University of Portsmouth's History Blog

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

An article on the ways in which food, drink and confectionary companies used advertising to respond to the government’s control of the market during the Second World War by Mick Hayes, doctoral student in History at the University of Portsmouth, has recently been published in the Journal of Historical Research in Marketing. See below for the abstract, and if you want to read the article, click here.

Abstract The aim of this paper is to illustrate the impact of zoning and pooling on food, drink and confectionary brands during the Second World War, something that has not been covered in depth in historical literature, despite the significant amount of research that has been conducted into rationing and its effects on British society. In addition, the paper evaluates how brands in these industries used advertising in response to the government’s control of the market during the conflict. 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, the paper argues that brands used advertising to provide information to their customers about rationing, shortages, zoning and pooling for a range of reasons: to keep them informed of developments, to offer their apologies regarding problems in obtaining goods, urge patience, and help them look forward to a time when the conflict was over.

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