2018 CMCS Keynote – Elliot Pill

CMCS 7th International Conference 

Bridging Gaps: Where is Ethical Glamour in Celebrity Culture?
Alfama Room, Inspira Santa Marta
Lisbon, Portugal

July 1 – 3, 2018


Day 1 Opening Keynote

Elliot Pill
Senior Lecturer, School of Journalism, Media and Culture,
Cardiff University, UK

Model Behavior? Celebrities and ethically questionable promotional methods in the digital age

Professor Aeron Davis (2013) argued: “Promotion appears everywhere, so much so that we no longer notice… It is common to ask questions about how finance, globalisation, digital technologies and war shape our world, but no-one asks much about our promotion-saturated world.” More recently the New York Times identified a ‘follower factory’ business, allegedly specializing in linking fake Twitter followers to celebrity accounts.  This paper will seek to do two things. Firstly, it will present examples of ethically questionable promotional methods used by celebrities and, secondly, it will seek to problematize promotional literacy related to content marketing in these fledgling stages of the digital age. While much has been written, researched and theorized in relation to media and advertising literacy, this paper will argue there needs to be a broader academic analysis of promotional literacy. This is particularly important in a digital landscape, where a plethora of promotional platforms has emerged allowing cultural intermediaries to use vested-interest propaganda strategies to communicate, connect and persuade audiences via unregulated social media platforms.


Elliot Pill is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University in Wales, UK. He established a successful MA in Global Communication Management in 2001. Mr Pill is the co-author of Key Concepts in Public Relations (Sage, 2009) and author of three chapters on Public Relations and Celebrity Culture in Exploring Public Relations (Pearson, 2006, 2009, 2014). He also teaches Celebrity Culture at Cardiff University.

Before moving into academia, Mr Pill was a newspaper journalist and marketing and public relations consultant.
Mr Pill has worked in publicity teams for David Beckham and a range of other celebrities as well as leading international marketing communication campaigns for Lonely Planet, Billabong, Stella Artois, Gillette, Adidas and Pioneer. He has also advised a range of CEO’s and organisations on reputation management.