taught customers about “halitosis” and Lifebuoy soap instructed about avoiding body odor). Products were developed to cure almost every social anxiety and personal failure. Other ads emphasized themes of modernity (i.e. public work space was the domain of the male while the private space of home became female). Ads became more visual with less copy and showed social lessons in a social tableau (slice-of-life) that instructed on how to fit in, how to be modern. Truck building factories from the war were retooled from military to commercial and the ages of transporting by truck was born. Trucking allowed for door-to-door delivery which in turn spurred the growth of chain stores and supermarkets. Bruce Barton, one of the founders of the large agency BBDO, was the author of a best selling 1924 book that portrayed Jesus as the archetypal ad man. He blended Christian and capitalist principles which was a very attractive mix to a people struggling to reconcile the traditional religious dogma, which preached against excess, with the new religion of consumption.
The Research Era
Over the last 50 years advertisers have developed techniques to identify and reach narrowly targeted audiences with specific messages. Moreover, within these years a sense of social responsibility developed where advertisers recognized that “public trust” was a key to success.
The emergence of radio as a significant advertising medium, remained dominant until the 1950s. This created a new sense of community as people separated by thousands of miles experienced the same programming (i.e., the first presidential address was broadcast in 1923 by President Coolidge and the first football broadcast in 1927). In 1927 the Federal Radio Commission (now the Federal Communication Commission) was created.
During the 1920s advertising had been heroic, but by the 1930s it had become villainous as the public believed it was big business and greed/lust that had caused the crash. Ads became more tough and the stylish ads from the 1920s changed to the harsher, cluttered and attention-grabbing style of the tabloids. During this economic catastrophe, advertisers were concerned about their business and sought the advise of advertising agencies. “Bad business conditions are good ones as far as we are concerned,” wrote Bill Benton in 1930 of the newly formed Benton & Bowles. However an angry consumer movement encouraged much reform during this period, reform which remains in place today.
World War II turned the economy around with the production of war goods. The Congress established the War Advertising Council to mobilize the nation for war, juxtaposing advertising with the war effort and this positioning to some degree rehabilitated the tarnished image of advertising.
Though the economy improved following the war and consumption increased, advertising was still viewed with suspect. Concerns about the rise of communism and “mind control” (i.e., exposure to such phenomenon as the Japanese Kamikaze pilots, the Hitler Youth and the ancient yet effective Korean methods of mind control) as well as suspicions nurtured by McCarthyism, nuclear threats of the