The discussion of advertising has long roots in the USA. While today the ethics of native advertising, or advertisements disguised as articles that have become worryingly present in online publications, radio and television advertising has been an entrenched part of media consumption for nearly a century now. The McChesney reading discusses how the Radio Act of 1927 and the later Communications Act of 1934 changed the landscape of broadcast media in the nation and effectively stopped any hope for these mediums to become useful public goods instead of commercial endeavors. This was also the last major political debate of such a topic, however that may very well need to change in the near future as Internet Access becomes more and more necessary to participate in society and perform as basic functions as apply for jobs and file one’s taxes.

This transitions into a discussion of the birth of a consumer culture built on television in the 1950’s, and how that culture looked to distance itself from the unchecked capitalism of the 1920’s that led to the Great Depression. Samuel describes television as the first mode of communication whose financial model was supported not by sales, but by advertising. Radio and print were at first meant to be sold as products to consumers and were only later supplemented by advertisement, but not so with television. Samuel also describes how advertisement came to find children as a fruitful target, another debate whose relevance is still alarmingly relevant in the context of 2019.

As an aside, has anyone else had issues accessing the video? The link is requesting a login that I cannot use. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you.

Advent of Ads: The Growth of Communicated Consumerism

3 thoughts on “Advent of Ads: The Growth of Communicated Consumerism

  • The topic of advertisers targeting children and building consumerism values early on is an interesting one to discuss. When I think on my own experiences, I remember more details about commercials that used to come on when I was a kid than commercials that I view on a regular basis now, because my inclination to pay close attention to them has been lost. Children do not pick up on gimmicks and false advertising as much, and thus targeting kids is the perfect way to get parents to spend money.

  • I find it fascinating just how quickly TV producers honed in on children for advertisements. It’s amazing how effective it was (and still is) today. While the amount of ads or commercials that our generation now ingests via television might be lesser than those before us, we’re definitely just as susceptible to ads whether that be on Facebook, Instagram, etc.

    1. One thing that I had meant to bring up in class (and I really hope we get a chance to talk about tomorrow) is how in a lot of cases the advertisement BECAME the kids’ shows themselves. Shows/nightmares like the Rubik’s Cube cartoon were replaced by brands and IPs that were built to become commercial juggernauts. Shows like Pokemon, Yugioh, Beyblade, Digimon were built as multimedia franchises. They were launched with toys, TV shows, trading cards, video games. Pokemon is the highest grossing media franchise in the world at about 90 billion dollars since 1996.

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