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Media and Communications

A Cultural History of Advertising: Soap, Sex & Cigarettes

A Cultural History of Advertising: Soap, Sex & Cigarettes


Music playing Hi, and welcome to a brief introduction Soap, Sex and Cigarettes- A Cultural History of Advertising in North America I’m Karen Hamilton from the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at George Brown College. Advertising has been part of North American culture since it was used to entice settlers to the “New World” Tales were spun preying on the hopes and dreams of Europeans promising a better life in a Garden of Eden. Of course when they arrived they found the muck and mire of a primitive land. Many of those who arrived couldn’t even read, so information about life and products spread through Word Of Mouth. A town crier would yell out news and views and things for sale. A picture of a boot A picture of a boot on a sign signified a shoemaker. It was simple, but a single picture
or a word from someone else worked Today we have newspapers, radio, TV, websites and user-generated communities like My Space and YouTube Barely a space in our culture is free of commercial messages. We have the ultimate fragmented market and advertisers are panicked trying to find one more space and one more way to get their message noticed. The biggest trend today is viral. Information created by me or you, or somebody just like me or you and transmitted through email, blogs or sites like YOUTUBE. And what is this viral transmission? but simple Word of Mouth. Is word of mouth new?
..Hardly! Like most ideas and trends in the world of advertising, the technology changes and evolves but the reality is everything old is new again. Why does a suitor give a prospective partner a diamond? Was it a cultural phenomenon? Or, was it Debeers who hired an ad agency to convince us that a “Diamond is Forever” Talk about product placement! If you have replaced any piece of technology lately like a computer, a cell phone or a TV, it’s likely that your original product was still working. What’s worse is your new product will not have the lifespan of the previous one. The truth today is products are made to break. Soap, Sex and Cigarettes through an historical overview of advertising examines the past, present and future implications of our consumer culture culture on subjects such as politics, war, sexuality, feminism, discrimination, innovation and technology. If you like history, culture and advertising and want to know the answers to questions like these Why does the print cartridge for your printer cost so much and the printer cost so little? What dirty little secret does Kellogg’s What dirty little secret does Kellogg’s not want you to know about Dr. Kellogg? end up working for an advertising agency? What famous logo did a university student create for just $35? Who is George Brown and why is he one of my heroes? If you want to know the answers to these questions and more and if you want to start questioning the effect advertising has on our society join me for Soap, Sex and Cigarettes. I’ll leave you now with a little montage of some of the messages we’ll be looking at in our course. One, two, three Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary Right now there is a whole entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube Wilma, where’s the Alka Selzer? Where’s the Beef? Music ‘You look so fine I really want to make you mine’ Share the fantasy! Men, nothing takes it off like Noxema Medicated Shave. Stripper music playing new Virginia Slims, tailored for the feminine hand slimmer than the fat cigarettes men smoke Music ‘When you call my name it’s like a little prayer Music “I heard it through the grapevine Head On. Apply Directly to the forehead Zoom Zoom 8..7…6…5…4..3…2..1 zero. (blast sounds) These are the stakes Let’s take a Winston break! That’s it. Winston is the one filter cigarette that delivers flavour 20 times a pack We shall prevail Take it off..take it all off You dress like the tube… you ate like the tube You raise your children like the tube You even think like the tube This is mass madness you maniacs In God’s name you people are the real thing We are the illusion So turn off your televisions. Turn them off now Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I’m speaking to you Go ahead make a wish.

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