Promotional industries and platformised logics in the digital age

Guest editors:

Clea Bourne, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. Gisela G. S. Castro, Advanced School of Advertising and Marketing (ESPM), São Paulo, Brazil. Luiz Peres-Neto, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. Sergio Amadeu da Silveira, Federal University of ABC, Brazil.

Deadline for abstracts:

1 July 2022. Expected date of publication – April 2023.

Digital platforms have emerged as a new means of production in the wider global economy by extracting, circulating and controlling vast amounts of data as an economic, social and political asset. The metaphorical term ‘platform’ describes an infrastructure that enables two or more groups to interact, combining big data, cloud and mobile telephony together as an increasingly competitive weapon.

Platforms have transformed global promotional industries, which include advertising, branding, marketing, sponsorship and public relations. Moreover, the production logics of platformisation have given rise to new promotional occupations such as digital content marketing, ecommerce, programmatic advertising, social media management and user experience (UX) design, to name a few.

While the impact of digital platformisation has been at the forefront of various interdisciplinary debates, there has to date been limited attempt to understand the collective impact of platformisation and algorithmic logics on the global promotional industries.

More than quarter of a century ago, the Birmingham School gave us the Circuit of Culture as a way to think about production, consumption and representation in the cultural economy. The model helped in apprehending the promotional fields as representational activity, situated between production and consumption, and responsible for circulating products and services as well as ideas.

As digital platforms speed up distribution processes, bringing producers and consumers together in increasingly ‘frictionless’ ways, the gaps between many forms of digital production and consumption are closing. In the platform economy, promotional outputs (e.g. advertisement, branded content or sponsored video) are no longer bounded by time, while the media through which promotional outputs circulate now operates more logistically and algorithmically than it does narratively or representationally, as digital content attracts and organises users, places and things across time and space.

How then should we understand promotional activity in the digital age? We welcome contributions that consider any of the following questions:

  • How should we understand digital platforms and their relationship with promotional industries, their workers, their inputs and outputs? Here we acknowledge that some platforms such as Amazon, Facebook and Google are themselves promotional entities, numbering among the largest advertising companies in the world.
  • What are the implications of recent technological developments such as shoppable TV, preparations for Facebook’s metaverse, or the prospective demise of third party cookies?
  • Who are the new promotional intermediaries? What is the future for traditional promotional roles? How are traditional promotional roles positioned against emerging specialisms such as data insight, content strategy, social media management or user experience design?
  • To what extent do contemporary promotional devices, tools and outputs represent new approaches? Contributions might explore anything from conversion funnels to in-house technology stacks, from analytics to tracking tools, from mobile apps to promotional bots and virtual brand influencers.
  • Are there local, regional alternatives to programmatic networks controlled by major platforms that belong to groups such as Alphabet or Meta? Does the current supremacy of Big Techs eliminate the value of national advertising markets and render them hostage to these North American technological giants?
  • The platform economy is intertwined with massive extraction of data. Machine learning and deep learning technologies also depend on data storage. Theories such as spectacularisation, control societies, surveillance capitalism or data driven economy attempt to cover the phenomena of conversion of life flows into data. What are the concepts and theories that allow us to better deepen our analyses of promotional industries and platformised logics in the digital age?
  • Finally, how and where can we gauge the changes within promotional industries empirically and theoretically, especially when much of promotional activity is opaque or difficult to trace?

In addition to the questions posed above, contributors might also consider the following topics for article development, including but not limited to:

  • AR/VR interfaces
  • Big vs small – campaigns, devices, markets,
  • Circuits of algorithmic culture
  • Disruption, distribution, disarticulation
  • Ethical issues, marginalisation and social justice
  • Human-machine communication
  • New promotional intermediaries
  • Promotional devices and tools
  • Working conditions and labour in promotional industries.

Comunicação Mídia e Consumo is an Open Access, Scopus-based journal, which aims to bring together research and scholarship exploring interactions between the promotional industries, technologies, and the media. There is no article processing charge. Submissions in Portuguese, English and Spanish welcome.


1 July 2022 – Closing date for submission of 800 word abstract (please use the website for submissions:

1 August 2022 – Invitation to submit full-length papers

31 October 2022 – Deadline for submitting full-length papers (submissions to website –

15 January 2023 – Announcement of articles selected for publication

30 April 2023 – Publication of Special Issue

For further information contact: Dr Clea Bourne, Dept of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London. (c.bourne /at/ . @bourne_clea.