcher at the Political Commu¬nication Center at the University of Oklahoma in Norman (1995; 1996) and at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2011). She is presently Chair of the Political Communication Research Section of IAMCR. She is a co-editor of the German communication journal Publizistik and a member of the editorial boards of several international journals. Her main research interests are in political communication, media systems and European media policy. Among her most recent publications are The Routledge Handbook of Political Advertising (2017, edited with Marion Just), Political Campaigning in the Public Space. Election Posters around the Globe (2017, edited with Bengt Johansson) and Handbook on Political Populism (2017, edited with Reinhard Heinisch and Oscar Mazzoleni) and Political Advertising in the 2014 European Parliament Elections (2017, edited with Edoardo Novelli and Kevin Rafter).

© FAU, Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften


Marion R. Just is Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and an Associate of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her research in political science focuses on elections, politics and the media. She has published several co-authored books and articles in professional journals.

Additional Publication from Christina Holtz-Bacha & Marion R. Just

Twitter and Elections Around the World: Campaigning in 140 Characters or Less, edited by Richard Davis, Christina Holtz-Bacha, Marion R. Just. Eloquently combining theory and practice, established and rising scholars in the field of political communication have been brought together to provide an essential overview of the influence of Twitter on elections in a comparative perspective. 

Click on the book cover image below for a peak at the Introduction...

Twitter and Elections Around the World: Campaigning in 140 Characters or Less (Paperback) book cover