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 here...how 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!