Institutional (Corporate Image) Advertising

Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn

BBDO specialized in institutional or corporate image advertising. Instead of selling products, the advertising was designed to improve consumers’ attitudes toward the company, usually by associating the company with progress, American values, or innovation. BBDO clients included Du Pont, US Steel, General Motors, and General Electric. In this 1920s GE ad by BBDO, using electricity is promoted as a socially progressive activity.

General Electric BBDO copy 2

BBDO was one of the first ad agencies to produce radio programs. In 1930, they advertised their expertise:

BBDO was one of the first ad agencies to produce radio programs

BBDO was one of the first ad agencies to produce radio programs

Du Pont, a chemical manufacturer, needed to improve its image after it was accused of profiteering from war materiel. BBDO produced The Cavalcade of America, a radio docudrama anthology. Each episode featured a different story about the history of American technology and innovation. In this clip,you can hear the beginning and end of a radio episode, in which the announcer explains Du Pont’s effort to make “Better Things for Better Living, through Chemistry.”

BBDO also produced The Theatre Guild on the Air for US Steel. The commercials were informational “talks” about US Steel’s research, employee relations, and the importance of the steel industry.

US Steel Hour Sponsor 29 Aug 1949 p63

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