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American Modernity was an era defined by its mass media The machine of capitalism required mass production and mass production required mass consumption Thus advertising came into greater prominence than ever before Persuasion the most fundamental aspect of advertising was obvious and carried out with little regard to the authenticity of the advertisement or the intelligence of the reader Loud typography and colourful illustrations were abundant and the American Dream was transformed from an abstract ideal to a purchasable state of mind The Think Small ad for Volkswagen was a departure from this attitude This advertisement is a symbol of American Modernism and by investigating and analysing the formal technical and conceptual elements of the image one can understand its impact on viewers of the timeModernism the cultural reflection of the 20th century modern epoch is the foundation of the western world politically economically and socially In the mid twentieth century it was most visible in America While the first modernist centre was European after WWII the unscathed United States emerged as the most powerful industrial nation in the world Phillips 1999 Mass Production pioneered by Henry Ford had taken hold Thompson 1998 Advertising was essential to the Fordism movement in business modern production techniques were creating a surplus of goods and advertising was needed as a mechanism for standardising the needs of consumer demand as Odih 2007 p4 asserts Advertising is essential to Commodity Culture that is advertising encourages that our identities are constructed in part through our consumption and use of commodities Sturken 2001 p 198 Consumption became an essential way of life The advertising became a cultural and social signifier The ads confirmed that the reader was living in the proper and modern way or of course they would be if only they purchased this product Earning money to buy goods participation in the economy essentially became aligned with the American Dream In the words of a fictional adman of the
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