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    The advertising industry and alcohol in interwar France

    Howard, Sarah (2008) The advertising industry and alcohol in interwar France. The Historical Journal 51 (2), pp. 421-455. ISSN 0018-246X.

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    Abstract

    This article reassesses interwar French advertising through the case study of alcohol, one of the period's most widely advertised and popular products. Examining the ways in which alcoholic beverages were branded, marketed, and advertised, the article revises the historiography of French advertising in several ways. Histories of interwar French advertising have described an industry that was retarded and underdeveloped, or else slowly progressing through the application and adaptation of American practices. By contrast, this article suggests that during the period French advertising was a remarkably successful enterprise which should be analysed on its own terms rather than through the dominant paradigm of Americanization. French interwar publicity innovations, like the alcoholic beverages that utilized them, were very much ‘home grown’ phenomena. Both were firmly rooted in Belle Époque advertising traditions and contemporary French consumer patterns. Advertising did not create a new consumer culture; instead it reflected and was, in turn, shaped by the society in which it operated and the products being advertised.

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