Saturday, 2 February 2013
Essay research - Advertising and consumerism
Here I gathered a little more information about advertising and consumerism, the text explains how sales rose rapidly from the 1920's through the power of advertising.
Advertising and consumerism
The great economic boom of the 1920s was brought about to a considerable extent by advertising. During the 1920s, sales of radios rose rapidly. The radio was a completely new medium which allowed instant contact with large numbers of people. By the end of the 1920s the majority of homes in the USA had access to a radio9, even if they did not own one themselves. All broadcasting in the USA was commercial, which meant that it had to be financed by advertisements. companies were quick to take advantage of the opportunities that the radio offered. Radio programmes were punctuated with adverts and songs were produced praising products. The American public was bombarded with information encouraging them to buy new consumer goods.
The motor car industry was at the forefront of advertising. Henry Ford had started out by telling the American people that 'Every American family should have one', meaning one of his cars. When this slogan no longer worked, he changed it to 'Every American family should have two'.
The great advantage of the new consumer goods was that they made life easier and provided better entertainment. The washing machine, the vacuum cleaner and the cooker all meant that women did not have to spend so long carrying out boring household chores. For the first time they actually had time on their hands, always assuming that they could afford to buy the new products in the first place. But even if they could not afford them, there were plenty of ways to buy something that they couldn't not afford. Traveling salesmen toured the USA demonstrating new products and offering easy financial terms to householders. Hire purchase became available to almost everyone. For a down payment, you could take advantage of all the new inventions. But of course, that depended on people being able to keep up with the repayments.
If people had more labour saving products to help them with the household chores, that also meant that they had time to spare to take advantage of new forms of entertainment. Not only did people have the time, but they also had the money to pay for them. The 1920s saw a big increase in the popularity of many different forms of entertainment. This was all part of the consumer boom.
The new consumer goods did not benefit everyone. At the same time as sales of radios increased, sales of gramophone records fell. New radio stations opened almost every week, many of them playing music almost non-stop. Radio became widely used for advertising and helped fuel the economic boom of the 1920s. The US government made no attempt to regulate radio advertising. Advertisers were free to use whatever techniques they wanted in an effort to get people to buy new products.