20th-century Ad Analysis

Assignment Purpose

The goal is to get you looking at food ads throughout the 20th century and thinking about what they can tell us about history of food production and marketing. They also are a nice way to illustrate many of the themes we’ve been discussing over the last few weeks.

What to do

I’m trying to balance you having fun looking through “vintage” ads but not being totally confused about what to do. So, you have a lot of leeway in what you can do within a few parameters. The basic research method is to Google search (both text and image) a particular brand or kind of food (see below). Pick a food or a product (like baking powder) that’s used to make food or a fast food brand. Keep it food-centric: no candy, cigarettes, etc. The below approaches would work perfectly well, but you can do something else if you think it’s in the spirit of the assignment.

Mechanics

Formatting

The formatting requirements are mostly the same as last time:

Some questions to keep in mind

Remember that your goal for the assignment to make a historical argument about the ads. Below are some questions that can help you formulate your argument. Keep in mind that maybe not all of these will be relevant to your ads/articles):

Historical Methodology

As you think through your ads and write up your analysis, reflect on our methodology (as any good historian should). You don’t need to specifically answer these questions in your essay, but they should help guide your analysis.