Selling The Dream

… compelling glimpse of American advertising’s artists and hucksters at work …
The Detroit Free Pressr

Advertising is the most ubiquitous expression of American culture — a town crier for capitalism and the American way of life. This one-hour film explores the power of advertising to shape contemporary culture.


Reaching back into history, Selling the Dream examines the multi-million dollar industry from early information ads to today’s slick and polished campaigns including a $100 million national campaign for Mitsubishi cars, and the Nike ad campaign of the early 1990’s featuring superstar athletes.

While consumers may not actually believe these products will bring them the success, pleasure or romance promised, they are conditioned by the idea that the way to solve all of life’s problems is to look for a product. But as former Federal Trade Commission chairman, Michael Pertschuk, notes, “The real solutions to life’s problems…come most often through things that can’t be sold in the marketplace. And that, advertising doesn’t tell us — because there’s nobody around to pay for it.”

Aired on PBS in 1991.

Victor KingSteve York