ADVANTAGES

One explanation for the triumph of the consumer culture is that manufacturers kept introducing more and more useful and enticing products while, at the same time, credit became more available to more Americans. Teachers will certainly want to explain the importance of the car as a method of transportation and as a symbol of freedom and status. While Duke University’s Ad Access site, , does not include car advertisements in its transportation category, it does offer access to hundred of advertisements of the two other most significant consumer items of the 1920s-1950s, the radio and the television. Teachers should have their students examine the early ads for these items to see how they were sold, literally and figuratively, to the American public. Students should be able to explain whom the advertisements targeted as well as what attributes advertisers deemed most valuable: access to information, to entertainment, or to status?

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