How did advertising change in the 1920s?

How did advertising change in the 1920s?

How did advertising change in the 1920s?



The 1920s, often referred to as the “Roaring Twenties,” was a decade of significant social, cultural, and economic change in the United States. One of the areas that experienced a dramatic transformation during this time was advertising. The advent of new technologies, changes in consumer behavior, and the rise of mass media all contributed to the evolution of advertising in the 1920s. In this article, we will explore how advertising changed during this dynamic period.

The Rise of Mass Media

One of the key factors that influenced the transformation of advertising in the 1920s was the rise of mass media. The introduction of radio and the expansion of the film industry allowed advertisers to reach a broader audience than ever before. Companies began to invest heavily in radio advertisements and sponsorships, using catchy jingles and memorable slogans to capture the attention of consumers. This shift towards mass media advertising marked a departure from traditional print advertisements and opened up new avenues for companies to promote their products.

Consumer Culture and the Birth of Branding

The 1920s saw the emergence of a consumer culture, as Americans became increasingly interested in acquiring new products and keeping up with the latest trends. This shift in consumer behavior led to the birth of branding as a crucial element of advertising. Companies started to focus on creating distinctive brand identities and associating their products with desirable lifestyles. Advertising campaigns began to emphasize the emotional and psychological benefits of owning certain products, rather than solely focusing on their features or functionality.

The Power of Celebrity Endorsements

Another significant change in advertising during the 1920s was the rise of celebrity endorsements. Advertisers recognized the influence that celebrities had over consumers and started to enlist their help in promoting products. Famous personalities such as actors, athletes, and musicians became brand ambassadors, lending their names and images to various advertising campaigns. This strategy proved to be highly effective, as consumers were more likely to trust and be influenced by the recommendations of their favorite celebrities.

The Art of Persuasion

In the 1920s, advertisers began to employ new techniques to persuade consumers to buy their products. They tapped into the growing field of psychology, using persuasive language, imagery, and storytelling to create emotional connections with potential customers. Advertisements started to evoke feelings of desire, aspiration, and social acceptance, appealing to consumers’ deepest desires and insecurities. This shift towards emotional advertising marked a departure from the more straightforward and factual approach of earlier decades.


The advertising landscape underwent a significant transformation during the 1920s, driven by the rise of mass media, changes in consumer behavior, and the emergence of new persuasive techniques. The era saw the birth of branding, the power of celebrity endorsements, and a shift towards emotional advertising. These changes laid the foundation for the modern advertising industry and continue to shape the way companies promote their products today.


– Advertising Age:
– American Advertising Federation:
– Smithsonian National Museum of American History: