Advertising is an essential part of our social and economic life. It is critical to any business as it helps firms reach various goals, such as creating awareness of the existence of a product to consumers in the market. One of the forms of advertisement is through magazines. This is the printed ads that run in local and national magazines. Magazine advertisement has evolved throughout the decades, with new advancements being made. The print advertising is almost dying today, but a perfect print that mixes the right words and images can become very useful. The paper studies magazine advertisement in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1990s and how they help reflect generational changes in American society.
Magazine Advertisement in the 1930s
In the 1930s, advertisement using magazines was one of the most successful methods of advertisement as it had a very high penetration rate. One of the magazines published was the Saturday Evening Post. One of the issues in the early 1930s was titled 'Bottles Ad' This was an ad about the health benefits of bottles for carbonated drinks. It went ahead and quoted some of the chemist's assurances that a bottle of beverage had a value of energy that was equivalent to three sweet potatoes. Another ad in early 1960 was of 'Fisk Tires' that showed two boys staring at tires and admiring them to show how cool they were. This helped in expressing how unique and good quality the tires were then.
The Saturday Evening Post also featured issues such as 'Pinkham's cure for women's complaints,' which was about a vegetable component and heavy dose of alcohol that helped ease the woes of women. It also explained that the medicine would cure early stages of tumors in the uterus. Another ad featured was ' popular presents from the 1930s .this contained lists of gifts that would have been perfect in 1930 - for instance, a topper for the car, correct jewelry for men, and a laundry roller. The ad promoted the listed items as people would later go ahead and buy them since they a form of suggestions of things that people should buy.
An ad in 1939 on 'selling cigarettes with sex' was featured in the Saturday evening post. The post showed women with cigarettes, which was a way of rugging men by the use of those desirable women. This indued readers to wonder if they were talking about cigarettes or women. This even made some of the women believe that if they smoked, they would be sexier than men, and therefore there was an increase in the number of women who smoked. The adverts also used slim women since they discovered that by doing so, more women would start smoking. There was also an ad in 1938 that advertised yeast. It was titled ' Let them eat yeast?' in the late 1930s manufacturers claimed that yeast could cure bad breath and constipation. This was a move to boost the sale of yeast after people started buying bread in grocery stores.
Magazine Advertisements in the 1960s
One of the issues in 1961 was an ad on 'Ivory Soap.' It explained that ivory soap was and is still available even after all those years. The Saturday evening post regularly advertised ivory soap and describing it as the soap that floats and is 100% pure. Expressions that are captivating and convincing were used such as, 'silent speaking words be sure they say nice things about you.' This was to show the cleansing power of the ivory soap describing it as exceptional and different from other soaps. Another ad in the early 1960s was of ' Mid-century travel by boat, bus plane, and train (Williams, 2015). The ad was aimed at luring travelers through the promises of luxury, comfort, and speed. It went ahead and explained that for the travelers to reach the destinations of their choice, all they had to do was board the buses and trains at low costs. People could also visit different places in the city at no extra charge.
In the mid-1960s, the evening post published an issue on 'American advertisers take on Hitler'. It talked about how the need for the united states to defeat Hitler caught the attention of the advertisers. (Schlabrendorff, 2018)They were able to show if they feared the Nazis or if they had faith in the American troop. The ads helped to strengthen the faith of the people in the American army and assured them that there was no way that Hitler could be able to defeat great America.' meat in a can' was another ad in 1962 that showed the emerging trend of storing meat in a can. It helped to create awareness of the fact that meat could be stored in cans over long periods and not go wrong. It was also designed to help meatpackers to conform to the new federal inspection laws.
Magazine Advertisements in the 1990s
Advertisement later evolved and changed some of its aspects in the 1990s. In the year 1990 ' calculus 1" was one of the issues. This was a story of a person and how good his roommate's new calculus while he specialized in engineering. This was different since the previous magazines did not feature any stories but only news and matters relating to the country at large. A cover of '10 books to read this spring was also issued'. This advertised some of the novels and books that people could find interesting.
In the mid-1990s, an ad on 'why we love dinosaurs' was also featured. It explained why people love dinosaurs even though they do not exist. It talked about the various reasons why dinosaurs captivate people, for instance, because they are strange and weird and at the same time, very dangerous. There was also a post on 'why real books were better in 1995. Due to the emergence of online books, the ad was created to ensure that people continued valuing real books. This was to ensure that online books don't dominate real books and making them useless. Several reasons were given on why real books are better, such as they don't affect one's eyesight, and they may not be easily altered, unlike online articles.
Magazine advertisement was still prevalent in the late 1990s, for instance, in 1998, an article on 'why be the judged ' was published. It gave a story on police who had arrested 21 people for trespassing. It encouraged people to really look at the facts of a case or incident and then draw their conclusion. 'the long road to interstates' was also one of the issues published by the Saturday Post that talked about the development of roads in America throughout the history and how they have evolved. It explained that from the beginning, America was able and willing to build a road. The only thing that was needed was for someone to pave the way. The person was Carl Fisher, who made the first road.
It is evident from above that American culture and social life are different in each of the centuries. For example, in the 1930 century, the primary source of entertainment was politics (Weaver, 2018). This is so because most of the magazines then featured politics more than anything. In the 1960s, the main focus was on the war, as most articles related to the war, for example, the material on Hitler in 1962. In the 1990 century, the culture drafted to dramatical transformations. This is seen so because more magazines start to feature fashion and the lifestyle of people. The Saturday evening post had common selling points throughout the centuries. These include the use of images that are eye-catching, for example, in the advertising of cigarettes, the use of beautiful women to lure men and women into buying the products. Also, having good content that is interesting and containing new things unknown to the reader, not just the ordinary, was a common selling point for the magazine over the centuries.
The advertisements help show the sense of fashion of the Americas at the time. This is seen by the people on the covers by what they have won.most wore butterfly sleeves and exaggerated shoulder pads, especially in the 1930s (Haberland, 2015) . in 1960, both men and women began wearing tie-dyed t-shirts work shirts and Jesus sandals. This was different from the 1990s where most wore flannel shirts, and there was also the adoption of tattoos and body piercings on other parts apart from the ears. Some of the things worn in the1930 were still won in 1990 but only a few.
The advertisements in each of the centuries play upon the generation's hopes, fears, loyalties, and sense of guilt differently. For instance, in 1930, an article on how to treat uterus tumors at early stages was published. This gave women hope, especially if one had been affected, there was hope for curing it. In 1960 people were also given hope that America would win against Hilter, and therefore it reduced their worries and made them remain loyal to their country. Gender roles have changed over the centuries since, for instance, in 1930, not many women were in politics, but in 1990 more women seem to have become active in politics (Sassler, Glass, Levitte, & Michelmore, 2017). The role of men and women varied greatly as most women then were employed and mainly worked at home. This changed over the years as women started being self-employed.
Haberland, M. (2015). Striking Beauties: Women Apparel Workers in the US South, 1930-2000. University of Georgia Press.
Sassler, S., Glass, J., Levitte, Y., & Michelmore, K. M. (2017). The missing women in STEM? Assessing gender differentials in the factors associated with the transition to first jobs. Social science research, 63, 192-208.
Von Schlabrendorff, F. (2018). The secret war against Hitler. Routledge.
Weaver, F. S. (2018). Inside the volcano: the history and political economy of Central America. Routledge.
Williams, E. W. (2015). Freight Transportation in the Soviet Union. Princeton University Press.
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