Home Institution

Kenyon College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


My objectives for this report were to find out how advertisements affect sociocultural evolution (the enhancement or diminishing of development) in Kampala, Uganda. I also wanted to find out whether multinational corporations influence the aspirations of the urban population by promoting a Western lifestyle within their advertisements. To gather the information for this report, I interned at the WBS television network in Kampala for five weeks, and conducted interviews with employees there and at advertising agencies in the city. I found that companies that advertise on television affect Kampalan society in ways that are not always obvious. They contribute a huge amount of funding to networks via advertising, giving them leverage in what can and cannot be aired on the network. Advertisements can influence the desires, aspirations, and values of the public by promoting certain lifestyles over others. However, it is not usually to a company’s benefit to impose a Western lifestyle on Kampalans through advertisements. Advertisements need to speak directly to the target audience, which only sometimes entails promoting Western values. Companies that put effort into conducting research on the target audience, and position their advertisements within appropriate contexts, tend to gain more consumers. Additionally, people who aspire to lead a life similar to the one portrayed in an advertisement may work harder to earn more income, in effect contributing to a capitalistic society. This is only effective, however, if the lifestyle seems realistically achievable for the target audience. Future research on this topic includes studying the effects of multinational corporations on capitalism, the extent to which companies are able to influence network programming and content


Communication | Communication Technology and New Media | Social Influence and Political Communication

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