Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: How Advertising Can Help Win the War

Friday, March 02, 2007

How Advertising Can Help Win the War

"What can we do? We can demonstrate the power of advertising as it has never been demonstrated before. We can awaken in the American people the dream they have been looking for and asking for and begging for since the turn of the century. We can explain why the American way of life- with its bathtubs and pop-up toasters and electric refrigerators and radios and insulated homes- is worth sacrificing anything and everything not only to preserve but to take forward into a future more glorious than ever... If we do not sell the worthwhileness of winning the war, we'll never be able to sell beans after it."
Printers Ink, April 10, 1942

Here we see how the copy editor of the advertising journal, Printers Ink, is appealing to potential advertisers to make the most of the opportunity to sell the "American way of life" to Americans (fortunate enough to be safe) at home during WW II. The copy editor is urging advertisers to join the "gold rush" and use wartime to SELL THEIR GOODS ! Rather than hesitate for one minute to sell all sorts of products during the war, the editor is selling advertising's place in the war effort. As an editorial in the same journal is titled, it is advertisers' "TIME FOR AN OFFENSIVE."

The advertising world was just another part of the overall wartime propaganda campaign whose job it was to convince Americans of the rightness of war. Whether it be WW I, WW II, Vietnam, or the current war in Iraq, the need to SELL doubting Americans a bill of goods is ever present.

P.S. I think I blogged next week's reading accidentally, so, HOLD THESE THOUGHTS!


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good post. Good quote.

The interests of the advertising industry complement the war effort. The OWI needed the advertising industry to reach the public and wartime propaganda was good P.R. for the advertising industry.

4/09/2007 11:19 PM  

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