The Commercialization of the Ice Cream Industry Through Advertising, 1920 - 1929

Open Access
Scott, Lydia Hawthorne
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sally Mcmurry, Thesis Supervisor
  • Catherine Wanner, Honors Advisor
  • Anne Carver Rose, Faculty Reader
  • Advertising
  • Ice Cream
  • Dairy Industry
  • Women
  • Children
  • Modernity
Following the turn of the 20th century, America witnessed a boom in advertising for items ranging from cleaning supplies to beauty products to edible goods. By the end of the 1920s, advertising became a standard business practice for any company wishing to expand its publicity and profit. The ice cream industry adopted the practice of print advertisements in order to assume its role in the cultural and consumption landscape. As the growth and commercialization of the industry mirrored the rise of consumption throughout the decade, ice cream advertisements captivated the American public, and transformed from rural, backyard treat to a portable convenience food appropriate for any consumer in any setting. The ice cream industry provided both a response to and a promotion of growing consumerism, while its advertisements simultaneously epitomized and diverged from other endorsements of the time. In an effort to endorse their product, advertisers and manufacturers associated with the ice cream industry created advertisements with a specific target in mind. With an all-encompassing appeal to women, children, and the “modern” consumer, advertisements firmly established ice cream as a product consumed on a mass scale by the start of the 1930s while reflecting cultural changes that characterized the decade. This thesis explores this transformation through both primary and secondary sources, utilizing trade journals, ladies’ publications, and product points-of-sale.