"In the interest of the American people": The Advertising Industry and Sponsored Economic Education Media, 1947-1952
Author: Caroline Jack, University of California, San Diego
Comment: Ted Miller, Northeastern University
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In the years after World War II, sponsored “economic education” media—industrial publicity programs that linked democracy and civil liberties to the ideal of private enterprise—flourished in the United States through such media forms as slideshows, informational leaflets, and public service advertising campaigns. Drawing upon archival records of a collaboration between the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers, this paper argues that mid-century managerial folk knowledge about capitalism, democracy, and the persuasive power of mass media enabled advertising industry leaders to imagine their industry as the cornerstone of democracy, and themselves as economic experts.
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