Selling Themselves: The Emergence of Canadian Advertising
Published: February 2012© 2001
368 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.74 in
From its origins in the Victorian era as a marginal and somewhat shady enterprise, the advertising trade in Canada changed radically after the turn of the century – rising quickly to a position of influence and respectability. In this book, Russell Johnston tells the story of the people who made it so.
Johnston's setting is the dynamic intersection of business and culture during the early decades of the twentieth century. During this period, he argues, magazines and newspapers grew increasingly dependent on sales of advertising space, and this precipitated a widespread restructuring of the publishing industry. Ultimately, this affected the range and content of Canadian periodicals, setting the parameters for a newly invigorated, though still fragile, Canadian magazine industry. Johnston charts this process by exploring the lives, goals and ideas of a new breed of solicitor, the ad agent, and shows how agencies began to draw on the disciplines of psychology and economics to promote their products, thus initiating the modern market research industry.
The only thorough analysis of the forces shaping advertising in Canada prior to 1930, this study documents the emergence in Canada of a key component of the modern culture of consumption.