Cover image for A century of American icons : 100 products and slogans from the 20th century consumer culture
A century of American icons : 100 products and slogans from the 20th century consumer culture
Cross, Mary, 1934-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xviii, 236 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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HF6161.B4 C46 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Dogs eat burritos, camels smoke cigarettes, and frogs drink beer. Welcome to the Century of the Consumer. In the 20th century, Americans were romanced by consumer culture, which in turn reflected the changing attitudes, priorities, and values of the country. This book compiles entries on 100 consumer products--ten per decade--that figured prominently in the rise of consumer culture in the United States, telling the story behind the century's most popular products, slogans, and symbols.

A unique format provides glimpses into American popular culture from each decade in the century. In addition to the history of advertising, economics, and the media, students will learn how perceptions of class, gender, and race were conveyed through advertising-and how those perceptions changed from 1900 to 2000. A-Z entries for each decade include bibliographic information on the product, as well as vivid illustrations showing the visual evolution of advertising icons and strategies throughout the century.

Author Notes

MARY CROSS is the editor of Advertising and Culture: Theoretical Perspectives (Prager, 1996). She is also the author of Henry James: The Contingencies of Style (1993). She has taught at the University of Delaware, the City University of New York, and Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she was chair of the English Department. Cross is a former advertising copywriter.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Throughout the past century of American advertising, many products have attained iconic status by virtue of the cultural impact that advertising created for them. Contributors to this work, a collaborative effort of the faculty of the English and Communication Departments of Fairleigh Dickinson University, chose 100 icons (e.g., Campbell's Soup, Wonder Bread, Alka-Seltzer, the Taco Bell Chihuahua) that represent a particular time in American advertising and consumer culture. The entries are arranged in ten chapters chronologically by decades from 1900 to 2000, with ten entries for each decade. Each chapter provides a brief introduction to the economic, social, historical, behavioral, and cultural background of the period. Each entry then discusses the product's history and the decade in which it began or flourished as an advertising icon, as well as some of the methods and strategies used to advertise the product, its significant competitors, and its reception by consumers. The book succeeds in making readers aware of the changes in attitudes and perceptions toward class, gender, race, and lifestyles as reflected through advertising in the 20th-century US. In addition to the references included with each entry, there is a selected bibliography, extensive index, and 21 icon illustrations. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All collections. R. R. Attinson emeritus, CUNY College of Staten Island

Table of Contents

The Product as Icon Icons of the 1900s
Icons of the 1910s
Icons of the 1920s
Icons of the 1930s
Icons of the 1940s
Icons of the 1950s
Icons of the 1960s
Icons of the 1970s
Icons of the 1980s
Icons of the 1990s
Selected Bibliography