Article by Annenberg doctoral student Lee McGuigan
Owing to its unmatched sponsorship of commercial broadcasting and the ubiquity of its homemaking goods, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has had a profound impact on culture and society in the United States. From a critical political economy approach, this article documents P&G’s historical contributions to the commercial system of broadcasting in the United States. At the nexus of entertainment, industry, and domesticity, P&G provides a unique case study for probing the political economy of capitalism in the United States, with particular emphasis on commodity consumption and the reproduction of labor power in the home. It is argued that the significance of P&G has less to do with direct message effects, and more to do with the institutional formation of broadcasting as both an advertiser-supported industry and a daily ritual commanding human resources of time and attention.