For this final issue of the year, we consider the some of the repercussions and imprints of the World Wars and the ensuing technological revolutions on European and American advertising.
Transporting us to the Italy of the 1950s, Maria Chiara Liguori discusses the postwar consumer boom that divided Italian consumer culture between the industrially developed North and the agricultural South. “North and South: Advertising Prosperity in the Italian Economic Boom Years” demonstrates, through a close examination of advertisements in two regional newspapers, that not only did the consumer bases significantly differ, producers and advertisers actively spoke to these divides.
Going slightly back in time and crossing the pond, George Royer, Melissa G. Ocepek, and William Aspray shed light on WWII’s mark on American food advertisements in a delightful photo essay, “Food Fights for Freedom: A Critical Reading of Food Advertisements from Ladies’ Home Journal during the Second World War.” Organized around nine major themes, readers may recognize some iconic campaigns and place them within a wider discourse on wartime nutrition and identity.
For our Classic Campaign, “Have You Had Your Daily Drug?,” we return to Italy with Maria Chiara Liguori, who finds the roots of Motta’s 1959 ice-cream campaign in the tensions rising from a revolutionizing food industry in the rapidly developing Italy of post-WWII. Conflicting notions of industrialization and nutrition compete in the establishment of this emergent consumer market.
Finally, Astrid Van den Bossche reviews Karen Pinkus’s Bodily Regimes: Italian Advertising under Fascism, which advocates for a more sophisticated cultural understanding of advertising. Pinkus’s work is exemplary of a close reading that considers the many contexts of advertising production and demonstrates that cultural ideology has a way of expressing itself through aesthetics as well as commercial activity.
Linda M. Scott
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