Hard sell

Advertising, affluence and transatlantic relations, c. 1951-69

By Sean Nixon

Hard sell


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9105-0
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: February 2016
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, Social & cultural history, BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Advertising & Promotion, HISTORY / Social History, Society & social sciences / Advertising & society, Humanities / Social & cultural history
  • Series: Studies in Popular Culture


Focusing on advertising's relationship to the mass market housewife, this study shows how advertising promoted new standards of material comfort in the selling of a range of everyday consumer goods and, in the process, generalised a cross-class image of the 'modern housewife' across the new medium of television. Nixon shows how the practices through which advertising understood and represented the 'modern housewife' and domestic consumption were influenced by American advertising and commercial culture. In doing so, he challenges the way critics and historians have often understood Anglo-American relations, and shows how American influences across a range of areas of advertising practice were not only a source of inspiration, but were also adapted and reworked to speak more effectively to the British consumer.

Now available in paperback, Hard sell offers a major new analysis of the techniques of advertising in the decades of post-war affluence and advertising's relationship to the social changes associated with growing prosperity.


'Nixon's Hard Sell is a valuable addition to the field of advertising history that brings a much-needed transatlantic analysis to the fore.'
Stephanie American, H-Diplo, October 2016


Part I: The world of British advertising
1. Advertising in the age of affluence
Part II: Television, the housewife and Anglo-American relations
2. Apostle of Americanisation? J. Walter Thompson Company Ltd and Anglo-American relations
3. Understanding ordinary women: market research and the mass market housewife
4. A challenge both alarming and alluring: the birth of TV advertising
5. All mod cons: television advertising, domesticity and social change
Part III: The reception of television advertising
6. Welcome Intrusion? TV advertising and the viewing public
7. Trading on human weakness: advertising, morality and consumer desire

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