Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  1997
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 9-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Advertising Missionaries

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Follows the mission of one theater company to bring the consumer revolution to the people of the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Advertising Missionaries

In Papua New Guinea, where over three quarters of the population cannot be reached by the regular advertising mediums of television, radio or print, 'the market' must be developed by other means. Small theater groups travel the remote highlands performing soap operas devised around advertising messages for a variety of products.

ADVERTISING MISSIONARIES follows the mission of one theater company to bring the consumer revolution to the people of the highlands.

In bigger and more modern towns, the company plugs the qualities of farming products or car parts. In the more remote villages, a set is unfolded on the back of a flat-bed truck, portraying a modern Western living-room where the advantages of Coca-Cola, Colgate, clothing, canned food, and washing powder are touted.

The film observes the impact of the advertising theater on a previously 'untouched' village in the remote valley of Yaluba, where it enters the lives of Aluago, Tintiba and their two children. We see the village before, during and after first contact by the new missionaries -- and what happens as a result of their visit.

'Excellent! Anthropology, sociology, advertising and business marketing programs [will] find this an interesting and useful documentary. Recommended!'- Educational Media Reviews Online

'An invigorating, often humorous, and sometimes sobering film. Recommended!'-Video Librarian

'A classic among ethnographic films...The strength of this production lies in its ability to raise... critical issues having to do with the encounter of subsistence village life with the complexities of a hegemonic consumer ethos.'-Pacific Studies


'Extremely effective at presenting consumer capitalism as a modern 'religion...an excellent basis for class discussion, and for building students' analytic skills.'-Thomas B. Stevenson, Anthropology Review Database


** 1997 Margaret Mead Film Festival
** 1997 Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Musée de l'Homme
** 1996 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
** Nominated for the 1997 Dendy Award
** Finalist, 1997 Banff Festival of Mountain Films


Main credits

Hilton, Chris (film director)
Flauder, Gauthier (film director)

Other credits

Director of photography, Tony Wilson; editor, Andrew Arestides; music, Benoit Pimont.

Distributor credits

A Film by Chris Hilton and Gauthier Flaunder

Docuseek2 subjects

Advertising, Marketing and Sales
Cultural Anthropology
Pacific, The
Drama and Theater
Papua New Guinea

Distributor subjects

Advertising and Marketing
Cultural Anthropology
Indigenous Peoples
Media Studies
Papua New Guinea
Southeast Asia


Papua New Guinea; advertising; consumer revolution; consumption; demand; market; marketing; promotion; advertising; native peoples; indigenous; highlands; documentary; film; ad agencies; rural; video; DVD; "Advertising Missionaries"; Icarus Films;

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