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
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
"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