Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation


Department 1

Environmental Studies


The automobile is one of the most important products in American consumer culture. Throughout the history of the automobile industry in America, advertising has been an important strategy for marketing automobiles and their features to consumers on a mass scale. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how print (magazine) automobile advertisements have changed through time (1960-2013) and across different genres of magazines: general (National Geographic, New Yorker), male-oriented (Esquire), female-oriented (Cosmopolitan), and ethnic (Ebony). The trends that we examined included: numbers and proportions of car advertisements, relative numbers of domestic and foreign car advertisements, and the mix of automobile features. We found that the total number of car advertisements per magazine peaked in the late 1990s overall, with differences among the magazine genres. The number of advertisements for cars produced by American manufacturers peaked in the mid-1990s. The number of foreign car advertisements significantly increased after 1975, with Japanese cars leading this group. We discuss the trends in advertising parameters over time and across magazine genres in light of changes in buyer attitudes, including attitudes towards the environment.


Environmental Studies Thesis