Risk Communication and advertising

Vassilis Vamvakas

RIC 311 Risk Communication and advertising


About This Course

Course description

A central feature of postindustrial modernization is the proliferation of low probability – high consequence technological and environmental risks and crises emerging from corporate industrial activities. Living in a risk society, hazards are not just limited to health and environment, but also include fundamental sociopolitical values of liberty, equality, justice,
rights and democracy that are at risk as well. In this context, risk society often produces loss of faith in experts and science to predict and protect people from hazards, expressed as anxiety and insecurity and at the same time high expectations. Risk and crisis communication, emerging as an effect of risk society, enters our lives in a multitude of forms, often part
of the imagery and strategy of advertising. The course presents the full array of major risks facing humanity universally, seen mainly from the communications perspective. Specifically, we study advertising strategies and portrayals that cover most of major risks nowadays, aiming to gain an in-depth understanding of state and corporate advertising as a key element of risk and crisis communication.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the concepts, theories, models, and strategies relevant to risk and crisis communication.
  2. Evaluate the significance and still the complexity and challenges involved in managing risks and crises in a global environment.
  3. Review and assess the advertising strategy, appeals and portrayals regarding risk communication case studies and discuss when and how media campaigns can be effective pre, during and post crisis


Type of work Description Hours
Lectures Thirteen 3-hours lectures 39
Independent study Study of compulsory and optional literature 40-45
In Class presentation Presentation of main contemporary theories in the field 20-25
Research Search and analyze media discourses concerning public and private issues 35-40
Written assignments Essay (5000 words) 120-140
Total workload 254-289


Type of assessment Learning outcome Impact on final grade Date of assessment
Participation in group work and discussion 1-3 10% Regularly
In Class presentation of the recommended bibliography 1-3 10% 6th-10th week
In-class presentation of a risk advertising campaign 1-3 10%  9th-12th week
Written assignment and presentation (essay) 1-3 70% 14th week