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The Stars and Stripes

Advertisements

The Stars and Stripes was never intended to generate money other than to pay for operating expenses. The paper began operation with a loan of just under 25,000 francs. Within seven months, the paper repaid the loan with interest. The last edition of the paper, June 13, 1919, reported the closing of the financial ledger with a surplus of approximately 3,500,000 francs to be turned over to the U.S. Treasury. Advertisements from French and U.S. companies carried in every edition of the paper accounted for the surplus. The staff expressed some pride in reporting that "...the occasions were numerous when a large ad was lifted out to make way for a story of greater interest to the A.E.F." Examine advertisements in several different issues of the paper. Select advertisements from various issues and compare them to ads in contemporary newspapers.

  • What types of products and services were advertised? Did French and American companies advertise different types of products and services? Explain your observation.
  • How were the ads constructed to appeal to servicemen? If you looked at the ads without knowing in what paper they appeared, what evidence would help you deduce that the audience was American servicemen?
  • What differences do you find between The Stars and Stripes ads and contemporary newspaper advertisements? Which differences are the result of a wider audience? Which reflect changes in printing technology? In the types of products available? In the interests of consumers?
  • To what extent would current "truth-in-advertising" regulations have restricted claims made by advertisers in The Stars and Stripes? Find an example to support your answer.

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