Advertising the American Dream


Advertisingthe American Dream


In the period of 1920-1930, American society has become more complex,urban, and social and economic development. Advertisers haveresponded to the changes taking place in America, and advertising hasevolved into a complex illustration of the new American culture andneeds. Marchand in his book points out how to use strong images,contemporary art, photography, and advertisers have created aconsumer ethic and developed an effective method of advertising,which raises and solves the problem. Roland Marchand’s analysis ofmarketing and advertising industry of the 1920s and 1930s in theUnited States showed that the advertisers at this time chose thedirection of meeting the needs of the modern buyer, for the mostpart their focus was on understanding the needs of both theresidents of large cities and suburbs. The main consumers ofadvertising have become members of the middle class, and especiallywomen, as a category of consumers, which in this period began to takean active part in social life. A significant influence on the changein advertising played a great depression.

Atthe time, the tabloid media number grew steadily, serving theinterests of women consumers. Marchand states that as women were themain force of nation’s buying, advertising was aimed to meet theneeds primarily of women.iDuring the 1920s and early 1930s, advertising makes its aim toattract the attention of the audience and uses visualization to dothis. Illustrations and photographs that were used gave the featuresof modern advertising and attract consumers. Against this background,the ethics of female consumerism has increased against the backgroundof the old male one. Due to the fact that advertising has become morevisually sophisticated, it has become aimed at female consumers usingthe social image. Images of women as mistresses of their home orbusinessperson, female beauty attracted the attention of women,creating a picture of perfect life. As for the other consumer groups,non-whites are often depicted as servants on the background of abeautiful life. These features reflect the trend that characterizedthis period in American society. Advertising showed a dilemma orproblem and illustrated product that solves it.iiThis approach was instrumental in the sale to consumers of the time.As soon as the advertising developed, advertisers increasingly usedalready familiar images of a good comfortable life, happy family,beautiful cities, while developing a visual message and increasingthe demand for products.

TheDepression changed a lot in this field. During this period,advertisers are faced with a number of problems, and advertising haschanged. Since the ability of consumers to buy goods dropped and somehave lost their relevance, advertising partially abandoned the visualarts. However, the essence of advertising still is to illustrate theproblem and offer solutions to this problem. However, during thisperiod, the problem shifted from general view to a household due tothe critical state of society and the economy. Thus the paradigm ofadvertising that is related to 1920, transformed into a new trend,more aimed at solving social and economic problems in the 1930s.Advertisers have used swept attitudes and clichés that havecontributed to the right to deliver information to the consumer, aswell as the correct result, in which advertising brings relief andsolving dilemmas. Thus, the advertising community has providedguidance to overcome everyday problems. Advertisers were the firstdistributors of the progress of all new products and technologies,new style and way of life and thus to develop the economy, raisingthe level of consumption in the country. Marchand identifiedcorrectly the concept of consumption ethic.iiiTo some extent, it is possible to consider that advertisers played arole to improve the level of the average mass of consumers` lives,offering them a new social and cultural status. Under suchconditions, the improvement and development of American massesoccurred. Professional advertisers know the approach to poorlyeducated layer and can properly find an approach to such consumers,offering products and services that promise to improve their lives,and ultimately the perception of life.iv

Advertisingduring the 1920s and 1930s aimed to report the consumer benefits ofthe modern world and production. Consumers got a virtually unlimitedrange of opportunities and goods. Advertising has brought to peoplethe extent of modern life and instilled a culture of consumption,offering the most necessary, i.e. problem solving. Thus, the authorstudied the psyche of Americans and their needs that advertisingprovided.v Advertising has become a key element in shaping American valuesamong the middle class after the depression. Images of advertisingamplify and encourage new cultural and social values, increasingdemand among consumers. It can be concluded that in the opinion ofMarchand and the authors of other sources, advertisement of thisperiod did not improve the overall economic condition of theAmericans, but was directed to report to the comfort and the positiveaspects of consumerism private individuals and families.


CraigH. Roell,Advertisingthe American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940, (American Journalism, Volume 3, Issue 3, 1986), 187-189.

HeatherO`Keefe,Advertisingthe American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920–1940. Marchand,Roland,(American Journalism, Volume 16, Issue 1, 1987), 70-71. DanielPope, Advertisingthe American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940, (BusinessHistory Review,&nbspVolume60,&nbspIssue3,1986),512-514.

JohnHollitz, Thinkingthrough the Past. A Critical Thinking Approach to US Hictory, (CengageLearning, 2014).

i John Hollitz, Thinking through the Past. A Critical Thinking Approach to US Hictory, (Cengage Learning, 2014), 144.

ii John Hollitz, Thinking through the Past. A Critical Thinking Approach to US Hictory, (Cengage Learning, 2014), 141.

iii Craig H. Roell, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940, (American Journalism, Volume 3, Issue 3, 1986), 187.

iv Daniel Pope, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940, (Business History Review,&nbspVolume 60,&nbspIssue 3, 1986), 512.

v Heather O`Keefe, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920–1940. Marchand, Roland, (American Journalism, Volume 16, Issue 1, 1987), 70.