Advertising over the Years


Take a glance at the media – how has it influenced both the consumer, and your vote for President?

Follow the path of advertisers and our lifestyle from the thirties to the present day. Follow changes in politics as it takes a twist in technology to win a seat as President. What brought us the news in the thirties, forties, and so on – is now carried in our pocket.   

threexsistersI understand all you hear about is politics, on the news, in the paper, all over the web, and around your kitchen table. Then, there is me preaching about change in health care, what is important or why are we at war?

In the thirties, they had a radio, and the family would gather around this tall piece of furniture, change the tubes often, and listen to the dummy Charlie McCarthy. Over fifty million listeners – brought to you by NBC – on the Chase and Sandborn Radio Hour, who would sponsor the show. They called this type of program, a variety program.  It was Edgar Bergen, who served as the ventriloquist. Edgar and his dummy would be the hit show during their slot, prime time on a Sunday night.

By the year 1938, it would be CBS, trying to pull in more than fifty million listeners. They thought until they came up with something with a little more class or culture, and pulled their host from the stage to the radio. It would be Orson Wells, who went by H. G. Wells. Many of the listeners were young boys who were fascinated by his voice; Orson Wells played Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The station offered him one hour, commercial free, opposite Charlie McCarthy.

How would they draw in such an enormous crowd? Plans began. At first they would start with the usual listening music. (Back in the thirties radio had the reputation of telling the truth, everything had to be as real as possible when Orson Wells took the mic.) Following the Sunday listening music broadcasted from some big hotel, they told the audience, would be Orson Wells and his hour of drama. The audience began to tune into listen to his voice and believed everything he said – as young and old alike began chatting about this man on CBS. 

The numbers weren’t growing as fast as they wanted, until October 30, 1938, when Wells began his show. The music came from a hotel, so they made the audience believe, it would be interrupted by Wells who announced to his listening audience the following. “Ladies and Gentlemen this is the most terrifying thing I ever witnessed,” leading those listeners on by telling them invaders confronted him. “There, I can see the thing’s body,” he continued. On he went saying he saw saliva dripping from rimless lips. Although the station told of a disclaimer about the show, few heard it. Wells, in one hour witnessed Martians land on Earth, destroy all the armed forces, and hundreds of thousands of Americans believed everything he told them as they emptied out of theaters in NYC as panic struck, knowing the site of the landing to be so close, only over the bridge in NJ. Yes, the station blamed for the panic, but when it was over, they said what all radio would state at the time, “The entire story and all of the incidences were factious.”

Why would I include the “War of the Worlds” with the politics of the day? Think about it, the year was 1938 and the economy was stagnant, similar to this very day, and it was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who first won office in 1933 and re-elected by a landslide in 1936. Still the President found that he was running a country that he said in his famous words, “ill-housed, ill-c lad, and ill-nourished. As today, he was fighting ten million people out of work, and those were the government numbers, which at the time were not entirely accurate. Many of the voters by 1938 thought they were not on the way out of the depression. A depression where the stocks crashed and banks fell apart. Some people during 1938 believed they took a few steps forward but would take more than a few backward as the unemployment climbed.

Surprising enough we have felt the same as those in 1938, and mother nature did not help the situation when the hurricane of 1938 hit the eastern coast and caused more deaths and damage than the previous earthquake in San Francisco. This took place in 1906, when even the fire in Chicago did not kill as many people as the hurricane.

Today we are seeing the same damage from storms for several years during two administrations, while those who protected us were off at war. Thousands of lives were lost, more than any disaster in our country.

You see, even as we still try to keep food on the table, gas in the car, cloths on our backs, and keep up a good appearance the main thing destroying our country has been a war blamed on one person – and his personal terrorists, without proof. War that spread from one country to the next in the Middle East, costing America their security. It continues. During the 30’s the question of war was at hand among the poor and unemployed. It was in 1937, before Orson took to the radio, when three Americans had been killed, when the Japanese fighter plane attacked an American gunboat in China. America ignored the incident and let the Japanese fight with China, and China lost over 200,000 people during that period. Japanese continued fighting with China for years causing poor relations with the Japanese.

Communication throughout America was poor, news of any disaster or even a stage for war took days to reach the newspapers. That’s when the radio included news when Orson Wells delivered the War of the Worlds, at an inappropriate time and panic stuck in NYC. By 1938 people were keeping their radio’s on for the news, to hear about the real world, and when the announcement began with the words, “A live report from the scene,” people became panicky. Live reports began to occur on CBS when the German troops made their way onto the streets of Vienna. Those who were living at the time probably never forgot the live report from both NBC and CBS when Adolf Hitler was speaking to the Nazi Party in Nuremberg.

I can’t imagine learning about war while listening to a radio station, but I do understand the need to know, and it was quicker than a newspaper.

This was the time when the eye-witness report also came from the photographer, the photo was stepping up the ladder and used in reporting as an attractive way of showing the news along with the article in the newspaper. During the depression, it would be photographs that would explain to those who never understood why, what was happening outside of their personal world. During the thirties, it would be new – and exciting to see even the poorest of people in a magazine called “Life.” People grew to love “Life” because it was real things happening to real people. Every American alive during its publication has read “Life.”

Like everything else, the media of the thirties changed America – opened eyes to what was happening around the country, and in comes the invention of the television. Advertising stretched into Russia, at Moscow’s Sokolniki Park, showing American Models in fancy clothing by 1953. It would be the Vice President of America, Richard Nixon – in 1953 who believed sharing with the Russians American ideology would give him a push toward the top seat in the White House. When Nixon was given the assignment to open the show, he studied with Henry Kissinger, and read and listened to all he could about Russia, their language, and talked with people who met Khrushchev in the past.

Instead of side by side politics, the heads of state were broadcasting in a park on color television monitors, and those people in America still were watching black and white; at least those with a moderate income. During this period of our country the cost of house would rise for the first time since the late 1920’s – it would be Nixon who came out with the statement, “Americans can afford spending on an average, 14,000 dollars on a home. Nixon used the television and its power for his upcoming run for President against JF Kennedy. Nixon, the year he would run for office, and before leaving Russia gave a thirty-minute address in Russia, while holding a bottle of Pepsi.

Politics suddenly became entertainment when Nixon asked for debates with Kennedy on live television, but was surprised when he saw the replays, his facial and body language threw him out of the race, while people were mesmerized when Kennedy came across younger, brighter, and smiled that youthful grin at the camera. There was Nixon shaking his head, disapproved, but not calling the other candidate wrong; unlike the recent debates where we were watching a fistfight in our mind.

The economy was booming with advertising, every Tom, Dick or Harry wanted the better automobile, and their wife had to have the best clothes and most expensive shoes. Children began to compete in school, not in sports but by wearing the best-looking outfit. The world was changing. Small business began to evaporate when Americans started working for their State Government, with a contribution to the SSI and Medicare, they would be set for their lifetime, they believed.

Unfortunately, this is when the product did not matter as much as how much of the product could be sold through advertising. The product, known as we use it today, your Brand Name on Facebook, used to learn about others who may service you in the future,

As we learned, the first Television debate with Kennedy winning each debate was no longer Nixon’s way of communicating. He never knew how different two people could be on television, how they would brand themselves.

Television took off like a rocket – and Americans loved every minute of it. At least someone in every two-family home had to have a TV on its onset, and by 1960 everyone had a television, with larger screens, and legs holding it up off the floor instead of a smaller screen in a box. At the beginning of the year – 1961 – people began investing in color television that urged the producers to start thinking in color. They even branded their programs, “Brought to you in Living Color,” before the show was about to air.

The Today Show picked up viewers when the producer added a monkey J. Fred Muggs to a line of hosts. Television was the world, and producers knew most Americans were watching television during their free time, instead of listening to a radio or even playing sports. It became a come question within a household, “Is this one in color?” Families began planning their life around the television.

Like it is today with technology – parents had to curb the television so attention would be focused on homework assignments, so rules became a common bond between parent and child. Television grew to be the largest advertising instrument for families to judge one product to another. In our day and age advertisers have time slots for the people, if you notice during dinner the older generations have their sets turned on to listen to the news, and the advertisers promote drugs, medical equipment, and insurance companies and let’s not forget life insurance.

So we proved advertising works, people tend to purchase the brand. Now we have more places for the political world to brand themselves – Political Ads were once run just before an election, and now we start hearing them, perhaps not watching, months before a Presidential Election. Generations are living longer so advertising must reach all of them, but at different time slots. More young people pay attention to advertising on the web, or on a device like Kindle – which is a free app, but many times apps are costing the user money if they want a commercial free experience. The web has brought radio into 193 countries, and during one hour, you have a choice of approximately five hundred shows. Your iPhone also has choices; advertising accepted, or not. Fewer people tend to pay the extra cost for a land-line when they travel with a mobile device.

As we found out this year during the election the telephone is still a significant part of the political makeup, when people begin to ignore calls from every state of the union about issues, candidates, and causes. The telephone is still a large base regarding polls, and polls have to be different from previous elections because people keep their mobile phone numbers out of the hands of a stranger.

Did the election of 2012 differ from other Presidential elections? Few polls were taken on the internet, but voices were speaking out, websites were established, issues were right there with the pros and cons, from one candidate to another. Social networking gave people the opportunity to hear from their peers, and answers were given, opinions’ were made, shouting out to some five thousand friends who they believed would serve the country the best. The younger voter doesn’t wait for the nightly news, it is the middle age or older generations who tune into the television, like old hat, they have to hear what’s happening on television, commercials gave them time to stretch their legs and grab that last treat from the frig. By the time the morning paper arrives everyone is talking about social networking, so as we grow, and technology is the primary focus of our knowledge of things to come, we will be teaching each other – both through our thoughts, and even in a classroom. How will the next election take on this new advertising, my guess if you are listening, will be to enter the learning institutions through the internet and schedule their debate with the voting public. Perhaps this is cheaper in the long run for today, but no one can guess what the cost of advertising on the Web will be four years from now.

We just took a trip down memory lane – from the radio and how people began to believe everything they heard, then television, and onward as we climbed the ladder of technology regarding advertising and the influence it will have in the future; already more younger people are hitting the polls, and their information comes from the web.

Did this help any one candidate? Obama is in for four more years, but glance back to his first election and think about on what he focused. And it was President Clinton who made the statement, “By the year 2000, every household will probably have a computer in their home.” And to think his wife, the Senator from New York at the time, was fighting a battle further from the computer, and playing a bit of the old world politics. Obama still had his base of people online for the second time around.

I have a great deal of solutions to many problems – but let us stop using the people as a robot, send them to the polls, make your ballot, and then wait. It’s high time people are part of our government. If they can’t afford to run, they can talk. President Obama, once your new cabinet is formed, take a glance over your shoulder and remember people who are interested in the way government is run, and create a cabinet of voters, and perhaps both parties will come to some agreement. It could be a new way to block the wall.


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