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Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want, and Buy Hardcover – November 25, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sivulka (Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes) chronicles the rise of women in the world of advertising to demonstrate how women impact the promotional appeal of almost every consumer product in America today. Drawing upon archival sources, the book presents the stories of women who succeeded in traditional feminine occupations as well as those who challenged their limited social roles. Sivulka places these figures in the larger history of business and economic development and the entry of women into the professions. Sivulka divides the book into three key periods that are strongly linked with economics, politics and women's history in modern America (e.g. one era, 1880-1920 marked the rise of the modern consumer, the advertising industry and the suffrage movement). Of particular interest is the story of Mathilde C. Weil, the first known ad woman in America, who established her own general advertising agency in the 1880s. With numerous illustrations and photographs, this thoroughly-researched and well-written history of the evolution of women in advertising will appeal to those in the field and those interested in the women's movement.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This is professor-author (Stronger Than Dirt, 2001, and Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes, 1997) Sivulka’s latest contribution to advertising literature. It is a serious examination of women’s impact on and careers in the industry. Naming some of advertising’s female pioneers, it also covers the birth of marketing, brand names, trademarks, positioning, line extensions, and other related factors, along with the role of women in creating, for example, the concept of media buying (hats off to Matilde Weil in the late 1800s). It chronicles, for every significant decade or two, the maturation of the business via the discovery of the “hidden persuaders” (sex and symbolism) and targeting/segmentation. Notes follow each chapter; photo-realistic illustrations of ads populate every few pages. But for every citation, every brief synopsis of a career, there’s a missed opportunity to delve behind the scenes, uncover motivations and aspirations, and paint compelling portraits of these legends. Then, AMC’s Mad Men creators would have much to emulate . . . and borrow. --Barbara Jacobs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 415 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591026725
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591026723
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,259,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A useful work. Lots of information about leading women in advertising over the years. Sufficient to support her hypothesis that women have made a major contribution to the craft, because they shaped so much of the copy and art directed at women. Enough to cast doubt on the old feminist presumption the sexual and erotic sells were simply male conspiracies. The trouble with Sivulka, though, that she weighs the book down with context: too much coverage of the general evolution of advertising in which women (well people) disappear. Perhaps a reader who didn't know the story would find this useful, tho' that person might be better off reading actual historical surveys (including by Sivulka).
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Format: Hardcover
"Ad Women" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. Professor Silvulka's book interview ran here as cover feature on February 17, 2009.
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