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Advertising at War

Business, Consumers, and Government in the 1940s

Inger L.Stole

Publication Year: 2012

Inger L. Stole challenges the notion that advertising disappeared as a political issue in the United States in 1938 with the passage of the Wheeler-Lea Amendment to the Federal Trade Commission Act, the result of more than a decade of campaigning to regulate the advertising industry. She suggests that the war experience, even more than the legislative battles of the 1930s, defined the role of advertising in U.S. postwar political economy and the nation's cultural firmament. Using archival sources, newspapers accounts, and trade publications, Stole demonstrates that the postwar climate of political intolerance and reverence for free enterprise quashed critical investigations into the advertising industry. While advertising could be criticized or lampooned, the institution itself became inviolable._x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: The History of Communication

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

List of Illustrations

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pp. vi

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pp. vii-viii

The writing of acknowledgments is a reflective and humbling endeavor. I could never have written this book had it not been for the help and support from a long list of people. I thank James L. Baughman, Stephen Vaughn, and the late Ivan Preston...

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pp. 1-16

The past two decades have witnessed an increased interest in advertising and consumer issues across scholarly disciplines. Fields ranging from business and advertising to sociology, American studies, history, mass communication, art history, anthropology, and psychology are recognizing the centrality of consumption and consumer...

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Chapter 1. Prelude to War

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pp. 17-34

The advertising industry concluded the turbulent decade of the 1930s with some sense of accomplishment. Its public relations campaigns appeared to have marginalized the consumer movement’s most radical demands, and the five-year battle over federal regulation of advertising had culminated in the Wheeler-Lea Amendment...

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Chapter 2. Advertising Navigates the Defense Economy

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pp. 35-55

Industry leaders, their misgivings fueled by constant alarms, failed to recognize that New Deal actions against advertising had been relatively mild. They continued to monitor influential government officials, worried that a single critical comment might escalate into a crisis demanding the industry’s full attention. America’s...

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Chapter 3 The Initial Year of the Advertising Council

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pp. 56-70

In certain key respects, advertising and advertisers themselves underwent major changes in 1942. This chapter explores the first month of the Advertising Council’s existence. It discusses the industry’s challenges in adhering to a common goal and probes...

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Chapter 4. The Consumer Movement's Return

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pp. 71-93

Just when things were going well for advertisers in Washington, an old arch-nemesis reentered the scene. After being so active in the 1930s, the consumer movement had kept a low profile throughout the defense period. A few groups, however, including...

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Chapter 5. Advertising, Washington, and the Renamed War Advertising Council

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pp. 94-120

One of the first controversies to emerge in connection with wartheme advertising was the extent to which print media should be expected to provide free advertising space to the government. The discussion started early in the war, and the issue was not resolved until the end of 1943, after government sources, the commercial...

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Chapter 6. The Increaseing Role of the War Advertising Council

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pp. 121-152

By the end of 1943, the advertising industry had established itself as an indispensable component of the government’s domestic wartime information operations.1 The quarrel over the Office of War Information had resulted in increased government reliance on the War Advertising Council, putting advertisers in a position...

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Chapter 7. Peace and the Reconversion of the Advertising Council

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pp. 153-175

The War Advertising Council had been created with the understanding that it would be a temporary organization, to be terminated at the end of the war. Its success at improving the advertising industry’s standing had far exceeded expectations. In just...

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pp. 176-188

Although scholars have acknowledged the importance of advertising and its broad acceptance among policymakers and the general public in the post–World War II era, only limited attention has been paid to the events that facilitated this...


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pp. 189-254


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pp. 255

About the Author, Further Reading, Production Notes, Back Cover

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pp. 265

E-ISBN-13: 9780252094231
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252037122

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: The History of Communication