We're back at it with Tim Wu's great book on advertising. This month's entry covers the history of advertising from the 20s up through the mid 80s.
After almost losing the whole thing in the early 30s, the industry comes roaring back and enters the golden age of huge, unified audiences who paid attention to a few, clearly defined channels. (While across the pond, an entirely different kind of attention merchant worked their evil will and blackened the name of propaganda forever.)
From there, we move through the turbulence and attentional revolt of the 60s, when Tim Leary, Marshall McLuhan and Herbert Marcuse tried to turn everyone's attention to building an anxiety-free utopia. But TV and advertising deftly picked up on and co-opted the hippies and hit the 80s without breaking their stride.
By '85, the rise of computers and tech like cable and the VCR shatter the attention of the West, giving people more control over what they consume and giving rise to a very recognizable crisis: The chase to find your audience as they run wild across the land, taking their attention with them.