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The Convergence Crisis

An Impending Paradigm Shift in Advertising

Joanna L. Jenkins

The Convergence Crisis tells the story of an impending paradigm shift in advertising. Beginning in the early 1840s with the birth of the first advertising agency and momentum spurred by industrial systems, the book provides a historical overview of significant events and socio-cultural economic factors that have occurred to explain how and why a [convergence] crisis has erupted in contemporary American advertising. Significant blurring of once-distinct boundaries and redistribution caused by convergence has led to new methods of communication being used in advertising and among audiences. The book intends to bring awareness, clarity, and understanding to the opportunities presented through convergence via its rich historical narrative and theoretical framework.
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Chapter 1: Early Beginnings


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In the nineteenth century, American advertising developed amid the hustle and bustle of a changing world. Fervor swept the nation as technological advances, economic productivity, and migration propelled America in new directions. Simultaneously, factions and turmoil threatened to disrupt its core. Although advertising was shaped by the efforts of visionaries and entrepreneurs, it was also heavily influenced by numerous environmental factors.

Advertising’s immediate environment swelled with an array of unprecedented issues and concerns. America expanded its borders into territories previously held by diverse and international cultures. The primary interests of the nation began to shift as millions of acres and thousands of communities now became one. Urbanization and industrialization led to new social, political, and economic challenges. Slavery and contrasting ideologies marked brewing conflicts. It was during these times that advertising emerged as a fledgling discipline from a kaleidoscope of progress and reform.

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