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Featuring 100 of the most common internet abbreviations, youa€™ll be speaking like a true internet pro in no time. The online lyrics industry is one in which “few thought [adding value] could be done,” according to Rand Fishkin. Users are not required to register as a member of the site to read other users’ submissions (“Cracks”), but membership is required to participate in the site’s voting system. Individual Cracks may be voted up by other members of the site, which yields points for the original author, as well as a point for the user submitting the vote. The site creates and shares daily images of rap artists mixed with “translated” lines of the original artist’s lyrics to create eye-opening renditions. Fans of rap music will undoubtedly enjoy reading other users’ interpretations of these old classics, as well as contributing their own interpretations, while newcomers will enjoy reading “translations” of often heavily-taboo subject matter. This content analysis of a sample of advertising from Time, New Yorker, and Saturday Evening Post during the 1920s and 1930s examined the impact of the national economic conditions on advertising and its visuals.
This study suggests that the impact of national economic conditions in the 1920s and 1930s on the use of ad visuals in the mainstream magazine advertisements seemed visible. The difference in the use of advertising visuals was statistically significant between the two periods of time in the early twentieth century. This study supports cultural historian’s argument that advertising is viewed as mirrors of society, being influenced and shaped by the culture and society.
Advertising visual and its graphical components have long been the target of studies since marketers began to adopt full-scale marketing activities in the late nineteenth century. Literal visuals provide factual information on products or services, and symbolic visuals perform an indirect role to connect the images of products or services with the meanings that are appropriately assigned to them.
Another way of linking advertising and its visuals to society and culture is the cultural approach to advertising. But also, the advertising itself can be explained to determine how it might have been shaped by society. For any specific period of time, this approach viewed that prevailing social and cultural values could have dictated how advertising and its visuals evolved around them.
Based on this approach, the two economically contrasting periods, the “Roaring Twenties” and the “Great Depression” were compared through a content analysis of visual forms in the magazine advertisements to see if the ads and its visuals had reflected the underlying economic conditions in them.
The old saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words, so many advertisers usually try to visually communicate messages, rather than bog down the receiver in heavy text. Visual recall is becoming increasingly important, and corporate symbols and advertising will need to be stronger and eye-catching to capture consumer attention. Additionally, advertisers use visual imagery to enhance or strengthen the message about their product.
In other words, visuals can add meaning (and subsequently a positive response) to something that is basically neutral (the product). Rossiter & Percy10 divided visual communication in advertising into two categories of stimuli – static and dynamic.
The three elements that determine static stimuli are picture size, exposure duration and number of exposures.
An increase in any of these variables has been shown to increase recognition, encoding of details and development of denotative images among viewers. Although the attributes of static stimuli do not fit perfectly in measuring dynamic stimuli, this latter type also has resulted in high viewer response.
Communication by visual image is easily the most important dimension of an advertising message. Visual imagery also can have an effect on textual components in advertisements, which affects brand awareness or liking. Edell & Staelin12 found that very different processing occurs depending on pictorial and verbal message congruencies in advertisements.
In 1987, Moriarty offered an effective typology of visuals in a content analysis of magazine advertising. The first category of visuals determines whether a visual is photographic or an illustration.
At the next level (the crux of the current study), it is determined if visuals are literal or symbolic. If literal, they can be further subcategorized into identification (brand, logo, package), description (what it looks like, parts attributes, schematics), comparison (between two competitors, before and after) or demonstration (how to do, make, use, etc.). In general, literal visuals are used to communicate factual information, so their role is to identify, describe and report details of a product.
In this approach, advertising is viewed as mirrors of society, being influenced and shaped by the culture and society. For example, economic conditions have been regarded as important historic forces that have influenced society, industry, educational system, politics and religion.
Advertising should be recognized as an important social influence and should be identified with one of the most pervasive forces in American life, the force of economic abundance.
The most critical point on the functioning of society shifts from production to consumption. So, the culture must be reoriented to convert the producer’s culture into consumer’s culture. He argues that advertising should be directed to the stimulation or even the exploitation of materialistic drives and then to the standardization of these drives as accepted criteria of social value.
Advertisements contained in the media respond in similar ways to external circumstances, so the content of advertising reflects how advertisers delivered their audiences to the world.16 As such, advertising can be an important window through which different aspects of American society can be explained. This approach, called cultural history, recognizes advertising not only as a window to culture but also a mirror that reflects the culture, or the cultures. In summary, advertising is part of the changing social, cultural and business environment, and its success depends on the ability of the advertisers to predict and to react to a changing society. Factory assembly lines multiplied, the stock market soared, and industrial production nearly doubled between 1921 and 1929. Americans enjoyed the prosperity, and this affluence led the emergence of mass market over a decade. Faced with a robust economy and relaxed regulation, advertising would never again have so positive a climate in which to operate.
Particularly, the Art Deco movement had a significant impact on advertising style and visuals and diversity of advertising styles became identified with this movement. Advertising visuals in this period, by and large, comprehended lifestyles of people and images of products to create impact. Bank failed, factories closed, railroads went bankrupt, farmers fell into desperate straits, and the white-collar group was deeply impacted.


Even though many advertising agencies and corporate advertising departments increasingly engaged in a struggle for survival after the market crash, even steeper declines in advertising expenditures and revenues were brought in this era. Advertisers eventually replaced color and illustrations with extensive text in a multiple of typefaces to grab attention. Louder headlines, strident hard-sell copy, and gross exaggerations appeared as pseudoscientific arguments and appeals to emotion. Advertising capitalized on consumers’ intensified economic and personal insecurities with this hard-sell approach.
The criticism argues that creative leaders in the 1920s pursued their own nonrepresentative tastes, and they often made the mistake of trying to escalate the public’s taste of using artistic language that was too toney and abstract for their audience.
However, it seems that advertising creative had employed some generalizable visual strategies in their advertisements to create impact on the audiences. It is hypothesized that the economic and social conditions that prevailed in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s will be reflected in the visuals used in magazine advertising. Specifically, advertisements in the 1920s are expected to perform more symbolic functions while those in the 1930s did more literal functions. Consequently, the use of visuals for each of the two categories, symbolic and literal, is expected to be significantly different between two eras, 1920s and 1930s. The literal functions, such as identification, description, comparison, and demonstration, are expected to be the focus of advertising visuals in the 1930s, while the 1920s’ advertising visuals performed more of such symbolic functions as association, metaphor, storytelling, and aesthetics. Berg27 also suggests that content analysis may focus on either quantitative or qualitative aspects of communication messages. In this regard, quantitative content analysis may be one of the appropriate approaches to assessment of the cultural impact of the societal changes on advertising. This study applied content analysis to chart functions of visuals in magazine advertisements of the 1920s and 1930s. The goal of developing sampling frames was to select magazines that would represent a wide range of readership and demographic categories. Three mainstream magazines were, therefore, selected; Time, New Yorker, and Saturday Evening Post (See Table 2 for the most recent target audience, circulation and editorial content of these magazines). Time, which Henry Luce and Briton Hadden started in March 1923, was chosen for the study, because it was felt that it was a “mainstream” publication that was extant almost 80 years ago and still on newsstand today.
Because of the change in frequency of publication by Saturday Evening Post from a weekly to a bi-monthly in recent years, it was not at first considered.
Also, New Yorker was examined for this study, because it was felt that “it is a magazine avowedly published for a metropolitan audience and thereby will escape an influence which hampers most national publications. To analyze approximately the same number of advertisements from each magazine, we employed a quota sampling procedure. Four issues of each magazine from the years 1927, 1928, 1929, 1935, 1937, and 1939 were selected for a total of seventy-two issues. Since Time and New Yorker did not deliver enough advertisements until the latter years of the 1920s, advertisements appeared in the 1927, 1928, and 1929 were collected to represent the 1920s. For ensuring enough time difference between the two periods, years of 1935, 1937, and 1939 became the sampling frame years of the issues for the 1930s.
Beginning with a random selection of January, February, or March, the first issue of every third month was systematically included in the sample. Similarly, every fourth full or double-page display advertisement was included, counting from a randomly chosen starting point. Advertising visuals were grouped together in three ways: by product category, by its execution type (photograph or illustration), and by function in advertising.
Illustration and photograph were the two main categories of visual type while some of them used a combination of illustrations and photographs.
Literal visuals were divided into identification, description, comparison, and demonstration. Symbolic visuals included association, association with a character or celebrity, metaphor, storytelling, and aesthetic. The author of this paper, who had worked as an advertising manager for several years, coded all ads. Twenty-five ads that were not included in this study were coded twice to get the Scott’s pi.
Automobile ads, combined with tire, battery, and motor oil ads, accounted for about 31% of all advertised products in three magazines in the 1920s and the 1930s.
Ads of Plymouth, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Cadillac, and other brands frequently appeared in a classical style along with Kelly Springfield tire ads, which was one of the outstanding tire campaigns that ran from 1918 to 1931. Particularly, in the 1930s, when people suffered substantially from shortage of disposable income, several types of financial services often appealed to those who needed financial aids. In response to dramatic increase of demand for radio and refrigerator, home electronics business owners became one of the dominant advertisers in this period, as were food marketers.
As with the financial service industry, a significant change in advertising volume between the 1920s and the 1930s was identified in the category of household miscellaneous goods, such as chair, desk, furniture, heater, watch, clock, lamp, carpet, and the like. The ad frequency within this category radically dropped from 16% to 9% of the total volumes.
As disparity in wealth became severe problem, the relative poor had to reduce their consumption of goods or services that were not always required for their everyday lives. Two factors, at least in part, may explain to this ratio change: the increase in importance of realistic impression and spread of the use of photographs in ads.
The result was a dramatic increase in the use of photographs rather than illustrations because the focus shifted to real impressions of the product rather than depiction of product personality or image. Another factor contributing to the increased use of photographs could have been an effort to reduce production costs because illustrations would usually take more time and labor, and, in turn, more cost than photographs. The percentage change in the use of illustration in Saturday Evening Post was tremendous, declining from 83% in the 1920s to 38% in the 1930s. Typical uses of photographs and illustrations in the 1920s can be seen in the Chrysler ad in the May 7th 1928 issue of Time and the Plymouth ad in the July 10th 1937 issue of Time.
In addition, Table 7 shows that the percentage of illustrations used in literal advertisements was less than those used in symbolic advertisements. The association function of the visual represents an effort to relate the product with consumers’ lifestyle, typical person’s character, and everyday use situation. It is an indirect way of identification or description of the product to persuade consumers to try their products.
It never wants to directly describe or identify product characteristics or its usage, but it usually entices consumers to try the product through indirect explanation of potential consumers’ lifestyle and situations in which the product is certainly tried. In the 1920s, when a typical person had disposable money, the advertisers could not successfully persuade them to buy only with direct explanation or description of the product. Rather, they needed to appeal to their consumers with much more sophisticated use of language or visuals. Hard copy or big headline was never better than soft copy and artistic visuals because consumers were fully supplied with various kinds of products, with which they could enlarge their choices of decision. An illustrative example using association function of visuals is the Camel ad in the first December issue of Time magazine in 1927.


This ad tried to associate Camel with a group of people who were enjoying the beautiful rural scenery in the winter season.
It was stingy in using copy and never tried to use all the space reserved for visuals and copies. Rather, it just tried to maximize the effect of minimal use of copy and picturesque illustration.
In the 1930s, demonstration and identification became the two main functions of advertising visuals in part because consumers might have considered product characteristic and price more than anything. This may be due to their lack of money to buy, time spent on decision and enthusiasm toward search for upscale and sophisticatedly advertised products.
They had to identify what their products were, describe as may advantages as possible, and distinguish the features of their products from competitor’s products. In the 1930s, advertising creative directors became more concerned with literal roles of visuals such as identification, description, comparison and demonstration. Such hard-sell approach dominating advertising space in the 1930s can be exemplified by the Plymouth De Luxe Four-Door Touring Sedan ad, which appeared in Time, in the second week of May 1939. The visual of this ad was primarily used to show advantages of lower mileage, space advantage and low price, using hard copy and actual photographic description. When advertisers thought that they needed to appeal to consumers’ rationality, they used literal visuals, and, conversely, when they thought that they needed to appeal to consumers’ emotions they used more symbolic visuals. In other words, in the 1920s, when advertisers felt that it was better to make mostly emotional appeals to consumers, symbolic visuals using illustration could accomplish the goal better. On the contrary, in the 1930s, literal visuals using photographs better served advertisers’ goal to make rational appeals to more practical. Also, the use of literal visuals was dominant in the 1930s, when advertisers wanted to speak in detail about the product advertised to persuade the obstinate consumers. In particular, rather than providing image or feeling associated with products, extra efforts had been made to identify and describe their product and their characteristics.
All these were found significantly different between the two contrasting periods of time in the early twentieth century. Presumably, one of the fine indicators of social condition, the economic condition dictated how advertising uses its visuals to persuade consumers. This was particularly predictable during the period of prosperity in the Roaring Twenties or the nationwide economic crisis, the Great Depression. The society is influenced by technological developments as well as social, economic, and political conditions and, in turn, the societal change is reflected in advertising. In line with the arguments from the cultural history viewpoint, this study supports the thesis that the influence of the economic conditions was reflected in mainstream advertising. The increase in the use of literal visuals and illustrations in the 1930s suggests that advertising reflected the changing need of consumers and society during the national economic crisis. However, interpretation of the results of this type of content analysis always requires a special caution.
Obviously, there would be some other factors that might explain the changes in the use of visuals in advertising. New movement of design might have contributed to this trend in that they emphasized simple forms, quality materials, sound construction and, importantly, adding colorful decoration only to satisfy prevailing tastes in the 1930s. Technological development and new social values would also be considered as important variables.
While this study could not completely attribute the changes in the use of visuals exclusively to the economic conditions, nevertheless it appears reasonable to conclude that at least part of the changes were attributable to them.
As far as the latter is concerned, the changes in nationwide economic status are worth considering as historical forces that would have affected the society and, as a result, altered what had been contained in advertising. Listen to Tim Webber of the Framestore talk about how their movie visual effects are created, and what it is that British artists can offer the film industry. A fashionable depiction, the Guinness ad artistically captures the extravagance of the everyday working Sapeurs as they transform from their day job to a cigar wielding, European-three-piece suit, silk socks, and fedora wearing men. The London Design Festival is an annual event, held to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world, and as the gateway to the international creative community. Big congratulations to the ‘24 hours of happy’ video for taking home a cyber grand prix at Cannes!!!
The cost of printing, production & personnel had all increased significantly in recent years. Headed by Jayson DeMers, also the founder of AudienceBloom (an SEO & social media marketing agency), the site has enjoyed a quick expansion of followers in Facebook and Twitter. Symbolic visuals can use association (lifestyle, typical person, situation), association with a character or celebrity, metaphor, storytelling or aesthetics. Technological developments, social, economic, and political conditions influence the society and, as a consequence, impact what is contained in advertising. But also, the advertising itself can be explained to determine how it might have been shaped by American society. In this sense, advertising reflects the society’s economic and political conditions,17 so its visuals would be created in a way that could appeal to consumers who were concerned with and affected by those societal variables. Stimulated by the automobile industry, the American economy took off on a period of prosperity in the 1920s. Chrysler tried to appeal to consumers’ feeling, showing its “72” Sport Roadstar in an artistic illustration, while Plymouth wanted to demonstrate the actual scene of an inspector’s careful scrutiny of all door pulls and window-lift handles.
Note: This paper has been presented to the Magazine Division of the 2002 AEJMC National Conference in Miami Beach. Aesthically well crafted, a fine image is displayed of the urban-elegant expensive-looking of gentlemen.
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Yet, on the far side of this captivating documentation and splendid dress there is another side to the story of the Sapeurs living in Bakongo. Direct and Indirect Taxes aims to impart indepth and extensive practical knowledge and skills in direct and indirect taxation.
Living by an agreed aesthetical rule, their savior faire and modish use of the body and expensive dress with meticulously matched colors is a radical yet subtle form of protest, which in recent years has received international attention. Seemingly, the symbol of the Sapeur par excellence receives more notice on its aesthetics and less on meaning.



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