Television and the Rise of Advertizements
Advertising and marketing became an integral component of the 1950s due to the rise of television and consumerism. Because televisions were in nearly every household, a mass audience like never before was now reachable. By the late 1950s, television became the leading national advertising medium. Catchy ad slogans and advertisements became a part of everyday conversations and marketing displayed American capitalism to the world. The Lucky Strike's "Be Happy, Go Lucky" ad was the most popular of 1950 (Salamone 64). Advertisements became so engrained in culture that it was often hard to distinguish between entertainment and advertising. The typical American viewer saw over five hours of commercials weekly, which totaled to about 420 commercials (Salamone 65). Advertisements on television increased in order to keep Americans interested in the consumer culture. Citizens saw the same advertised products and fads on the television, which contributed to a sense of homogeneity and a common spending culture that helped boost the economy. In order for citizens to maintain purchasing power, consumer credit exploded and more people began buying on credit to fuel this boom and to keep mass consumption afloat. From 1945 to 1960, credit increased by 11 fold and installment credit increased 19 fold (Cohen 115). Advertisements made Americans want commodities immediately, so citizens no longer saved but rather readily purchased goods. Additionally, workers began to incur substantial debt because of this switch from saving to increased consumer spending. Television advertisements fostered the classless ideal because commercials extended the reach of advertising into people’s homes, as did the abundant lifestyles portrayed on the screen.