This introductory chapter traces the ongoing tensions between advertisers, regulators, and consumer activists during the war, and chronicles how advertisers turned a situation—that by all rational accounts should have worked to their disadvantage—into a priceless opportunity to cement their place in a postwar society defined by advertising and the consumer products it promoted. A successful campaign included a significant public relations component, which was aimed at defining advertising as quintessentially democratic and American. The book aims to uncover the significant political and economic forces that shaped the industry, or what Frank W. Fox has termed “the ad behind the ad,” the use of advertising to bolster the corporate system behind the products.
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