Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940

Front Cover
University of California Press, 1985 - Social Science - 448 pages
6 Reviews
It has become impossible to imagine our culture without advertising. But how and why did advertising become a determiner of our self-image? Advertising the American Dream looks carefully at the two decades when advertising discovered striking new ways to play on our anxieties and to promise solace for the masses.

As American society became more urban, more complex, and more dominated by massive bureaucracies, the old American Dream seemed threatened. Advertisers may only have dimly perceived the profound transformations America was experiencing. However, the advertising they created is a wonderfully graphic record of the underlying assumptions and changing values in American culture. With extensive reference to the popular media—radio broadcasts, confession magazines, and tabloid newspapers—Professor Marchand describes how advertisers manipulated modern art and photography to promote an enduring "consumption ethic."
  

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Review: Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

Focused on the period 1920 to 1940, Marchand's is a canonical text in the history of advertising, as he explores advertising's relationship to modernity. With plenty of accompanying images, he ... Read full review

Review: Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940

User Review  - Mary Catelli - Goodreads

A cross-sectional view of advertising over the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression. Lots of interesting stuff. An overview of the agencies themselves, their geographical concentration, their somewhat ... Read full review

Contents

Apostles of Modernity
1
Three legends in the making
16
Ambassadors of the consumer
29
Competition craftsmanship and cynicism
44
The matinee crowd
61
From Sponsored
88
Superadvertising and the specter of saturation
94
Interweaving the commercial
105
Advertisements as Social Tableaux
164
The Great Parables
206
Parables and Visual Cliches
285
The Therapeutics of Advertising
335
Notes
365
Biographical Essay
419
Sources for Illustrations
427
Index
437

Strategies of Art and Style
117

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1985)

Roland Marchand (1933-1997) was Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and authored numerous works on American cultural history.

Bibliographic information