Thursday, June 02, 2011

Back Home for Keeps

My recent research has let me to study the ads of World War II. I know...geeky, right? But I love magazines from that era and have amassed quite a collection (one that keeps growing!).

One advertising campaign that I really enjoy is from Oneida and their Community Silverplate products. This campaign centered on "when the boys came home" from the war "for keeps" to the women they love. The art on these ads is just gorgeous

The copy is also rather breathtakingly romantic:

"Stop the clocks, blow the whistles, catch-your-throat, hold-your-heart--it's true, dear God, it's true, he's home for keeps. All your dreams spring alive, all your hopes wake anew, all the life for two you've ached for will be yours to have and to hold.

Now you can plan - take a holiday from heartache. There'll be crisp curtains to hang in the windows, a deep chair for him, a low chair for you. There'll be fine linen to lay on your table, the fragrance of flowers, the friendly gleam of sparkling silverware. Today war postpones your finding your favorite Community--patterns brides have ever loved, traditional craftsmanship they've honored. But when he's home for keeps, we'll have it for you. And trust tomorrow, the day will come!"

This advertising campaign was immensely successful. In fact, the company received tons of requests for the art alone. Soldiers who were tired of the classic pin-up girl posters wanted these pictures instead. Almost more than a million of these pictures were shipped to soldiers overseas and to men and women at home, too. They decorated college dorms and fox holes alike!

LIFE magazine even ran a story about the phenomenon in May of 1945 (which you can read by clicking I LOVE the internet sometimes!!!).

But what is really interesting about these ads? There was no silverware to buy! It was all being used for the war. Oneida, like a lot of other companies, wanted to keep their name in the hearts and minds (and wallets) of the American populace and to remind them that they would resume making silverware when the boys came home.

I'd say they succeeded.

I'd also say that if I'd been alive during that time and saw these ads, I would have tacked them up to my walls, too!


  1. Me too, the art is so beautifully done. What a wonderful collection.

  2. Beautiful ads! What an inspiring read.

    You and your blog offer such rich resources. Thank you!

  3. Good old fashioned romance! And I love the sentiment behind "back home for keeps." Those ads are wonderful-I'd hang them up too:)

  4. Those ads made me ache for a little romance!

  5. Wow! What cool information!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Debs - I'm tempted to print them out and hang them on my wall even now!

    Linda - I'm glad you're enjoying it. :-)

    Valerie - Nothing better than good old fashioned romance. :-)

    Tamika - I bet these ads sent hearts pitter pattering from the Atlantic to the Pacific!

    Heidi - You're welcome!

    1. I have 10 of them and my husband had them framed for me.

    2. I would love to have them framed, too!

  7. I love the ads from this era, they're just so more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than modern marketing. Very cool!

  8. Betsy - I agree. What is so interesting, though, is the amount of copy they included. But back then, the U.S. had a very large reading public. Not so today, unfortunately. The t.v. and computer has taken over!

  9. I have Oneida silverware! I'll think of these beautiful ads when I sit down to dinner today :)

  10. You are carrying on a long and distinguished tradition, Joanne!

  11. They are wonderfully romantic! I love their simplicity and softness, too.

  12. Such gorgeous pics! I'm nostalgic for the LOVE in those ads! ;-) *deep sigh*

  13. Wow, who new flatware was so hot!

  14. Soft and romantic...that's it in a nutshell, Janna. :-)

    Talei - Oh, no kidding! :-)

    Tana - LOL! What I like is that they are depicting married couples. Married couples need passion like that, too! ;-)

  15. Wow, what beautiful ads! And how wonderful that the artwork was requested by soldiers overseas as well as their girls at home. This gives my day a lift!

  16. I love these ads! ANd no silverware? Wow!

  17. Christine - I think I may print these ads out myself and hang them up! They are certainly inspiring.

    Terri - Yep, no silverware. There was a ton of products that weren't available during the war since everything was poured into war production. A little different from today...


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