North and South: Advertising Prosperity in the Italian Economic Boom Years
Abstract

Abstract:

In the mid to late 1950s, Italians experienced an improvement in quality of life thanks to an economic boom. During these years, advertising presented not only consumer goods, but also the convictions of the producers, who were buying visibility in an attempt to generate adequate revenue for their economic efforts. The country, however, had to shoulder the considerable economic gap between the prosperous North and the relatively undeveloped Southern regions. A comparative analysis of all the advertisements published during the first semester of 1958 and 1959 in two regional newspapers, Il Resto del Carlino (Bologna) and La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno (Bari), reveals, in terms of number, size and distribution, some of the economic dynamics affecting the two areas. Because it is impossible to reveal the underlying decision-making process of the companies placing the ads without an examination of economic reports and the minutes of board meetings of the companies, the research emphasis is instead on rates of investment in print advertising in the two newspapers. Future studies of sample periods before and after the Italian boom years might provide for a better diachronic analysis.