Radio Active: Advertising and Consumer Activism, 1935-1947 by Kathy M. Newman

By Kathy M. Newman

Radio energetic tells the tale of ways radio listeners on the American mid-century have been lively of their listening practices. whereas cultural historians have noticeable this era as certainly one of failed reform-focusing at the failure of activists to win major adjustments for advertisement radio-Kathy M. Newman argues that the Nineteen Thirties witnessed the emergence of a symbiotic dating among advertisements and activism. advertisements helped to kindle the shopper activism of union individuals affiliated with the CIO, middle-class membership girls, and working-class housewives. as soon as provoked, those activists turned made up our minds to influence-and every so often eliminate-radio ads. As one instance of the way radio intake was once an energetic instead of a passive technique, Newman cites The Hucksters, Frederick Wakeman's 1946 radio spoof that skewered eccentric sponsors, neurotic account executives, and grating radio jingles. The booklet bought over 700,000 copies in its first six months and confident broadcast executives that american citizens have been unsatisfied with radio ads. The Hucksters left its mark at the radio age, displaying that radio may perhaps motivate collective motion and never simply passive conformity. Illustrations: eight tables

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Audience intellectuals were made up of two sub-groups of professionals who often worked together: advertisers/marketers, including copywriters, who worked at advertising agencies and academics who worked as professors of advertising and economics at universities; and university-aYliated social scientists, especially psychologists and sociologists, who specialized in quantitative and psychological interview techniques. qxd 1/14/2004 10:18 AM Page 19 T H E P S Y C H O L O G Y O F RA D I O A D V E RT I S I N G 19 Tide constituted the publishing nexus for most advertising professionals.

34 The ads presented here, however, paint a much less rosy view of capitalism—or at least of the modern condition. ” Altogether, these ads remind listeners that their world is full of domestic drudgery (White Naptha and Duz), anxiety (Nervine), and alienation (Solitaire), and that it is unhealthy and potentially dangerous (Ipana toothpaste and all cigarette ads). Did listeners react to the negativity presented in radio ads? Many ads were structured to anticipate just such a reaction. ” Of course, the announcer went on to say quite a few words about the laxative with a peculiar name: Friends, one of the products that makes it possible for us to present Fred Allen .

29 Radio advertisements had to construct the problem for the listener before they could oVer the product as the solution. In the following commercial for Ipana toothpaste, the listener is urged to feel anxious about “Xabby” gums, about eating “soft foods,” and about having a less-than-lovely smile: For the sake of your smile, look at your toothbrush tonight. Does it show a faint tinge of pink? That’s a warning signal [police whistle]. That’s pink toothbrush, and you’d better see your dentist about that.

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