In this issue, Advertising & Society Review presents two original articles, both of which focus on the effects of the rise of the market society in Europe. The first article, by Jukka Kortti, tells of the rise of “Americanization” in Finland. As Kortti explains and illustrates in “On the Cusp of Postwar Modernization: Americanization, International Culture, and Gender Roles in Finnish Commercials, 1955–1975,” using a large number of Finnish commercials from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, the impact of America's consumer ethic on Europe was substantial, but not uniform or total, as is often claimed. Instead, as he shows, the advertisements of the period also show the marks of an international European culture—in the form of James Bond movies, the new youth fashions, and movie stars from several European countries—as well as the distinctive traits of Finland's own culture, economic organization, and social values.
The second article, by Nadia Kaneva, focuses not only on a different place, but on the near end of the time frame in the development of western Europe as an increasingly coherent market and media sphere. In “Meet the ‘New’ Europeans: EU Accession and the Branding of Bulgaria,” Kaneva provides a close reading of advertisements aimed at “nation branding” Bulgaria. The fall of the Soviet Union, as well as the increasing attractiveness of European Union membership, has created an ironic situation for Eastern European countries, in which campaigns to “brand nations” now figure with increasing prominence. The poignant contradictions of this juncture for countries struggling to emerge from a postwar history very different from that of Western Europe is articulately captured in this article.
We have also provided a reprint here of a chapter from Tony Judt's masterful book, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. This chapter documents and explains the rise of consumer culture in postwar Europe, thus we hope will be helpful to readers as a substantive framework for the original articles in this issue.
Finally, we have included here a feature that I have wanted to develop further for the journal, a book review. Professor Marius Luedicke of the University of Innsbruck, who has been doing extensive consumer research on the Hummer, has provided us with an overview and assessment of The Hummer: Myths and Consumer Culture. Advertising & Society Review is interested in receiving reviews of recent, substantive books on advertising and consumer culture. We invite proposals for reviews from readers, with the caveat that only books of academic interest, as opposed to general business press books, are appropriate.
Linda M. Scott