Chapter

Exotic, Empire, or Everyday? Advertising Groceries

Jon Stobart

in Sugar and Spice

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199577927
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744884 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577927.003.0008
Exotic, Empire, or Everyday? Advertising Groceries

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This chapter examines the nature and importance of grocery advertising. The chapter consciously juxtaposes the form and content of trade cards and newspaper advertisements: the intensely visual imagery of trade cards with its emphasis of empire and the exotic contrasting with the more prosaic lists of goods and prices that characterise notices in newspapers. However, the picture was more complex than this simple dichotomy would allow, with the exotic and the everyday placed alongside one another in both forms of advertising. The consumer was thus simultaneously situated in a global‐imperial economy and their own consumption milieu. Examining these two contexts and the links between them thus provides a fuller insight into how groceries were perceived by shopkeepers and consumers. More generally, it tells us much about the active role of shopkeepers in shaping demand for what began as ‘new luxuries’ but which increasingly became everyday goods.

Keywords: trade cards; newspaper advertisements; chinese imagery; empire; exoticism; price lists; politeness

Chapter.  11759 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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