The Globalization of American Advertising and Brand Management: A Brief History of the J. Walter Thompson Company, Proctor and Gamble, and US Foreign Policy

By Dawn Spring.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Historically prominent members of advertising and brand management leaders, the J. Walter Thompson Company and Procter and Gamble envisioned an American-led global consumer order supported by advertising-based media, where brands took precedence over the corporations that owned them and advertising, propaganda, public diplomacy, and public relations became indistinguishable. They saw advertising playing a central role in culture, education, government, religion and society, and sought to have American brand-name products dominate national and international markets and advertising money support every major media. This study outlines how these pioneers sought to ensure that they became significant players in the global order, building relationships with the US federal government and national security agencies, and developing an infrastructure for disseminating persuasive information that continues to define contemporary media. It highlights key moments, players, and relationships from the late 19th century into the 21st century, including The Ad Council, Radio Free Europe, Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy, and Presidents Reagan and G. W. Bush. It also explores their definition of free enterprise as a system based on the mass consumption and mass production of heavily advertised, brand name goods and services, promoted across all major media and supported by consumer credit and the brand management system.

Keywords: History of Advertising, American-led Global Consumer Order, Brand Management, Mass Consumption, Free Enterprise, Persuasive Information, Public Diplomacy, Public Relations, US Foreign Policy

The Global Studies Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.51-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 549.454KB).

Dr. Dawn Spring

Associate Professor, Department of History, School of Arts and Humanities, American Public University, Budapest, Hungary

An associate professor of history, Dawn Spring is also an independent designer and scholar dedicated to engaging popular audiences in history through digital history, digital humanities and entertainment, as well as utilizing new media and technology to teach history. She teaches Native American and United States history exclusively online. She holds a PhD and MA in United States history from the University of Cincinnati and an MA in media studies from the New School for Social Research. She has worked with Theater for the New City and The Living Theatre, created interactive media with the Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design Architecture Art and Planning, and participated in the NEH's first Humanities Gaming Institute. Her first book, Advertising in the Age of Persuasion: Building Brand America, 1941 - 1961, was published in November 2011 by Palgrave Macmillan. Currently, in addition to teaching online, she is conducting research on Radio Free Europe at the Open Society Archives at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.


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