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?

Video Game Streams Are Creating New Forms of Community

Khasino, a Marvel Strike Force streamer on Twitch, makes his living playing video games for an audience.
An advertisement for Ivory Soap from the Christian Herald, 1913

Using God to Sell Soap

Ivory Soap got its name from Psalm 45.