Advertising and The Mass Market

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  • Advertising and The Mass Market
    • What was it?
      • The mass production and the lowering of prices on consumer goods meant that more items were available to more people than ever before.
      • Advertising a product changed from simply announcing the existence of a product in a dull, dry fashion to persuading the public they needed and deserved to own the product.
      • By developing repeat customers, advertising also helped build brand loyalty for the company. Brand loyalty helps sell other existing and new products to these same customers.
      • Coca-Cola serves as a good example of how product advertising changed over this forty-year period. When first introduced in the 1880s, the product was marketed as a medicine, with claims that it cured headaches, and that it "revived and sustained" a person. Seeking to build repeat business and brand loyalty, by the 1920s the company emphasized it as a refreshment and a "fun food". Consumers demanding the cola at soda fountains could pressure storeowners to stock it, or risk losing their business.
      • The early years of the century saw a corresponding change in advertising. Products were given brand names, often promoted as a sign of reliability.
    • How does it relate to the novel?
      • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel was written against the background of this explosive growth in commodities available for purchase, most of which were standardised products.
      • F. Scott Fitzgerald created Jay Gatsby at a time when the American workplace was increasingly ruled by doctrines of scientific management, by time and motion studies which aimed to gain maximum efficiency from workers
      • Gatsby is a figure whose sense of time is not reflected on any clock face; he is a romantic figure who transcends the standardised, regulated world that was a reality for many Americans at the time.
      • But he surely belongs to the brave new world of American advertising, for his act of self-creation can be seen as new packaging, the shift from Gatz to Gatsby as a change of brand name, while the mansion and the parties are strategies of marketing. He rises above the marketplace of his time in the sense that he is creating a unique product, intended not for mass consumption, but for Daisy


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