Introduction

What do we want to do?

introoIf pictures are worth a thousand words, advertisements are worth even more. That is why we have decided to create a digital archive of print coffee advertisements in the US. The goal is to exemplify how these ads reflect what we have learned in class.

By using a series of image archives (source 1, source 2) we have selected a sample of coffee ads from mid 20th century and forward. After that first selection, we divided the ads in a series of categories: gender, labor, aspirational, and ways of consumption. Though some of them overlap (i.e., the Federer ads are aspirational as well as an example of the way coffee is consumed), we decided to prioritize one aspect over the others. In the analysis of each category we will try to answer the following questions:

    • How are the advertisements designed? What is the message they are trying to get across? To whom are they directed?
    • What can be said about the characters in the ad? What do they look like?
    • What is happening in the advertisement and what significance does it have?
    • Do we find themes in the advertisements? If so, what are they about?
    • What kind of language do they use? Is it essentially about information or it trying to generate an emotional response?
    • What does the way coffee is advertised tell us about its role in American culture?
    • What sociological, political, economic or cultural attitudes reflected in the advertisement?

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