Talking dogs pitching ethnic food. Heart-tugging appeals for contributions. Recruitment calls for enlistment in the military. Tub-thumpers excoriating American society with over-the-top rhetoric. Everywhere we turn, we are exhorted to spend money, join organizations, rally to causes or express outrage. "Image Makers" is a comprehensive analysis of modern advocacy - from commercials to public service ads to government propaganda - and its roots in advertising and public relations. Robert Jackall and Janice M. Hirota explore the fashioning of the apparatus of advocacy through the stories of two organizations, the Committee on Public Information, which sold the Great War to the American public, and the Advertising Council, which since the Second World War has been the main coordinator of public service advertising. They then turn to the career of William Bernbach, the adman's adman, who reinvented advertising and grappled creatively with the profound skepticism of a propaganda-weary midcentury public. Jackall and Hirota argue that the tools-in-trade and habits of mind of "image makers" have now migrated into every corner of modern society.
Advocacy is now a vocation for many, and American society abounds as well with "techncians in moral outrage", including street-smart impresarios, feminist preachers and bombastic talk-radio hosts. The apparatus and ethos of advocacy give rise to endlessly shifting patterns of conflicting representations and claims, and in their midst "Image Makers" offers a clear and spirited understanding of advocacy in contemporary society and the quandaries it generates.
Robert Jackall is the Class of 1956 Professor of Sociology and Social Thought at Williams College. His books include "Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers" and "Wild Cowboys: Urban Marauders & the Forces of Order." Janice M. Hirota is an anthropologist who has done extensive fieldwork in urban America. In addition to her research on ad makers, she has studied community activists, social service providers, and poor and homeless populations in New York and other U.S. cities.