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Profiting from war: Bovril advertising during World War II

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Macromarketing
Issue number2
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)198-214
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date12/07/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article addresses the lack of research on commercial advertising during wartime. It takes as its focus Bovril ads during World War II, to argue that commercial advertising, rather than diverging from state propaganda consistently drew upon wider representations of war in order to integrate into a society increasingly dominated by the image. To examine this, all of the Bovril ads from World War II appearing in the Times, Daily Express and Daily Mirror are compared in both quantitative and qualitative analyses, which helps to avoid the “cherry picking” problems of relying on a qualitative analysis alone. The main contention is that ads are socially situated media and, as such, cannot strongly divert from other messages being circulated within society because their reception depends upon their message creating an instant identification with the reader. In the 1940s this was especially true because society was confronted with an unprecedented mass of state propaganda.