COMM 140 Final Paper

COMM 140 Final Paper - Jake Unger COMM 140 Final 12/14/09...

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Jake Unger COMM 140 Final 12/14/09 2) Compare how consumers were addressed during the two eras of advertising discussed in class, and compare these different approaches in terms of the individual’s relationship to other consumers. Consumers of both the “industrial era” (1920s) and the “hip consumerism era” (1960s) were similarly addressed with the message that: consumption will serve as “an antidote” to their respective undesirable societies. Although completely different societies and advertising strategies, in both eras advertisers created ads that “called for a solution through consumption… playing upon fears and frustrations evoked by mass society” (Ewen 45). During the 1920s industrial era, many individuals no longer defined their identity by their occupation, and were often disillusioned and discontent with their industrial society life. Advertisers addressed individuals of the mass industry era by creating an ideal of a “Civilized American” who “who could locate his needs and frustrations in terms of the consumption of goods rather than the quality and content of his life (work)” (Ewen 43). Through advertisements such as Listerine to cure Halitosis, advertisers essentially told people that through consumption, they would become better people and live happier lives. In this sense the individual became one of “self-fetishization” as part of a cultural identity of mass consumers who desired to better themselves through consumption. Individuals of the 1960s were skeptical and fed-up with their conformist-consumer society. Unlike the 1920s, people wanted to differentiate themselves from other consumers, and the non-conformist individual was idealized. Advertisers addressed consumers in the 1960s by creating ads that sympathized with the mass critique of society such as “fears of conformity “and “revulsion from artificially and packaged pleasure” (Frank 54). For example Volkswagen made fun of itself and pointed out its shortcomings, while displaying how it was a more practical than its unnecessarily large and expensive competitors. The 1960s advertisers wanted to create ads that played off individuals’ disgust with society and to show them that, “the solution to the
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Jake Unger COMM 140 Final 12/14/09 problems of consumer society was—more consuming” (Frank 55). Individuals positively responded to this strategy by purchasing items that were hip and different from the hegemonic- consumer “wonderworld” products of the past, to differentiate themselves from that society. Although consumers of the 1920s and 1960s were addressed differently, they were both
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This document was uploaded on 10/28/2011 for the course COMM 140 at UNC.

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COMM 140 Final Paper - Jake Unger COMM 140 Final 12/14/09...

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