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“Don’t blame the shopkeeper!!” How food, drink and confectionary brands’ advertising dealt with shortages and British Government control of the market during the Second World War

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present research into how shortages and Government regulation of the food, drink and confectionery industries during the Second World War impacted on brands’ advertising.

Design/methodology/approach – The study consisted of a content analysis of more than 10,000 advertisements from the Daily Express and Daily Mirror newspapers, of which more than 1,800 were specifically for food, drink and confectionery brands. Building on previous work by Burridge (2008) it explores different message strategies used by brands in response to rationing, shortages, zoning and pooling

Findings – While rationing has been discussed at length in the historiography of the Second World War, the other forms of Government control of industry and markets, have not. The advertising of food, drink and confectionery brands illustrates that while brands provided information to their customers about rationing, shortages, zoning and pooling, the latter three also prompted brands to apologise, look to the future and urge patience. These different messages offer an insight into the impact that shortages and control had on consumers and business.

Research limitations/implications – This study is based on the Monday to Saturday editions of 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 rationing and control continued. Exploration of brand and agency archives could also provide more background into brands’ objectives and decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExplorations in globalization and glocalization
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 18th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing (CHARM)
EditorsAnn-Marie Kennedy
PublisherCHARM Association
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Event18th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 20174 Jun 2017


Conference18th Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis and Research in Marketing
Abbreviated titleCHARM 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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