A DuPont ad for Orlon, 1953

What We Mean By “Better Living”

How advertising used the phrase “better living” to portray big business as a force for moral good and continuous progress.
Boxes of Cracker Jacks

The Invention of the Giveaway

The appeal of the free gift has always been, for the consumer, about the eternal dream of getting something for nothing.
From a 1935 ad for Cutex nail polish and lipstick

Cutex Hooked Americans on Manicures

How a company that started off selling cuticle remover convinced American woman to paint their nails.
A trade card for Dilworth's Coffee, Philadelphia

The Racism of 19th-Century Advertisements

Illustrated advertising cards invoked ethnic stereotypes, using black women as foils in order to appeal to white consumers.
General Electric Mazda Lamps

Light Bulbs for Beauty

When electric lighting was first introduced to U.S. households, marketing departments tried to convince women that better lighting would be flattering.
Advertising Mother's Day

What Good Moms Buy

The way advertisers target mothers has changed along with the social understanding of American motherhood, one sociologist found.
Guinness ad

Why We Drink Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day

Unlike shamrock pins and green beer, Guinness drinking really is a longstanding tradition in Ireland.
pharmaceutical advertising

Should Drug Makers Advertise?

Drug advertising is a longstanding issue in the U.S, tangled with patients’ rights to make their own decisions, doctors’ professional status, and the ethics of profiting from powerful drugs.
Menstrual pads history

The Secret History of Menstruation

Menstruation is both a mundane fact of life and an oddly under-discussed subject. For many centuries, Western industrial societies have simply ignored it.
Womens Home Companion ad

An Ad Campaign for Ads

Back in the 1920s and ‘30s, the magazine Women’s Home Companion tried explicitly appealing to its readers to take the ads seriously.