Tag Archives: Advertising

The Hormel Girls

In 1946 the Hormel company created a unique organization to employ World War II veterans as musicians to market food products.

Over a seven-year period the Hormel Girls, a drum-and-bugle corps, conducted door-to-door sales, worked with local retailers in cities and towns across America, formed a professional orchestra and a choir to enhance their stage shows, and produced a weekly national radio broadcast.

This was possibly the most successful musical-marketing strategy in the history of partnerships between music and industry. The women received outstanding pay and benefits, the company doubled its profits during the group’s existence, and the performers were professional-level musicians on a par with members of other professional ensembles of the era.

This according to “The Hormel Girls” by ­Jill M. Sullivan and Danielle D. Keck (American music XXV/3 [fall 2007] pp. 282–311). Top, the group ca. 1947; center, in 1952. Below, Elisa Korenne’s Hormel Girls, illustrated with vintage photographs.

 

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Filed under Curiosities, Performers, Popular music, Women's studies

Trade cards

Trade cards, which disseminate advertising by fostering cartophilia, have been issued since the early nineteenth century. Some are sources for music iconography, depicting musicians, composers, or dramatic works; those issued by instrument makers often depict their wares in attractive settings.

The card shown above (recto and verso) is an example of the latter, printed for the Estey Organ Company. Behind the group of music lovers, two children gaze at the Estey factory, which is now a museum. The company revolutionized musical life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by using marketing techniques like this card to place Estey organs in homes and institutions throughout the world.

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Filed under Iconography, Instruments