Through the use of advertising, primarily through the non-profit Ad Council but also through corporate support, the PCPF spread messages and programs of universal male fitness while proudly avoiding developing a large bureaucracy or using substantial tax dollars. This economic arrangement was necessary for its success. Federally managed advertising and programming that remained outside the federal budget allowed the PCPF to spread a military program of exercise, physical improvement, strength building and weight-loss without crossing the unspoken boundary of directly telling Americans what to do with their individual bodies.
Through this examination of the relationship between this federal agency and its economic partnerships we can recalibrate our understanding of (a) the methods used to shape the American body in the 1950s-1960s, (b) the ways government interventions in daily life through these methods, and the arm of the State, proved more extensive than we typically imagine, and (c) the ways public acceptance of civilian military preparation in Cold War context was most achievable through advisory rather than compelled methods.
See more of: AHA Sessions