The Desperation of the Military's Economists: Advertising as a Way to Fight Inflation in 1970s Brazil

Abstract: This article describes the Brazilian civil–military dictatorship's anti-inflation advertising campaigns in 1973 and 1977. It shows how Finance Ministers Antônio Delfim Netto and Mário Henrique Simonsen used advertising as a substitute for economic policy. It argues that they turned to advertising to divert attention from their own policy failures by blaming urban women, small shopkeepers and consumers for the growing inflation problem. This article details the background of the campaigns and examines the advertisements, especially their use of normative gender ideologies. By reference to newspapers and political speeches, it also documents the social and political reaction to the campaigns.