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Table of Contents Introduction American Advertising: A brief History What Is the Ad Trying To Do? Who Is the Intended Audience? What Strategies Are Used To Sell the Product? What Do Ads Reveal or Conceal About an Era? What Else Do You Need To Know To Analyze an Ad? Model Interpretation Advertisements Online Annotated Bibliography Try It Yourself! Download Entire Essay (Acrobat PDF) Annotated Bibliography

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books, 1972.
Berger, an artist, critic, and novelist, presents insights about imagery and how we view it. This is an influential work that analyzes advertising with the tools of both an art critic and a cultural historian.

Ewen, Stuart. Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1977.
A stimulating and original study that views the advertising as crucial to the displacement of class conflict and inculcation of consumer consciousness when distribution, rather than production, became the fundamental problem of capitalism.

Fox, Stephen R. The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators. New York: Morrow, 1984.
A popular and well-informed overview that contends that at times advertising reflected American culture, at other times helped to shape it.

Frank, Thomas C. The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counter Culture and the Rise of Hip Consumerism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
A biting (and very funny) critique of advertising and marketing in the sixties and beyond. Frank contends that businesses fostered seemingly-radical themes of individual freedom and revolt against conformity because they fit corporate interests.

Glickman, Lawrence B., ed. Consumer Society in American History: A Reader. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.
An excellent collection of writings on consumption ranging from theoretical insights to empirical studies and covering topics dealing with early European-Native American contact to contemporary issues.

Goodrum, Charles and Helen Dalrymple. Advertising in America: The First Two Hundred Years. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990.
A lavishly illustrated history of American advertising. Although the authors’ tone is generally positive, their book is well-researched and they include some pointed criticism of advertising practices.

Laird, Pamela Walker. Advertising Progress: American Business and the Rise of Consumer Marketing. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
A carefully researched study of advertising in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Laird emphasizes the theme of progress—economic and cultural—that advertisements espoused and that advertising practitioners adopted as an ideology.

Lears, Jackson. Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America. New York: Basic Books, 1994.
An innovative and learned survey. Less interested in the business context of advertising, Lears maintains that we have lost a sense of the magical and enchanted properties of the material world as advertising offers us an abundance associated with the mechanistic and confining world of the factory and the office.

McLuhan, Marshall. The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man. New York: Vanguard Press, 1951.
A pioneering work by the provocative and controversial Canadian media expert. In this early work, McLuhan presents stimulating, sometimes mystifying, commentary on advertising imagery in mid-twentieth century America.

Marchand, Roland. Advertising the American Dream. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
Marchand’s study of advertising in the 1920s and 1930s is a model for its integration of business and cultural history and for its masterful analysis of both the copy and the artwork of magazine advertisements of that era. He was also the author of the posthumously-published Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), which has many insights on advertising campaigns to enhance corporate reputations.

Ohmann, Richard. Selling Culture: Magazines, Markets and Class at the Turn of the Century. London and New York: Verso, 1996.
In his analysis of new mass-circulation magazines in the 1890s, Ohmann discusses how their emergence both reflected and promoted the formation of a new kind of middle class in the United States. Advertising, both as the economic foundation for these magazines and as a molder of class and culture, figures prominently in his analysis.

Pope, Daniel. The Making of Modern Advertising. New York: Basic Books, 1983.
This book views advertising from the standpoint of business history. It contends that the basic structures of American advertising were molded in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by the rise of big business.

Presbrey, Frank. The History and Development of Advertising. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1929.
A celebratory history by an advertising man. Although it lacks a scholarly approach, it is full of information and contains many illustrations.

Scanlon, Jennifer. Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies’ Home Journal, Gender and the Promises of Consumer Culture. New York: Routledge, 1995.
An intriguing recent study that stresses the gendered nature of consumer culture. Scanlon demonstrates that advertisements—as well as the fiction and advice in America’s first mass-circulation women’s magazine—portrayed a society where women would find meaning and satisfaction in their lives through consumption.

Schudson, Michael. Advertising: The Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society. New York: Basic Books, 1984.
Schudson, an historical sociologist, raises significant challenges to those who see advertising as an all-powerful social force.

Strasser, Susan. Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market. New York: Pantheon Books, 1989.
Strasser places the development of national advertising in its marketing context, stressing its role in the development of mass produced, standardized products.


Footer Introduction American Advertising: A Brief History What Is the Ad Trying To Do? Who Is the Intended Audience?