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Freud on Madison Avenue Motivation Research and Subliminal Advertising in America

ISBN-10: 0812222261
ISBN-13: 9780812222265
Edition: 2010
List price: $22.50
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Description: What do consumers really want? In the mid-twentieth century, many marketing executives sought to answer this question by looking to the theories of Sigmund Freud and his followers. By the 1950s, Freudian psychology had become the adman's most  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.50
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication date: 1/24/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 232
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.770
Language: English

What do consumers really want? In the mid-twentieth century, many marketing executives sought to answer this question by looking to the theories of Sigmund Freud and his followers. By the 1950s, Freudian psychology had become the adman's most powerful new tool, promising to plumb the depths of shoppers' subconscious minds to access the irrational desires beneath their buying decisions. That the unconscious was the key to consumer behavior was a new idea in the field of advertising, and its impact was felt beyond the commercial realm.Centered on the fascinating lives of the brilliant men and women who brought psychoanalytic theories and practices from Europe to Madison Avenue and, ultimately, to Main Street,Freud on Madison Avenuetells the story of how midcentury advertisers changed American culture. Paul Lazarsfeld, Herta Herzog, James Vicary, Alfred Politz, Pierre Martineau, and the father of motivation research, Viennese-trained psychologist Ernest Dichter, adapted techniques from sociology, anthropology, and psychology to help their clients market consumer goods. Many of these researchers had fled the Nazis in the 1930s, and their decidedly Continental and intellectual perspectives on secret desires and inner urges sent shockwaves through WASP-dominated postwar American culture and commerce.Though popular, these qualitative research and persuasion tactics were not without critics in their time. Some of the tools the motivation researchers introduced, such as the focus group, are still in use, with "consumer insights" and "account planning" direct descendants of Freudian psychological techniques. Looking back, author Lawrence R. Samuel implicates Dichter's positive spin on the pleasure principle in the hedonism of the Baby Boomer generation, and he connects the acceptance of psychoanalysis in marketing culture to the rise of therapeutic culture in the United States.

Lawrence R. Samuel is the founder of Culture Planning LLC, a Miami- and New York-based resource offering cultural insights to Fortune 500 companies and their ad agencies. He is the author of a number of books, including Freud on Madison Avenue: Motivation Research and Subliminal Advertising in America, The American Dream: A Cultural History, and Shrink: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in America.

Introduction
The Psychology of Everyday Living
The Sophisticated Sell
The Secret Pitch
The Fertile Moment
The Psychology of the World of Objects
Epilogue
Notes
Index

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