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World War Brands
World War II and the Rise  of the Modern American Brand


World War II had a profound impact on American brands. In addition to brands directly aligning their products with the war effort, some brands used the war as a clever way to engender positive perceptions by distributing products to American forces. Other brands actually had their roots in the war.


Just as important, the post-war economy led to the rise of the American middle class. The war fueled strong economic growth that turned the country into a major global force. Post-war America became a bubbling cauldron of scores of inventive, innovative brands. When television came along, marketing those brands rose to a whole new level.


This book traces the development of the American brand from World War I through the 1920s and 1930s. Then it explores the interrelationship of World War II and American brands, showing how the war itself was "branded," how brand advertisers leveraged the war, and how the post-war economy helped birth the modern brand. Included are 38 vintage ads and scores of stories about some of the best-known brands of the '40s and '50s.


The book concludes by examining brands in the context of American post-war culture, moving from the war's end into the 1950s and 1960s. It demonstrates how the consumerism of post-war America led quite directly to the birth of breakthrough brands and modern brand marketing strategies. Many brands from this time have survived and thrived into the 21st Century.














WORLD WAR BRANDS is an entertaining and enlightening story of the beginning of disciplined marketing and advertising in America. The extent of Barry Silverstein's research is incredible - he shares, displays, reports and comments on the many brands of the era. The treasure in the book is the pictorial collection of ads that were placed during the war, capturing the focus of America at that time. This book is well organized, easy to read and an informative, nostalgic journey through classic brands and World War II realities.

- Peter W. Evans, Retired Advertising Agency President


This impressively researched and fascinating book reveals how brand destinies are shaped not only by culture and technology but by global events. From Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses and Donald Duck to Cocoa Puffs and Car Culture, Barry Silverstein explains how American brands responded to WWII and - despite its human toll - went on to create a vibrant post-war consumer society and lay the foundations of modern marketing.

- Barry Robertson, Partner, Boomer / neXt division of VizioNation, a generational marketing consultancy


Anyone interested in American history and America's most successful brands will find WORLD WAR BRANDS an enlightening read. Barry Silverstein does a great job summarizing how America was changing from 1920 through the 1960s and how America's best-known brands evolved in response. This is a highly worthwhile read for the marketing or brand history enthusiast.

- Francis J. Kelly III, President and CEO, CEOVIEW Branding LLC


...Silverstein is keenly aware of the centrality of branding to 20th-century advertising. Three dozen print-ad reproductions complement the book's engaging writing style... Overall, it's a convincing history about the role of World War II in developing brand consciousness among consumers in the United States.

- Kirkus Reviews


Silverstein brings into focus the evolution of products and trends started a hundred years ago that still hugely influence us today. ...The beauty of this book is that it awakens us to the seemingly invisible world we inhabit. We are so inured to advertisements, billboards, jingles, slogans and propaganda that we don't notice how they slip seamlessly into our minds and decisions. Advertising affects the way we live, what choices we make, where we spend our money and how we mold our perceptions. After reading WORLD WAR BRANDS, you may never look at your favorite brands in the same way. What do I think of this book? In the words of Tony the Tiger, a brand superstar, "It's Gr-r-r-r-r-eat"!

- 5 star review by Sherry Tuffin, Reedsy Discovery

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