Relocating Centers and Peripheries: Transnational Advertising Agencies and Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s

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Journal Article
Enterprise and Society, 2015, 16 (1), pp. 51 - 73
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© The Author 2015. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Business History Conference. The history of advertising's global expansion has generally focused on the activities and experiences of American-based agencies. Within these conventional narratives, the "center" of advertising lies in New York. Deemed "peripheral," markets such as Singapore scarcely feature. However, the transnational agencies operating in Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s challenge this narrative. By examining these agencies' activities during this period, this article reveals that Singapore's advertising industry has long been connected to global networks spanning Europe, Australia, Asia, and North America. Such connections not only offer an insight into the development of Singapore's advertising industry, but they also cast broader questions about the degree to which historical interpretations of the growth of the global advertising industry have been informed by American perspectives.
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