Advertisers support U.S. military during World War II


American industries played an important role during World War II, as they attempted to involve the general populace in the massive war effort.

Product advertisements played a dual role in encouraging moderation of consumption and making citizens aware of their patriotic obligation to purchase war bonds, conserve commodities such as gas and tires, become more vigilant, and donate blood and scrap materials.

Advertisements adopted a decidedly military motif to appeal to the patriotic spirit of the citizenry.

Wikipedia Encyclopedia notes that "during active American involvement in World War II (1941-45), propaganda was used to increase support for the war and commitment to an Allied victory. Using a vast array of media, propagandists instigated hatred for the enemy and support for America's allies, urged greater public effort for war production and victory gardens, persuaded people to save some of their material so that more material could be used for the war effort ... . Patriotism became the central theme of advertising throughout the war, as large scale campaigns were launched to sell war bonds, promote efficiency in factories, reduce ugly rumors and maintain civilian morale. The war consolidated the advertising industry's role in American society, deflecting earlier criticism."

Research notes that The Advertising Council Inc., was incorporated on Feb. 26, 1942, renamed the War Advertising Council in 1943, with its primary effort centering on mobilizing the advertising industry in support of the war effort.

Several products produced during World War II, Coca-Cola being an example, followed our military to the war zones and continued producing their products on site. Many advertisements adjusted themes depending on the enemy and geographic theater of war.

"Before the conclusion of World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested that the Ad Council continue its work during peacetime. On Feb. 5, 1946, The War Advertising Council officially changed its name back to The Advertising Council Inc. and shifted its focus to issues such as atomic weapons, world trade and religious tolerance. In 1945, the Ad Council began working with the National Safety Council," which addressed issues involving public safety.

The ads on this page were published in The Item during the war years.

Reach Sumter Item Archivist Sammy Way at or (803) 774-1294.