Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market

Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market

by Susan Strasser
     
 

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With colorful prose and provocative stories, Satisfaction Guaranteed uncovers the roots of America's consumer society, obsession with shopping, and devotion to brands. This sweeping history provides the reader with a better understanding of how clever and manipulative the advertising industry has been in order to beguile us with goods. From Gillette razors and Kodak… See more details below

Overview

With colorful prose and provocative stories, Satisfaction Guaranteed uncovers the roots of America's consumer society, obsession with shopping, and devotion to brands. This sweeping history provides the reader with a better understanding of how clever and manipulative the advertising industry has been in order to beguile us with goods. From Gillette razors and Kodak cameras to Ivory soap and Kellogg cereals, what used to be obscure small brands have become household names and items sold on a previously unimaginable scale. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "a cautionary tale of how turn-of-the-century American capitalism invented and exploited the mass market," Satisfaction Guaranteed is a ground-breaking classic in social history and social criticism.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This well-researched and documented history of goods-and-customer interaction since the days of bartering is also a delightful overview of American shopping customs from 19th-century Main Street to today's malls. Early in the 20th century, Strasser shows, advertising of national brandsquotes unnec.?/unnec.gs launched products creating their own demand--safety razors, cameras, fountain pens (with attendant consumption of blades, film, etc.)--thus gradually displacing networks of generic manufacturers whose sales ``drummers'' fanned across America by rail and buggy. The development of department stores such as Macy's, mail-order giants like Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, grocery chains foreshadowing supermarkets, ``aids'' like premiums, displays and trading stamps and the skyrocket successes of Coca-Cola and Wrigley's gum are only a fraction of the sweeping story, as the author of Never Done brings into focus major social and economic forces linked to our daily lives. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Strasser, who also has written a history of housework ( Never Done , LJ 5/1/81), explains how advertising techniques developed in the early years of this century, especially the brand-name concept, have shaped the modern American appetite for particular mass-produced goods. Beginning with Crisco in 1912, she describes various campaigns to sell new products, emphasizing how the goal from the outset has been ``to make people want things,'' which puts profits ahead of consumer needs. The legacy has been pernicious: ``a consumer culture that itself breeds constant discontent, depending always on individuals wanting more.'' Free enterprise advocates will take exception, but this thoughtful look at how Americans consume is worth anyone's time.-- Kenneth F. Kister, Poynter Inst. for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Booknews
A history of the marketing campaigns of such brands as Coca-Cola, Kellogg's, Wrigley's, and Kodak and an analysis of the creation of a market for mass-produced, trademarked goods. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“A meticulous, probing, and often colorful study of the origins and workings of the American mass market in its formative years.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

Satisfaction Guaranteed brings the subject of mass-market society out of the clouds of theory and down to earth.”—Village Voice Literary Supplement

“Strasser shows how we have evolved into a consumer culture in which the creation of demand is central.”—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560986546
Publisher:
Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date:
04/01/1996
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
348
Product dimensions:
5.96(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.88(d)

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