South Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - The Paradox of Indian Advertising: State Socialism and the Expansion of Professional Advertising Agencies in India, 1950-1980

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Jacaranda I, First Floor

This paper examines a curious paradox. On the one hand, the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were a time of regulated business activity, increased controls over trade and investment by foreign firms, and significant disapproval of private consumption; the advertising profession specifically came under criticism from state actors. On the other hand, this period was a time of significant expansion of advertising activity organized by professional agencies. This paper examines the reasons why advertising managed to grow during the immediate post-independence period as well as changes in the character of the industry. Developments that will receive special attention include the Indianization of the advertising profession, the increasing use of market research, the use of new media (including film and radio but not yet television on a significant scale), and the use of new methods to reach rural consumers and consumers who did not speak English. The paper will argue that much of the foundation for the dynamism of advertising in the post-Independence period was created during the early post-Independence period.


Douglas E. Haynes

Dartmouth College, United States

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3 - The Paradox of Indian Advertising: State Socialism and the Expansion of Professional Advertising Agencies in India, 1950-1980



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