Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965

Delve into the pseudo-psychological world behind the advertising of some of America’s biggest brands. What motivates women and men to buy and how can knowing that be used to sell?

A unique insight into the American consumer boom of the mid-20th century through access to the complete market research reports of Ernest Dichter, the era’s foremost consumer analyst and market research pioneer.

The collection is a treasure trove of information on some of America’s best known brands, containing thousands of reports commissioned by companies such as Philip Morris, Chrysler, Exxon and CBS on consumer goods ranging from tobacco and broadcasting to cars and hotels.

The work of Dichter and his 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 just eat one” for Frito-Lays – as well as facilitating the successful introduction of Mattel’s Barbie Doll.

As part of our suite of collections in American Consumer Culture, this collection provides researchers with a wealth of documentation for a range of academic subject areas, including: consumer culture, business, advertising, marketing and psychology.

Key Data

Period Covered

  • 1935-1965


Document highlights inlude:

  • Why women buy
  • How to get more people to go to the movies
  • Attitudes and motivations of the American voter
  • Cigarette advertising: the untapped possibilities – a creative memorandum on the psychology of smoking
  • A motivational research study of the Negro market for Esso gasoline, services and related products
  • Creative research memorandum on the psychology of hot dogs
  • A creative memorandum on psychological advertising of toys to parents
  • Cigarette smoking among women
  • Sexual attitudes in the United Kingdom – today
  • Marketing Chrysler automobiles in a rapidly-changing society
  • The role of supermarkets in our modern culture
  • A pilot study on the Bird’s Eye logo

Source Archives

  • Hagley Museum and Library
  • Duke University
  • The Advertising Archives

Material Types

  • Reports
  • Proposals
  • Case studies
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Correspondence
  • Memorandums
  • Pilot Studies

Editorial Board

  • John Desmond, University of St Andrews
  • Joseph Malherek, George Washington University
  • Stefan Schwarzkopf, Copenhagen Business School


  • Advertising
  • Consumerism
  • History
  • Psychology
  • Gender/Women's Studies
  • Media

Key Features

  • Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965 is available within the cross-searchable suite of collections: American Consumer Culture, allowing students and scholars to broaden thier research across three Adam Matthew Digital products
  • Chronology
  • Chapter from Betty Friedan
  • Case studies
  • Glossary
  • Business biographies
  • External links


A unique insight into the world of buying, selling, and advertising in pre- and post-war America

CONTENT Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965 contains complete market research reports from the Ernest Dichter collection at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, DE. These documents are ......

Highly recommended. Students at all levels; researchers/faculty; professionals/practitioners

Visited Feb'15 - This appealing database provides cultural insights into the American consumer boom dating from the mid-1930s through the sixties, with a few items dating from the twenties. ......

Recommend this database to any library or individual interested in the historical aspects of consumer culture, motivations and materialism.

Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965, an Adam Matthew digital database, features valuable insight into people's purchasing behaviors and the impacts of marketing in the ......
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