The Advertising Century

Vance Packard

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Vance Packard
(1914-1996)
"The Hidden Persuaders"

A national best-seller in 1957, Packard's "The Hidden Persuaders" capitalized on a public perception that "Madison Avenue" was ready, willing and able to persuade defenseless consumers to buy unneeded goods and services. The public bought the book and its premise. Packard explained that ad agencies used psychiatry, motivational research and related social sciences to create subliminal selling patterns. Ironically, his work contained enough distortions to diminish its value where it might have counted most -- among ad makers.

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