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Supported by the SPIM program and hosted by the Institut des sciences de la communication (Institute for Communication Sciences) in Paris, the conference, From the advertising industry to public relations: the tools of influence of international corporations aims at creating bridges between academic research, critical analysis by several associations, and the works of journalists and experts from the private sector.

In order to facilitate an impact beyond french borders, and in relationship with Subvertisers International network, the conference has been designed to be translated and broadcasted in english.

Four thematic half-days («cycles») will be organized over this two-days conference, each of which will include two successive round tables. Over the first day and a half, the debates will revolve around:

  • First on cultural and economic stake of consumer society (Cycle 1)
  • then on the effects advertising funding of medias and of the internet (Cycle 2)
  • lastly on the comercial or political influence of corporate communication (Cycle 3)

The last afternoon (Cycle 4) will be more transversal and focused first and foremost on the alternatives associations can offer to take back ownership of the tools of communication of influence in order to help citizens. As a conclusion to the event, several public institutions will present their work and considerations regarding the issues debated during the conference. Including the conference will give the flow to Farida Shaheed, ex-special rapporteur du Human Right Council who produced in 2014 a report entirely dedicated to advertising regulation issues.

The analysis developed throughout the event will aim at providing food for thought for civil society organizations in France regarding what is at stake in the communication of international corporations. With the help of the SPIM program, these reflections will enable the production of a public report scheduled for 2019 winter.

Why a conference on advertising activities ?

Climate change and the rise of inequalities have challenged the consumer society model. Big brand companies especially are under fire due to the level of influence they have achieved on consumers’ daily lives and on policy-making. Through the purchase of advertising spaces and on the big data market, their influence may even reach media activity and impact the development of the world wide web. A major transition towards the internet of things awaits us, and social issues linked to the influence and communication of large companies must be clearly understood by all citizens.

This is all the more important that the communication strategies of such corporations sometimes create direct barriers to awareness and outreach campaigns that associations (environmental organizations, free internet activists, consumers associations, independent media and associations for the regulation of international corporations…) may organize in different industries. Complicated communication systems have also been analyzed by Media and communication studies, which play a major role in social and political sciences and now have access to a wide range of efficient analysis tools.