Dr Andrew McStay

Dr Andrew McStay
Reader in Advertising and Digital Media
+44 (0)1248 382740
John Philips Hall Annex


I am Director of the Network for the Study of Media and Persuasive Communication at Bangor University where I also lecture on media and cultural economy. My most recent books are the 2nd edition of Digital advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2016) and Privacy and the Media (Sage, 2017) which is coming soon. I am also author of Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol (Peter Lang, 2014); Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009).

I am currently working on an 18-month AHRC Fellowship titled 'Empathic Media: Theory-Building and Knowledge-Exchange with Industry, Regulators and NGOs'. Using research questions co-created with the Information Commissioner’s Office, Committee of Advertising Practice, M&C Saatchi and Privacy International, I am assessing the social, political, legal and industrial consequences of technology companies that collect data about our emotions.

Research interest keywords

Advertising, creativity, digital media, emotional analytics, persuasion, philosophy, politics and privacy.

Current teaching:

Digital Politics, Media and Society (Masters
Contemporary Media Theory (Masters)
Cultural Economy of the Media (Year 2) 
Privacy and Media (Year 2)
Advertising and Media (Year 2)
Media Culture (Year 1)

PhD students:

  • Dyfrig Jones, Convergence and Public Service Broadcasting in the UK, Ireland, and North America (1st supervisor)
  • Dita Legowo, Blurring Intimacy and Distance: An Online Webseries (1st supervisor)
  • Aliah Nur Mansor, Marketing and Online Fan Communities (2nd supervisor)

Administrative responsibilities:

  • Director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network
  • University interdisciplinary research leader (along with Professor Jerry Hunter (School of Welsh and Dr. John Parkinson (School of Psychology/Wales Centre for Behaviour Change)
  • Director of BA Media
  • Acting Director of MA Digital Media
  • Member of the University-wide Research Communication Strategy Group
  • Member of the Pontio Innovation Strategy Group
  • Examinations Officer

Selected publications:


McStay, A. (forthcoming) Emotional AI: The Rise of Empathic Media. London: Sage.

McStay, A. (forthcoming) Privacy and the Media. London: Sage.

Bakir, V. and McStay, A. (forthcoming) Wearable Media: A Critical Account of Social Implications. London: Routledge. 

McStay, A. (2016) Digital Advertising (Second Edition). London: Palgrave-Macmillan.

McStay, A. (2014) Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol. New York: Peter Lang.

McStay, A. (2013) Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process. London: Routledge. 

McStay, A. (2011) The Mood of Information: a Critique of Online Behavioural Advertising. New York: Continuum. 

McStay, A. (2009) Digital Advertising. London: Palgrave-Macmillan. 

creativity and advertising the mood of information digital advertising

Journal papers

McStay, A. (2016) Empathic media and advertising: Industry, policy, legal and citizen perspectives (the case for intimacy), Big Data & Society, (pre-publication): 1-11. Link: http://bds.sagepub.com/content/3/2/2053951716666868.full.pdf

Bakir, V. and McStay, A. (2016) Theorising Transparency Arrangements: Assessing Interdisciplinary Academic and Multi-Stakeholder Positions on Transparency in the post-Snowden Leak Era, Ethical Space: Journal of Communication, 3(1): 24-31

McStay, A. (2012) I Consent: An Analysis of the Cookie Directive and its Implications for UK Behavioural Advertising. New Media and Society. 15(4), 596-611. Link: http://nms.sagepub.com/content/15/4/596)

McStay, A. (2011) Profiling Phorm: An Autopoietic Approach to the Audience-as-Commodity. Surveillance and Society. 8(3), 310-322. Link: http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/ojs/index.php/journal/article/view/phorm/phorm

McStay, A. (2010) Understanding Audience's Perceptions of Creativity in Online Advertising: The Benefits of a Qualitative Approach. The Qualitative Report. 15(1), 37-58. Link: www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR15-1/mcstay.pdf

McStay, A. (2007) Regulating the Suicide Bomber: A Critical Examination of Viral Advertising and Simulations of Self-Broadcasting. Ethical Space: Journal of Communication. 4(1/2), 40-48. Link: http://tinyurl.com/lnn49uz

McStay, A. & Bakir, V. (2006) Privacy, Online Advertising and Marketing Techniques: The Paradoxical Disappearance of the User. Ethical Space: Journal of Communication. 3(1), 24-31. Link: http://tinyurl.com/lfb5237


Long, P.; Wall, T.; Bakir, V. & McStay, A. (2012 2nd ed) Media Studies: Texts, Production and Context. London: Pearson Education.

Book chapters

McStay, A. (2017) "The Mood of Information in an Age of Empathic Media". In J.F. Hamilton, R. Bodle and E. Korin (eds) Explorations in Critical Studies of Advertising, p. 235-247. New York: Routledge.

McStay, A. (forthcoming) “Privacy”. In B, Arrigo (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy. New York: Sage.

McStay, A. (forthcoming) “Bruno Latour”. In B, Arrigo (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy. New York: Sage.

McStay, A. (forthcoming) “Advertising and Marketing”, B, Arrigo (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Surveillance, Security, and Privacy. New York: Sage.

Bakir, V. & McStay, A. (2008) “When the Script runs out … what happens to The Polarised War Body? Deconstructing Western 24/7 News Coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003”. In K. Randell & S. Redmond (eds.) The War Body on Screen, p. 165-181. Continuum: London. Link: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-war-body-on-screen-9781441145437/

McStay, A. (2007) “Trust, Data-mining and Instantaneity: The Creation of the Online Accountable Consumer”. In V. Bakir & D. Barlow (eds.) Communication in the Age of Suspicion: Trust and the Media, p. 193-210. Palgrave-Macmillan: London. Link: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?is=0230002544


 Public Feeling on Privacy, Security and Surveillance: A Report by DATA-PSST and DCSS (November 2015)

Changing nature of influence: emotional analytics, automation and advertising (For UK Government Office for Science, 2015)

Collaborative/external activities:

  • Along with colleagues from within Bangor, and Aberystwyth, Brunel, Sheffield and Kings College, I am co-organising a 2-year ESRC Seminar Series (2015-16). This will explore, from multi-disciplinary and multi-end user perspectives, how different aspects of transparency, whether state-imposed, commercially-imposed, peer-imposed, or voluntarily entered into, affect questions of privacy, security, surveillance and trust.
  • Along with colleagues from the Internet Research Group from Aberystwyth University I am leading a Bangor/Aber’ alliance to investigate the role of privacy in Wales. We have held a seminar at the National Library of Wales in May 2013 involving politicians, business leaders, public services and academics, and are developing two projects: the first in media literacy in Wales; the second on SMEs in Wales.
  • I am also leading a project on smoking cessation and behaviour change in Wales through social media. This is an interdisciplinary project involving the Schools of Psychology, Linguistics, Business, Health and Education, as well as Creative Studies and Media.


Journals: New Media and Society (Editor), Telematics and Informatics, and Social Science Computer Review.
Book publishers: Emerald, Routledge and Sage.
Subject associations: Association of Internet Researchers, and International Association for Media and Communication Research.
Trade press: Times Higher Education supplement. 
Funding bodies: Member of AHRC Peer Review College and international reviewer specializing in new media for Research Foundation Flander.

Invited presentations:

McStay, A. (2016) Empathic Media: The Case of Gaming, Stanford University.

McStay, A. and Bakir, V. (2016) Veillant Media: ‘Veillant Panoptic Assemblage’ and ‘Emotiveillance, University of Toronto.

McStay, A. (2016) Empathic Media project Intimacy, consent and tracking emotions in public, Digital Catapult, London UK.

Bakir, V. & McStay (2015). Forced Transparency or Equivellant Transparency, post-Snowden (or who is challenging the state’s surveillance agenda of radical transparency? Media, Agenda Building, National Security and Forced Transparency. For DATA-PSST! ESRC Seminar series. Brunel University, 8 July 2015.

Bakir, V. & A.McStay. (2015). Invited speakers: Debating and Assessing Transparency Arrangements: Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Trust (DATA-PSST!): evaluating perspectives on surveillance in the post-Snowden leak era. Surveillance and Citizenship State-Media-Citizen Relations After the Snowden Leaks. Cardiff University, UK. ESRC-sponsored. 18-19 June 2015.

What of Consent in an Age of Empathic Media (2015) Meaningful Consent workshop, University of Southampton.

Privacy as Affective Protocol (2015) DATAPSST!, University of Sheffield.

Towards an Understanding of Emotional Analytics (2014) Marketing Communications Society, University of Greenwich, London

Exploring the Pharmacology of Empathic Media (2014) Centre for the Study of Science and Imagination, University of Westminster, London.

Sensational creativity in advertising (2014) Media and Culture Research Seminars, Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University.

Redefining the Object of Critique: Creative Advertising as an Event (2013) International Communication Association (ICA), London,

Rethinking Advertising: From Being to Becoming (2012) For Your Eyes Only: Privacy, Empowerment and Technology in the Context of Social Networks, Brussels, Belguim.

I Consent: Search, Privacy, Behavioural Advertising and the Cookie Directive (2012) Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School Training Programme, University of Leuven, Belgium.

Exploring the Cultural Contours of Digital Advertising (2010) The Media Studies Conference, British Film Institute (BFI), London.

Towards an autopoietic conception of behavioural advertising audiences (2010) Media, Culture and Journalism Research Seminars, University of Glamorgan.

Exploring Audiences in Web 2.0 (2008) Media Research: New Issues, Perspectives and Methods, Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University.


2015: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)​, 'Empathic Media: Theory-Building and Knowledge-Exchange with Industry, Regulators and NGOs' (PI, £166,718)

2014: ESRC Research Seminar Competition, 'DATA - PSST! Debating and Assessing Transparency Arrangements - Privacy, Security, Surveillance, Trust' (CI, £30,000)

2014: Strategic Insight Programme (SIP), ‘Advertising in Wales’ (PI, £2500)

Consultancy: Government and Industry

  • 2016 Ethics, Privacy and Advisory Board Member for Sensing Feeling
  • 2015 UK Government, Office for Science, ‘Understanding Influence’ workshop/report.
  • 2015 Information Commissioner’s Office, advisor and network member for the Policy Delivery department.
  • 2015 Committee of Advertising Practice, advisor on ethics of emotion-sensitive technology
  • 2015 Internet Advertising Bureau (Europe), advisor on ethics in digital advertising
  • 2014-2015 Drive Productions (developing wearable technology for experiential marketing events)
  • 2014-2015 Board member and co-developer for Kantara Working Group on developing consent receipts for autonomous digital information management

External Examining

Middlesex University, MSc Media Management, 2013-2016.

University College Falmouth, BA Creative Advertising, 2015-2018

MSA Egypt/University of Bedfordshire, BA Advertising and PR, 2016-2019.

Media appearances and public engagement:

  • Radio:ABC Australia, BBC Radio 4, BBC Worldwide and BBC Radio Wales to discuss topics broaching technology, advertising, privacy and philosophy. 
  • Journalism: I write for The Conversation on matters involving advertising, technology and privacy. All articles available here. I have have also written for Sparksheet/WPP, an advertising industry publication. See here.
  • Salon: invited discussion member at Privacy, Protection, Publicity: Does your Freedom have Boundaries? Dialogue, Shoreditch, London.

Teaching awards:

  • Learning & Teaching Award (2008) from HEFCE/TQEF recognising excellence in teaching and learning support.
  • Learning & Teaching Award (2007) from HEFCE/TQEF recognising excellence in teaching and learning support.


I am an active member of the Association of Internet Researchers, International Communication Association and MeCCSA.


I maintain a blog at http://advertising-communications-culture.blogspot.com/ , http://reflectionsonglassblog.wordpress.com/ and can be found on Twitter @digi-ad and @MPCBangor