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Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes: A Cultural History of American Advertising Paperback – March 20, 1997

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0534515935 ISBN-10: 0534515932 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing; 1 edition (March 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0534515932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0534515935
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Suegsf on January 11, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I ordered this book, I thought it might be just another text book, however, Ms. Sivulka is a skillful writer worth reading at any level. Her subject matter is interesting, obviously carefully selected and well-coordinated. The illustrations are entertaining and pertinent. It's a fun read with lots of know-how apparent.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Sivulkas' work is a rather long narrative of American advertising -- with very little to offer beyond reproductions of some rather commonplace ads from the last two hundred years. Much of the information they offer seems to come from other sources, and there is no real bibliography to the book. It is most misleadingly titled "cultural history" since there is so very little to the book beyond a chronology, and that is full of mistakes, over-simplifications, and such bland statements that there is nothing to be learned from this book. Others have written much better and more meaningful things about the history of advertising, and charged less than [$$] for it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Advertising has been around since the dawn of civilization. The ancient Greeks created signs for their theatres and any open-air market of any ancient culture shows evidence of signage advertising different wares. With the invention of the printing press and movable type, however, the age of information and advertising truly began.
The history of American advertising is as packed with dates, places, people and events as any other slice of American history, and in "Soap, Sex and Cigarettes" Juliann Sivulka has done an exhaustive job of outlining these very things. With chapters going from 1492-1800, beginning with the colonization of the States, through the Roaring 20's and ending with "1990s and Beyond: The Media Revolution", this book should be required reading for any marketing/advertising undergrad. Indeed, considering the density of the material-- as thorough as any text on the Revolutionary War-- I imagine it IS required collegiate reading for students entering these professions.
The book is packed with various illustrations of real ads from the time periods, and one could easily get an overview of American advertising by simply leafing through the pages and looking at the ads and how they evolve from a 1608 London woodcut pamphlet advertising the New World ("Excellent fruites by Planting in Virginia") to the modern "Just Do It" and "Got Milk?" high glossy ad campaigns. The text is ordered and well written and can be read both as collegiate material and as casual reading (though there are a LOT of dates, places, times and events for the casual reader).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
While this book has quite a bit of useful history, it is not meant to be read cover to cover. It works in a very straightforward format providing a mostly chronological laundry list of advertisers and advertising agencies. The book lacks an in-depth analysis of the relationship between advertising and American culture as its subtitle seems to suggest. The sections on minority and web-based advertising are woefully out of date and simplistic. However, the book has some great ad illustrations and there are several supplementary list which are quite interesting. Basically, it's a decent reference book, but not for anyone looking for an interesting take on the history of American advertising.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you want to understand American culture you can see how advertising has taken what is already in the culture and made it an industry to sell dreams...and of course the products these dreams represent.
As someone who teaches advertising concepts I found this book a very good intro to understanding advertising and having students see how it is not separate from the culture.
Written in a very readable style, I recco the book to anyone teaching advertising to creatives or to anyone interested in American culture.
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