We Are What We Sell


We Are What We Sell



For the last 150 years, advertising has created a consumer culture in the United States, shaping every facet of American life—from what we eat and drink to the clothes we wear and the cars we drive.

In the United States, advertising has carved out an essential place in American culture, and advertising messages undoubtedly play a significant role in determining how people interpret the world around them. This three-volume set examines the myriad ways that advertising has influenced many aspects of 20th-century American society, such as popular culture, politics, and the economy. Advertising not only played a critical role in selling goods to an eager public, but it also served to establish the now world-renowned consumer culture of our country and fuel the notion of "the American dream." The collection spotlights the most important advertising campaigns, brands, and companies in American history, from the late 1800s to modern day. Each fact-driven essay provides insight and in-depth analysis that general readers will find fascinating as well as historical details and contextual nuance students and researchers will greatly appreciate. These volumes demonstrate why advertising is absolutely necessary, not only for companies behind the messaging, but also in defining what it means to be an American.


  • Includes original essays by noted cultural and advertising historians, commentators, and journalists
  • Provides analysis from experts in advertising and popular culture that places American advertising in historical and cultural context
  • Supplies a comprehensive examination of advertising history and its consequences across modern America
  • Presents an extensive analysis of the role of new media and the Internet
  • Documents why advertising is necessary, not only for companies, but in determining what being "an American" constitutes


Hardcover: 978-0-313-39244-3, eBook 978-0-313-39245-0

Publication Date



ABC-CLIO, Incorporated


Santa Barbara, CA


Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


College of Journalism and Mass Communication

We Are What We Sell