Advertising: A Reflection of Our Culture
Advertising is the most sensitive indicator of human culture. Itshaped by the same social, economic and cultural factors that act onany other aspect of our lives, and it in turn reflects and affects theways in which we see ourselves and our world.
The history of advertising can be divided into a number ofphases, each characterized by different styles, techniques andconcerns. This essay will focus on two phases in particular: advertisingin the early 20th century, and advertising in the early 21st century.
2. 20th century advertising
Advertising in the early 20th century was dominated by two main concerns: first, the need to sell mass-produced goods to a population that was increasingly urban and middle class; and second, the need to sell these goods to women, who were seen as the primary decision-makers in the home.
To achieve these goals, advertisers developed a range of new techniques and styles, including celebrity endorsements, slogan-based advertising, and the use of bright colors and attractive heroines. These techniques were extremely successful, and helped to create a booming industry that was worth billions of dollars by the end of the century.
3. 21st century advertising
If 20th century advertising was concerned with selling products to consumers, then 21st century advertising is concerned with selling consumers to products. In an age of mass media and global communications, advertisers have become extremely skilled at using every available platform to sell their wares.
Television, cinema, the Internet, social media: all of these channels are now used to generate brand awareness and create desire. And while some criticize this as a form of manipulation, it is undeniable that modern advertising is both creative and effective.
Advertising is a reflection of our culture, and it has changed drastically over the course of the last century. What began as a way to sell products has become a way to sell us to ourselves. As consumers, we are now bombarded with messages from all sides, telling us what we should buy, what we should look like, and what we should aspire to in life.