American Consumer Culture: Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965 provides information about the American consumer boom of the mid-20th century. It gives access to the market research reports and documents of Ernest Dichter who is the era’s primary consumer analyst and the founder of market research. The collection comprises of information on some of America’s best-known brands, containing thousands of reports commissioned by advertising agencies and global businesses in a booming era for consumerism. These include advertising and global brands on consumer goods such as cars, hotels, tobacco, and broadcasting. Researchers of consumer culture, business, advertising, marketing and psychology will find a wide range of documentation. Because the collection offers an extensive variety of industries featured, it allows for diverse approaches from a range of academic disciplines.
Search options the database offers:
A user may search by keyword the entire database or browse the content through documents or industries, Chronology, Ad Gallery, Further Resources, and Popular Resources.
Documents may be researched by industry, document type, or language. Researchers may download the entire document on PDF files or select an image range. These documents are also searchable. Users may create their own “ My Archive” by registering. It allows them to create their own personalized area of American Consumer Culture for storing searches, image slideshows and document. In order to use the ‘My Archive’ area, users need to register and create a profile.
Searching through Industry allows users to find documents and advertisement connected to the industry because all of the documents are assigned an industry and this can be used to navigate more quickly to documents related to a specific area of research.
Chronology provides timelines on Statistics, Politics and Legislation, Media and Publishing, Business and Brand, Advertising and Marketing, and Inventions and Innovations.
The Ad Gallery is a collection of images in advertisement. The user may search this by industry, decade, image type, or brand. Images can be downloaded as a PDF file or added to the lightbox and included in the personal archive.
The Further Resources section offers research on case studies, business biographies, essays, glossary, teaching, external links, and popular searches. It includes Case Studies, which were written by Stephan Schwarzkopf about cars, chocolate and confectionery, cigarettes, and the psychology of consumption.
The Popular Searches can be accessed through keywords, brands, and companies. The Advanced Search option allows for keywords, text, word stemming, proximity, and can be filtered by industry, document type, or language. In addition, there is a browsing option to search visual resources only.
I was not able find information about the digitization of the content of this database with the exception of that “Dichter and The Institute for Motivational Research employed a number of techniques within their reports, and the particular methods used can be found in the metadata for each document. Methods included both secondary research, such as analysis of the literature, and primary research, including the techniques listed below. For a full explanation of each method type, please see the glossary.”
Archives of three participating Libraries enhance this database:
Publisher: Adam Matthews – publishes unique primary source collections from archives around the world.
The page-by-page guide explains all options this database offers, among others the various search functions: boolean operators,automatic and queries, phrase searching, and wildcards.