Stages of Consumerism: Mass Advertising and Children’s Literature in Early Twentieth-Century Sweden
Chapter from the book: Petersson, S et al. 2018. The Power of the In-Between: Intermediality as a Tool for Aesthetic Analysis and Critical Reflection.
This chapter discusses the motif of the sentient product in advertising during the 1930s and 1940s. The studied corpus consists of advertising that specifically targets children and adolescents but also short advertising films aimed at a wider audience. As a theoretical standpoint for my discussion, I apply Jean Baudrillard?s theories about advertising and mass media and Nathalie op de Beeck?s studies on the modern picture book of the interwar era and its connections to both the avant-garde and mass culture. The chapter proposes that children are to an increasing degree viewed as future members of the society but also as future consumers. The new ideas and marketing strategies expressed in the material also coincide with fundamental social changes in Swedish society resulting from modernity and new technologies. Consumption in general is described as an essential part of the modern, urban experience and the aesthetics used to describe this experience fluctuate between popular culture and experimental arts.