An advertisement for Schlitz Beer, 1967

Selling Hedonism in Postwar America

The hedonism of American consumer culture is the result of deliberate efforts by mid-twentieth century marketing experts.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Why There Is No “Countervailing Power” Against Monopolies

The New Deal revolutions in law and policy were so successful that the economist John Kenneth Galbraith took their accomplishment for granted.
A vintage Avon advertisement

Is Multi-Level Marketing Really Just a Pyramid Scheme?

Offering products as their main revenue base allows MLMs to operate legally, but they often have fundamentally the same ethical issues as pyramid schemes.
Oil refinery

What Comes After Oil Culture?

Almost everything about our culture today is built on oil. Can we imagine a world built on a different energy infrastructure?

When Product Placement Goes Wrong

It was a lesson brands could have used in the early 2000s.
Elsie the Cow

Who Was Elsie, besides the World’s Most Famous Cow?

In the Great Depression, Borden sought a new spokescow to help preserve its traditional agrarian image.
A person's hands wrapping Christmas gifts

Only You Can Prevent Useless Gifts

Is it time for a revival of the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving (SPUG)?
An overhead view of a book store

Why We Love Local Businesses

The explanation may have to do with the gift economy.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836.jpg

A Nation in Decline, as Always

What does it really mean for a nation to be “in decline?” And why does it make for such appealing political rhetoric?
A 1934 ad for Listerine toothpaste

Good Housekeeping Treated Advertisers as Health Experts

Good Housekeeping set itself up as a source of authoritative advice, but included ads for “health” products known to be harmful.