Business course - Brands and Culture

Brands and culture

Brands and culture (45 h)

The process of globalization, which includes global markets, international corporations, digital communications, and media convergence, has created a new ecosystem for Marketing, Advertising, and Branding.  

Popular Culture is also a significant influence on these areas and is a cohesive idea for collective or generation imaginaries. The purpose of this course is to understand this influence by examining the representation and construction of different brands and cultural ideas in the new Spanish context through case studies (local and global brands).

Course 2024-2025

Course 2024-2025

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Group: 10
Group: 10

Learn how to analyze brands in this business course at the University of Barcelona regarding Branding, Marketing, Advertising, and Popular Culture.

The class will meet twice a week for 1 hour 30 minutes. Quick presentations are scheduled to summarize and discuss the topic of the week. Presentations will be delivered orally. The rest of the class work will involve traditional lectures, discussions and analysis. There will be also specific workshops where the students will reflect on their learning processes.


Unjustified absences will affect the final grade. Students must attend approximately 80% of the classes. That means that every student should attend at least 11 of the 14 classes during the semester. If they don´t, they won´t have the right to sit the final exam.


Class participation: 10%  

Oral Presentation: 20% 

Workshops: 30%  

Final work: 40%


Class Participation (10%): The teacher will consider if the student makes significant & original contributions that spark discussion, offering critical comments based on readings, research & attention in class. Attendance and punctuality are expected.  

Oral Presentation (10%): Oral Presentations are going to summarize and further investigate the discussion topic of the week. Presentations will be done twice and in pairs. Students should be able to introduce ideas and thoughts dealing with the topic, generate debates among classmates and use language effectively. The teacher will organize the calendar of presentations at the beginning of the course. Each individual of the group/pair will be given the same grade.  

Workshops (30%): Different activities such as:  

• Branding and Marketing Strategy (10%): Each group (1-2 students) will re-think and re-define a Branding and Marketing new strategy for a brand.  

• Transmedia workshop (10%): Each group will look for a real case; make an analysis of the transmedia universe phenomenon and find a non-transmedia brand case and imagine different actions for it.  

• Social media task (10%): Since this course is also based on new kinds of media and storytelling, the student will have an assignment related to social media: This task will be focused on the creation of different advertising and marketing narratives through different multimedia platforms.  

Mid-term exam (20%): The Mid-term exam will take place on the seventh week of the course, and it will be based on the contents mastered on the first part of the course.  

Final work (30%): The final work will be submitted on the last day of the course. It will be based on the course material you have learned up until that point and will test your ability to accurately and effectively present ideas. There are two options for the final work: A) Write an essay analyzing the marketing strategies of a Spanish brand, B) Create a new marketing and advertising campaign for a Spanish brand, either pre-existing or new, that includes cultural trends and digital skills across various social media platforms.


The course aims to teach students about the major issues related to brands, which can be products, services or institutions. It will cover topics such as the impact of technological and digital changes, modern marketing and communication terminology, the intercultural strategies for global branding, and how to engage with consumer groups. The course will also examine key aspects of popular culture, such as mass media advertising, transmedia advertising, social media trends, and the cultural background of a country.  

The course is divided into two sections. The first section will focus on the fundamental concepts of branding, marketing, advertising, and popular culture studies. The second section will cover different topics and case studies, including the Barcelona brand before and after the Olympics, the Madrid Olympics and World Cup candidacy case. It will also look at FC Barcelona as a Spanish soccer ambassador, Spanish fashion design with Zara and Custo Barcelona, the new cooking and Mediterranean diet era, and new professional representatives in brands such as influencers and new storytelling.  

First Part: Nonfiction  

• Society and Consumption: New Consumer Groups  

• Branding: from local to global Brands 

• New forms of Advertising: From the Mass Media to the Digital Environments  

• New Marketing and Communication Strategies  

• The emergence of an Alternative Media: Media Convergence and Transmedia Storytelling • Corporate Social Responsibility and Crisis Communication  

Second Part: Fiction  

• Cultural connections into the Spanish Brands  

• Popular Culture as a Trend  

• Intangible and immaterial Brands: Barcelona/Madrid Brands, FCB, and other popular cases  

• Influencers: the new Spanish Ambassadors  

• From “La Españolada” to the Global Spanish Brand Models  

• The Brand Spain and other Cultural Imaginaries.


• COFFEY, A.J. (2014). The power of cultural factors in Spanish-language advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 54, Issue 3, Pages 346- 355.  

• ESPINAR-RUIZ, E., GONZÁLEZ, C. (2012). Gender portrayals in food commercials. A content analysis of Spanish television advertisements. Observatorio, Vol. 6, Issue 4, Pages 109-126.  

• GARCÍA, S. C., GARCÍA, D. A., & BLANCO, T. P. (2017). Practices, skills and trends in digital advertising. The perspective of Spanish advertisers. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, (72), 1648-1669.  

• HARDIN, K. J. F. (1999). Pragmatics in persuasive discourse of Spanish television advertising. The University of Texas at Austin.  

• JENKINS, H. (2004). The cultural logic of media convergence. International journal of cultural studies, 7(1), 33-43.  

• KINDER, M. (1997). Refiguring Spain: Cinema, Media, Representation. Duke University Press: North Carolina, United States.  

• O'SULLIVAN, E. L., & SPANGLER, K. J. (1998). Experience marketing: strategies for the new Millennium. Venture Publishing Inc.  

• RIUS ULLDEMOLINS, J., & ZAMORANO, M. M. (2015). Spain’s nation branding project Marca España and its cultural policy: the economic and political instrumentalization of a homogeneous and simplified cultural image. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 21(1), 20-40.  

• SCHWARZL, S., & GRABOWSKA, M. (2015). Online marketing strategies: the future is here. Journal of International Studies, 8(2), 187- 196.  

• TAI, F. M., & CHUANG, S. H. (2014). Corporate social responsibility. Ibusiness, 6(03), 117. 

Note: The teacher will tell you during the course which articles you´ll have to read in order to do the oral presentation.

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