Selling Swedish Summer: The Marketing of Pommac, 1920-1960

O'Hagan, Lauren Alex (2023). Selling Swedish Summer: The Marketing of Pommac, 1920-1960. History of Retailing and Consumption, 8(2) pp. 171–199.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/2373518X.2023.2172248

Abstract

This paper offers the first case study of the Swedish soft drink Pommac, launched in 1919, and how the brand established itself as the 'taste of summer'. Using multimodal critical discourse analysis to examine a large dataset of Pommac advertisements, it traces the brand's development over its first forty years on the market (1920-1960), identifying the ways in which summer was depicted in advertisements, how this shifted over time in accordance with changes in Swedish society and how this worked in tandem with other secondary themes, such as luxury, sophistication and alcohol substitution. It finds that the concept of summer that Pommac initially promoted was highly idealised and oriented towards a middle-class public. In the 1940s, Pommac began to include working-class audiences in its advertisements for the first time, thereby creating a segmented market for the drink based around each group's supposed tastes, cultures and forms of socialisation. Ultimately, the paper demonstrates how leisure has long been exploited by brands to engage with specific target audiences and enhances our understanding of class-based approaches to lifestyle marketing, while also showcasing some uniquely Swedish marketing characteristics that emerged in response to particular social, cultural and political developments in the country.

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