Advertising Contests in the 1950s and 1960s (The Contest Era)

The book cover (left) and the movie poster (right)

The book cover from 2001 (left) and the movie poster from 2005 (right)

It’s easy to forget how long companies have been inviting ideas from ‘the crowd,’” says Julia Kirby in her HBR article Creative That Cracks the Code the Code. “If you’re in doubt, read The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, a memoir of 1950s America in which the author’s mother writes advertising jingles for contest after contest.” This excerpt caught my interest, and I rushed to Amazon to buy the book (2001) and the movie (2005). I’ve just finished both and learned an awful lot advertising contests in the 1950s and 1960s, decades of prosperity in which companies fueled consumption and promoted the American Way of Life with creative contests. Continue reading →