The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators

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University of Illinois Press, 1984 - Business & Economics - 383 pages
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Stephen Fox explores the consistently cyclical nature of advertising from its beginning. A substantial new introduction updates this lively, anecdotal history of advertising into the mid-1990s.


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I use this book as the text for my Advertising History class. As a textbook, it's missing an overview of the changes in society that led up to the establishment of the profession. (Including the account of the country's first adman, Ben Franklin.) Because it's focused on the personalities, it fails to carefully delineate the evolution of strategic thinking. The writer slips into street jargon now and then, without using quotes to let us know that he's using i.e. "darkies" in a way mocking the use of the public at the time. (I hope.) And... it peters out at the end, without evaluating the impact of computers and database marketing, which according to Hal Riney killed creativity. Jay Chiat gets a mere nod, same with Apple, and w+k, and of course there's nuttin' on social media. So obviously, Mr. Fox needs to update it, which would require a lot of research, fact-checking, etc. ugh. But, all that aside, the writing is chatty and fun, and well documented on the years it does cover. And waaaay better than the many pictorial reviews. Advertising is story, after all, and the book is full of stores well told. If my studii want more details, pictures and such, I send them to Google and the wikis or the main muni library archives. For teachers, that's a better approach anyhoo. 


Advertising Prehistory The Nineteenth Century
The Age of Lasker
High Tide and Green Grass The Twenties
Depression and Reform
The Second Boom
The Creative Revolution
Real Reform New Images in the Mirror
The 1970s The Cycle Never Stops
The Ten Largest Agencies in US Billings 19451995
Manuscript Collections
Abbreviations of Sources
Chapter Notes

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About the author (1984)

Stephen Fox, a freelance writer, is the author of Big Leagues: Professional Baseball, Football, and Basketball in National Memory, Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth-Century America, and other books. Fox lives in Somerville, Mass.

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