Exploring the Maidenform Dreams campaign (US, 1949-1969) from a cognitive-cultural perspective
Dreamatic: Exploring the Maidenform Dreams campaign (US, 1949-1969) from a cognitive-cultural perspective
“I dreamed I … in my Maidenform bra,” was a ubiquitous, celebrated, and widely parodied advertising slogan in the American 1950s and 1960s. Running for 20 years and consisting of at least 173 print executions, the campaign (“the Dreams”) was perceived to be the first to depict women’s bodies in a state of undress in the commercial sphere, and accordingly elicited both praise and condemnation. Today, Maidenform’s history is riddled with inaccuracies and a hasty dismissal of the campaign as oppressive to women. However, taking a closer look reveals how these accounts obscure the wider promotional activities that supported the Dreams, and the reactions that they elicited from their audience.
This talk will be delivered in two parts. First, I detail how Maidenform orchestrated its efforts to keep abreast of developments in the advertising industry, in the fashion and undergarment sector, and in the media and cultural landscapes. Then, I take a cognitive-cultural perspective to humoristic responses to the campaign, such as parodies and college pranks. I delineate how humour enabled audiences to mentally elaborate on the implications of novel ideas, and show how a set of artefacts articulated, unravelled, mimicked, materialised, bowdlerised, and hijacked the original premises of the campaign.
This seminar is a part of the IMS Marketing Research Seminar series
Astrid is a Lecturer at the Institute of Management Studies, Goldsmiths. Astrid explores what cognitive-cultural theory can contribute to the study of consumer culture. She is also interested in economic socialization through children’s literature. In terms of methodology, Astrid is exploring the potential of computational approaches to analysing archival materials.
Astrid Van den Bossche
Dates & times
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