cold war and possible aliens from outer space (Roswell) all lead to the circulation of stories that advertising was using a psychological sell utilizing subliminal advertising (subconscious). The public feared being seduced by advertising into buying things they did not want or need. The best selling 1957 book by Vance Packard, suggested this psychological approach. During this period advertisements were characterized by scenes of modernity, social promise and the attributes of science and technology.
Television developed and viewers began staying home. Political advertising and programming began to grow (i.e. the Kennedy/Nixon debates from the 1960 election in which those who watched TV thought that Kennedy had won as he had presented such a cool and attractive image whereas those who listened on the radio thought that Nixon had won as his arguments were far more substantial).
Disposable personal income tripled from the 1950s through the 1970s. New home sales increased, college attendance, TV usage and airline travel all grew with advertising contributing to the economic growth of industry.
It is interesting to note that during 1960s advertising was slow to reflect the social revolution in progress (the era of the hippies). The industry was predominately white and male with minorities and women in subservient roles. Visually however, there was a “creative revolution” in that ads became minimalist and graphic.
By the 1970s and the end of the Viet Nam war, the reelection of Richard Nixon, and Kent State advertisements began to represent minorities and women were presented in professional roles. Concern began to be voiced as to the effect of advertising on children. Newer, tougher regulator offices were developed to demand higher standards. Advertising judged to be misleading included Listerine mouthwash which claimed it could prevent and cure colds, Campbell soups for putting marbles in the bottom of the bowl to bolster the look of the ingredients, and Anacin for claiming it could relieve tension. Control within the agencies shifted from the creative department to the account managers, a change indicating the emphasis from creative executions to more effective business practices. Companies consolidated and companies such as Proctor & Gamble and Phillip Morris became umbrellas for dozens of separate brands. The media also consolidated as with the Turner empire of networks and Gannet papers.
From the 1970s through the 1980s a fragmentation occurred within the economy. This was due to numerous factors including: a. the growth in communication technologies with cable offering options such as ESPN, CNN, and Nickelodeon, and technologies such as the VCR, laser disks, specialized magazines and direct mail; b. audience fragmentation where there was no longer a traditional mass market. Advertisers began to identify markets by demographics and users of products. Television split into hundreds of channels where as once there had only been 3 networks. Magazines began to be published that tailored to special interests and newspapers added freestanding inserts so readers could choose what they wanted to read; and c. direct response advertising grew while data processing