While consumer culture certainly bloomed in Post War America, it would be false to assume that it did not exist prior to that. The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production which required the creation of mass culture in order to sustain itself ("we must have more profit each year than we did in the prior year", rather than the more sane and rational "we must have a profit"). If you peruse microfiche of the New York Times, Times of London, etc etc from the last half of the 1800's you will see many many early experiments in branding and of course some truly outrageous claims (you think ads are dishonest now? Truth in advertising laws really have made some difference).

Advertising became more organized and "professional" over the decades, and certainly by the turn of the century the consumer culture was in full swing, with five and dimes, more and more factories, pulp literature, and a thriving periodicals industry. The roaring twenties throttled consumer culture up to full speed and drove it right over the cliff into the Great Depression. Consumer culture became a shadow of its' former self until post-war, at which time it came back in full force. The omnipresent ad industry and exponential growth of the phenomenon in the post war era certainly make it seem as though it never existed prior, but consumer culture had already been around for close to 100 years.