Death of an Organizational Man: An Advertiser's Resistance to the FTC and the Creative Revolution in Advertising in the 1960s
MetadataShow full item record
Advertising has harnessed the power of television, radio, the Internet, billboards, and endless new communication mediums, becoming a tremendously profitable industry and a mainstay in American culture. During advertising's rise, the 1960s was one of the most pivotal decades. America was enveloped in a cultural revolution and the advertising industry itself was facing a creative revolution in management style and advertising norms. This advertising revolution was met with enormous resistance from the select few then in control of the advertising industry. Of this select few, one of advertising's most prominent figures, Rosser Reeves, fought furiously to preserve the advertising status quo. Although Reeves is most remembered for his contributions to advertising in the 1940s and 1950s, it is his less remarkable actions in the 1960s as a stubborn "square" holding on desperately to former glory that ultimately defines Reeves's character and place in advertising history. Reeves's prior success in advertising and his own arrogance prevented him from acknowledging the creative revolution in advertising as a legitimate and permanent change. This article explores Reeves's actions in the latter part of his career, as well as his motives driving these actions, through review and analysis of boxes of personal and business correspondences, years of advertising industry publications such as Advertising Age and Printers' Ink, and articles on advertising in major publications including the New York Times, the New Yorker, and Time magazine. Ultimately, Reeves's efforts were unsuccessful, as he found himself on the losing side of this creative revolution and relegated to being a bit player in an industry he once dominated.