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‘Salesmen of the Will to Want’: Advertising and its Critics in Britain 1951–1967

Nixon, Sean (2010) '‘Salesmen of the Will to Want’: Advertising and its Critics in Britain 1951–1967.' Contemporary British History, 24 (2). pp. 213-233. ISSN 1361-9462

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Through the 1950s and 1960s, a sustained public debate about advertising's economic and social role occurred. This was a debate dominated by the critics of advertising. Across a swathe of educated opinion, an almost obsessive fascination with and scrutiny of advertising flourished. The arrival of commercial television in 1955 and with it television advertising stirred new popular, as well as elite, anxieties. For its critics amongst the viewing public, 'commercials' spoilt their enjoyment of television: there were too many adverts, they interrupted programmes and they were repetitive. These negative feelings towards their practice were the cause of considerable concern for the representatives of the advertising industry. They had good grounds to be concerned. In a period in which advertising was subject to criticism from both an increasingly influential consumer's movement and with politicians prepared to use the law to tax and regulate commercial practices, the representatives of advertising saw themselves in a constant struggle to resist and limit the effects of government intervention in the operation of their business. How they did this and the nature of both the charges made against them and their defence of advertising form the focus of this article. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Advertising; Affluence; Television; Commercials; Moralism; Pilkington Report
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2013 21:02
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:55

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