Students of an engineering course in training in Japan, 1915

When Scientific Management Came to Japan

Japanese workers, many of them women, worked up to 17 hours a day in the early 20th century. Yet experts still wondered why they “wasted” time.
A vintage ad for Crest toothpaste

How Toothpaste Got Scientific Cred

Would you brush with a toothpaste for the sweet taste alone or because of its touted health benefits? The answer wasn't always so obvious.
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.
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.

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.
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.
Ducks caged for foie gras

New York City Bans Foie Gras

The practice of eating fatty goose livers dates back to at least 2500 BCE. Is there a humane way to produce it?