Advertising: A Cultural Economy


Liz McFall

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Culture, Representation and Identities

    Culture, Representation and Identities is dedicated to a particular understanding of ‘cultural studies’ as an inherently interdisciplinary project critically concerned with the analysis of meaning. The series focuses attention on the importance of the contemporary ‘cultural turn’ in forging a radical re-think of the centrality of ‘the cultural’ and the articulation between the material and the symbolic in social analysis. One aspect of this shift is the expansion of ‘culture’ to a much wider, more inclusive range of institutions and practices, including those conventionally termed ‘economic’ and ‘political’.

    Paul du Gay is at the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University. Stuart Hall is Emeritus Professor at The Open University and Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths College, the University of London.

    Books in the series:

    Representing Black Britain

    Black and Asian Images on Television

    Sarita Malik

    Cultural Economy

    Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life

    Edited by Paul du Gay and Michael Pryke

    Advertising Cultures

    Gender, Commerce, Creativity

    Sean Nixon


    A Cultural Economy

    Liz McFall


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    List of Illustrations

    • Figure 5.1: Railway Station Advertising 1874
      • (Source: extract from print in Sampson, 1874) 121
    • Figure 5.2: Fashions for Advertisers 1846
      • (Source: Punch's Almanac, Vol. 10: 236, Jan.-Jun. 1846) 122
    • Figure 5.3: An 1826 Advertising Van
      • (Source: Sampson, 1874) 124
    • Figure 5.4: JWT headquarters in 1899
      • (Source: The Thompson Red Book on Advertising, 1899) 126
    • Figure 5.5: Sell's Building 1908
      • (Source: The Propelling Power, SL43 Colour Promotional Leaflet, 1908, HATa) 127
    • Figure 5.6: Typical Letterhead 1908
      • (Source: Sell's Box, HATa) 128
    • Figure 5.7: Edward Steichen's Advertisement for Jergen's Lotion 1923
      • (Source: Steichen, 1962) 136
    • Figure 6.1: 1820 Turner's Blacking advertisement
      • (Source: Lysons’ collection, c103k11 vol. 4, BL) 162
    • Figure 6.2: Warren's Blacking advertisement drawn by Cruikshank
      • (Source: Elliot, 1962) 163
    • Figure 6.3: Advertising stunts to evade restrictions on display
      • (Source: Presbrey, 1929) 165
    • Figure 6.4: Advertisement for the 1769 Shakespeare Jubilee celebrations
      • (Source: Daniel, c.1860, c61, Reprinted with kind permission of the British Library) 167
    • Figure 6.5: Duesbury & Co. Tradecard, 1799
      • (Source: Reprinted with kind permission of John Johnson Collection Exhibitions 2001; Tradecards 6 (20); Bodleian Library) 166
    • Figure 6.6: Panorama advertisement of the Flushing of Malta exhibition
      • (Source: Lysons’ collection, c103k11, BL) 169
    • Figure 6.7: 1930s Advertisement for Chase & Sanborn's tea
      • (Source: Tea for Sale, Fortune, August 1935) 181
    • Figure 6.8: 1914 Woodbury's Soap ‘emotional appeal’ advertisement
      • (Reprinted with kind permission of Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History, Duke University) 183


    It has taken quite some time for this book to emerge in its current form. To those who have helped shape it along the way I owe thanks, not only for their support and kindness, but also for their constancy. The book draws substantially on doctoral research supervised by Paul du Gay and Margaret Wetherall and I continue to be grateful for the training they provided and for the mixture of patience, commitment, inspiration and energy that they brought to the project. Paul du Gay in particular has been an ongoing and indispensable source of ideas, debates and ‘damn fine’ coffee.

    I would like to thank the Open University, especially the Sociology Discipline and the Research School, for providing first the financial support and later the research leave to enable the project to be completed. I also owe thanks to those in the Open University in Scotland who encouraged me to begin the project in the first place, Graham Dawson, Bram Gieben, Katla Helgason and Gerry Mooney.

    A non-historian conducting historical research into a subject as flimsy and ephemeral as advertising relies upon the skills and expertise of archivists and librarians. I am especially grateful to Michael Cudlipp and Margaret Rose of the History of Advertising Trust in Norwich and to Ellen Gartrell of the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History, Duke University, North Carolina for generously granting me the space, time and help to allow me to navigate my way through their extensive collections. I am also grateful to staff at the British Library; the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford; the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institute and the Guildhall Library, London.

    Many friends and colleagues discussed ideas with me, read drafts and offered feedback. I want to thank in particular Daniel Miller, Sean Nixon, Graeme Salaman and Alan Warde for their responses to earlier versions of parts of this work. I also want to thank Rick Holliman, Sarah Seymour-Smith and Ramaswami Harindranath among others for breaking into the monotony just often enough to keep me sane while this was being written. Special thanks are due to David Featherstone who has listened, read and responded to numerous drafts with unstinting patience, generosity and insight. Extraspecial thanks to the little people, Eavan and Marni, for moderating my progress in the best possible way and to Linda Usherwood (aka Mary Poppins). The book is dedicated to Stephen.

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