For me, what stood out the most in the presentation was the level of innovativeness that advertisers exhibited in their advertising antics. In the 1950s, media technology was not as advanced as it is today, but the people at that time were able to accomplish incredible things through television. It is clear that a lot of effort was dedicated to understanding consumer behavior. Also, advertising initiatives focused on influencing consumers to buy and use certain products. Commercial production of the television sets was a big breakthrough for businesses because the technology offered a potent channel for the interaction of businesses and customers. During that time, sales pitches delivered through television advertisements were so effective that consumers were compelled to purchase products that they had not previously used (Halberstam). Apart from business adverts, the politicians also turned to the new technology, and as a result, a less popular presidential candidate managed to sell his ideologies to the public through television adverts. The television revolutionized life in America both in the commercial sector and in political circles.
The ‘American way’ worked for the better part of the fifties. In later decades, the system became corrupt with propaganda adverts that were imposed on people aimed at influencing their opinions and ideologies. One instance of such misinformation is the Guatemala coup. Even though America had played a big role in facilitating the coup, a fake story was sold to the people through the television. This regime of advertising has changed since people have become more informed. Also, democracy has promoted transparency that has in turn spawned a culture of accountability and truthfulness among the ruling class and commercial enterprises (Halberstam). For example, some cigarettes sold in earlier decades were advertised as being healthy. However, after it was revealed that smoking leads to some types of cancers, all cigarette producers were forced to attach warning signs to their merchandise.
In conclusion, although the introduction of the television as a tool for mass communication led to the emergence of a culture of advertising, this communication tool was soon abused by government who used it to sell propaganda to its people. Also, some dishonest adverts were disseminated through television. However, with the advent of transparency, incidences of misinformation have greatly reduced. Therefore, the television revolutionized both the way businesses operate and how politicians sell their manifestos.
Halberstam, David. “The Fifties ‘Selling The American Way’.” YouTube, uploaded by Tim Hoxha, 16 November, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkZrkonXdnE