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