At the dawn of the 1930s, modernism started to influence the American advertising industry as waves from the European avant-garde movement made their way across the Atlantic. The trend of literal, uninspired print ads was shaken up by new stylized, symbolic, and even abstract advertisements that relied more on aesthetics than copy. These techniques worked well at first, and ultimately paved the way for advertising as we know it today, but were overshadowed by the need of a country in depression for hard-sell, shirt-sleeve advertising. Subtlety and irony could hardly sell products to a nation struggling to feed itself. Surprisingly, however, the ads of the 1930s reveal nothing of the hard times, painting instead an optimistic picture of affluent American family life. Cheerful and colorful, these ads served an important role as morale boosters, promising happiness and success to a country in crisis.