Nearly 88 years ago, America was a hot brand—or at least the idea of buying American-made goods was hot.
As the Trump administration’s trade war with China continues to unfold, a dive into the Ad Age archives for our “90 years of Ad Age” series reveals just how endless such rhetoric and posturing has been across the decades.
“‘Buy American’ Wave Gains In Intensity; National Action Seen” reads the headline atop the front page of the Dec. 24, 1932, issue of Advertising Age. The news hook back then was a grassroots initiative by some American businessmen to encourage the consumption of U.S.-made products in an effort at “ending or at least mitigating the depression.”
Ad Age called the “Buy American!” push an “appeal to national pride and self-respect” that “ran like a flash of powder from coast to coast” in that pre-Christmas week, thanks in part to “a sensational campaign” by The Fair, a Chicago department store headed by D.F. Kelly, who happened to be the former president of the National Retail Dry Goods Association (NRDGA).