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“Don’t blame the shopkeeper!!” Food, drink and confectionery advertising and British Government market controls during the Second World War

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the impact of zoning and pooling on brands, something not covered in depth in the historical literature. Also the paper is intended to present research into how brands in the food, drink and confectionery industries during the Second World War advertising utilised advertising in response to government control of the market.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based on a close reading and interpretation of food, drink and confectionery brands advertisements from the Daily Express and Daily Mirror newspapers across the Second World War. Building on work by Burridge (2008) it explores different message strategies used by brands in response to shortages, zoning and pooling.

Findings – While rationing has been discussed at length in the historical literature, zoning and pooling, have not. While brands provided information to their customers about rationing, shortages, zoning and pooling, the latter three also caused brands to apologise, look to the future and urge patience.

Research limitations/implications – This study is based on the Daily Express and Daily Mirror from August 1939 to September 1945. Further research could explore other publications or the period after the war as control continued. Exploration of brand and agency archives could also provide more background into brands’ objectives and decision making.

– This is the first research to explore the impact of forms of control other than rationing on advertising during the Second World War.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-385
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Historical Research in Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


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