If you're in PR -- it's all about Faith. Also Hope. Charity -- not so much. How did that come to be?
Thanks to: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/snpmech4.htm -- we have some answers as to how advertising developed. I've highlighted some major points here in red . First, transcontinental railroads provided a national market. As the market widened, advertising changed to appeal to larger and more diverse populations. Today we have something similar, except that markets are global, not national. Physical communications (transportation) tend to come first. Then...virtual communications -- the distribution of ideas -- and feelings -- through the media. Ideas are simpler -- feelings more complex.
Prior to WWI, print journalism was a major vehicle for social reform. But after the war, it was cheaper to print and radio and movies and other media became ubiquitous. Suddenly, the possibilities for communicating feelings -- if not the entire world of the imagination -- had widened hugely. Companies used the "new media" of the time to provide entertainment, embedding their messages -- and subverting calls for social change.
Suddenly, business was no longer tawdry and simply greedy -- it was holy -- a higher calling. Business men were not just a new aristocracy -- they sold faith and offered hope.
Today, we are also experiencing a revolution in communications. And our entire education system is geared to the goals of corporate success. And our new Messiahs?
Advertising in the 1920s
Prior to World War One, muckraking journals like McClure's achieved widespread circulation by exposing corruption and greed in business and politics. Changes in print technology in the 1890s and a heavy dependence upon advertisers allowed publishers to drop their prices from thirty-five cents to a nickel. Readership for profitable magazines soared from 10,000 readers prior to 1890 to a circulation of around a half-million. But by 1914, readers grew weary and bored with the magazines' campaigns for reform. More importantly, advertisers objected strongly to the investigative articles, which reflected badly on their own kind.
After the war, general circulation magazines dropped the theme of reform and picked up on the culture of consumerism. Ladies' Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post, featuring Norman Rockwell's paintings on its cover, became fixtures in middle-class homes around the country. Hoping to attract serious newsreaders, Henry Luce began publishing Time in 1923. New tabloid newspapers launched after the war, like the New York Daily News,
Coca-Cola serves as a good example of how product advertising changed over this forty-year period. When first introduced in the 1880s, the product was marketed as a medicine, with claims that it cured headaches, and that it "revived and sustained" a person. Seeking to build repeat business and brand loyalty, by the 1920s the company emphasized it as a refreshment and a "fun food". Consumers demanding the cola at soda fountains could pressure storeowners to stock it, or risk losing their business. Today Coca-Cola is one of the largest and most visible companies in the world thanks to its successful advertisement campaigns.
Pope, Daniel A, The Making of Modern Advertising (1983); Tedlow, Richard, New and Improves: The Story of Mass Marketing in America (1990).