Baby-Blue “Bullet-Proof” Satin Bras: the Excursion Into the Soviet Consumer Realities

Natasha Tolstikova, University of Gloucestershire, UK
Soviet consumer culture is a debatable phenomenon. The particular consumer manifestations and a functioning but limited advertising vouch for its existence. This paper argues that in addition, the gradual strengthening of the Soviet consumer culture was evident in changing norms and attitudes—a phenomenon that eventually led to the collapse of the socialist system. These changes were reflected in the visual and verbal gestalt of the advertisements. Concentrating on women’s underwear, a controversial item, the paper analyzes four advertising posters employing visual iconographic approach proposed by Panofsky and interpreted by Leeuwen (2001). In addition to being the trade propaganda, Soviet advertising also played the political role, although it became more subtle with the progression of history. The paper demonstrates the changes in advertising values from functional to symbolic and argues that these developments can be explained by internal historical factors as well as by macro-historical changes.
[ to cite ]:
Natasha Tolstikova (2009) ,"Baby-Blue “Bullet-Proof” Satin Bras: the Excursion Into the Soviet Consumer Realities", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 384-390.