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American Consumer Culture: Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965

September 4, 2014

Adam Matthew publishes the original ground-breaking consumer behavious reports from Ernest Dichter and the Institute for Motivational Research

Marlborough, England - Adam Matthew today announced the publication of ‘American Consumer Culture, 1935-1965’, the digitized papers of Austrian-American psychologist and pioneer marketing expert, Ernest Dichter (1907-1991).

The work of Dichter and the Institute for Motivational Research provided the building blocks for many of the great campaigns of advertising’s ‘golden age’ – including Exxon’s famous “put a tiger in your tank” campaign and the slogan “bet you can’t eat just one” for Frito-Lays – as well as facilitating the successful introduction of Mattel’s Barbie Doll.

A pioneer of using Freudian psychoanalytical techniques for business, Dichter established the first consumer behaviour studies. Known as the ‘father of motivational research’, Dichter is credited with being the first to coin the phrase ‘focus group’.

American Consumer Culture is a gold mine of information on some of America’s best known brands including Bird’s Eye, Esso, Heinz, Nestlé, Disney and AT&T, which are accessible through proposals; pilot studies; reports; memoranda; letters and other supporting material including hundreds of advertising images.

Example reports include:

  • Cigarette advertising: the untapped possibilities
  • Creative research memorandum on the psychology of hot dogs
  • How to get more people to go to the movies
  • Why women buy
  • Marketing Chrysler automobiles in a rapidly-changing society

Daniel Horowitz, consultant editor and Professor of American Studies, Smith College states:

“This resource provides multiple and intriguing entries into American consumer culture, the history of advertising, and American life in the middle third of the 20th century”

American Consumer Culture, 1935-1965 is available now.


Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE, is an award winning publisher of digital primary souce collections for the humanities and social sciences. Sourced from leading libraries and archives around the world, their unique research and teaching collections cover a wide range of subject areas from medieval family life to 20th century history, literature and culture.

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