Term Paper On The Concept Of Advertising During Times Of War


This report focuses on the concept of advertising during wars. Although it is clear that advertising or marketing is essential for any business to grow. Advertising of products and services is a part of a business as a marketing process. It is very beneficial and advantageous in all means but also profitable for the society. In this report, the primary point of focus or a question that in the past, why companies were seemed to advertise their product and services by using war themes or patriotic themes? This paper divided into four parts first is the introduction of the concept with definitions and explanation, second part have examples of some advertisements that were created during war, third gives the reasons that force the companies to advertise their product and services by using wars themes and related, and fourth is the conclusion that ends up the report by proving the statement and providing a result.

Keywords: War theme, communication, product and services, emotional appeal, advertisement.

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Advertising during Times of War: Why Companies Advertise Their Product and Services by Using War Theme?


Advertising is a very import step in the process of marketing of any product or service. It can define as an act of calling something related to a product or services or a business to attract the audience and make them give attention to the efforts. The primary end goal is to increase the profit and the growth of a brand or a business. The main reasons for advertising any product or service is to portray its qualities, to create a brand image, to increase profits, growth in business, and to communicate with the target audience. The positive and successful advertising campaign can help to achieve the goal of creating a brand image and leads to the growth and success of a business. The positive brand image is necessary because it helps the customers to decide in favor of the advertised product or service (George & Ronald, 1994).

For many years companies and businesses are using different types and ways to market their products and services. Various types include print media marketing, media marketing, outdoor marketing, product placement marketing, etc. different ways of advertising means the idea of appeal, a company is using to attract their targeted audience that includes emotional appeal, sex appeal, music appeal, rational appeal, brand appeal, snob appeal, play on words, sensitivity appeal, etc. its observed that from recent times companies were using themes in the process of advertising. These themes can be varying according to the characteristics or features of a product or a service of a company. Different themes include fun theme, colors theme, patriotic theme, product theme, etc.

It is challenging to image about advertising when there was a hard and deadly situation as war. It is a fact that people were advertising their products from the time when they just wrote “for sale” on their items. It was a significant action to do as an effort for the growth of the business. After the civil war in America, advertising agencies came in demand and started marketing work as a popular and trending part of a company. After that with all the inventions like the radio, email, internet, etc., the process of advertising become popular.

In this report, a particular theme of advertising is discussed that is war theme. It can be observed that from many years companies are using this theme. Companies use to advertise their product and services by using different advertising type, different way, and theme. Many companies were seen in advertising their product and services by using a war theme. Many years ago, during World War 1 and World War 2, it happened many times. But the critical question is that why companies use war theme to advertise regardless of focusing on the threatening and deadly situation of war.

Examples Of Advertisements During Wars

From the history of advertisement, we can extract many examples of different product’s advertisements that were used during the times of war in the different region of the world. Two are mention below.

1. Advertisement Of Swan Fount Pen (1916)

An advertisement of Swan Fount pen, Published in 1916

This is an advertisement of swan fount pen. It was used in Canada. The title of this advertisement is “when your thoughts fly home.” The message of this advertisement was very patriotic, and advertiser tried to give a tribute to the officers and men who were serving in overseas military forces of Canada. It can be observed that there is an emotional appeal that can encourage the audience to buy the pen.

2. Advertisment Of Greys Cigarettes (1917)

An advertisement of Greys Cigarettes, Published in 1917

This is an advertisement for Greys Cigarettes. It was used and created in London. The title of this advertisement is Advert for Greys Cigarettes, taken from Fighting Australasia. Advertiser used the war theme in this advertisement by showing soldiers with weapons. The advertiser of this advertisement tried to create the connection with soldier’s class and choice. This is typified in the Greys Cigarettes advertisement which celebrates the “class and attitude of fighters”, encourages the audience to choose what soldiers option.

Why Companies Use War And Patriotic Theme To Advertise Products And Services

It can be observed that many companies advertise their products and services during the war times by using the same theme. There are various reasons for doing advertising by using war theme which are mention below.

Communication For positive Social Response

Communication is a major goal of an essential advertising. Companies used the war theme in advertising because it was the best way to communicate at that time. Communication is a mechanism by which human relationships can be developed and created (Sofia, 2017). It observed that companies gave the message of peace and love during wartime that appeals to the audience as a positive effort. These advertisements became the source of creating a positive social response. This was also helpful to decrease the anger and hate within people in the world. These responses created major changes in the people perception about war and daily needs products. In the situation when depreciation, misery, and indifference as assumptions of assimilated derogation and violence were high, the only or available mean to communicate and fulfill the demand was positive advertising. At the times of war, nation’s culture, environmental circumstances, cultural explorations and financial conditions were in danger. Therefore using the war theme and doing positive advertising is beneficial for both, society and the company.

New potential Markets

Companies started to consider war times as a potential market for their products and services. Before the significant wars held in the world only one out of 5 new products was a success. But gradually it was observed that wars were changing these figures. During wars, markets became potential markets in plastics, in radio and electronics in household appliances, in the field of synthetic fabrics, in the food field, in the prefabricated home field, and in packaged drug products indicated success and growth of a business. Products start being sold in vast quantities, backed by those emotional advertisements and promotions (Arthur, 1945). The bars in the demand graph started becoming high due to war. People used to store the products of daily use or need. All these factors created a potential market for many companies.

Fear Appeal

The fear appeal is one of the methods that can be used to change the opinion or view of an individual about any specific idea or concept. Advertiser used this method by advertising their product and services by war theme many times. Through this method, they instill fear in the audience who then reciprocates following the command. That’s why it was said that Advertisements often take the form of “fear appeals,” designed to generate anxiety to persuade individuals to purchase goods or services (Ronald & Barbara, 2013). Mostly it was used for the sensitive products.

A Time Of Opportunity

It observed that as the war developed, there was a clear increase in newspaper readership and different means as people use them to follow the news from the front. That increased the interest of the advertisers as there was a clear increase in potential customers. The time when the war begins was the best time to give the sense of unity within the nation; simple sales messages were devised that keyed into the famous reinforced and narrative pervasive propaganda message.

Patriotic Spirit

In commercial advertising, patriotism is used as a recurring motif. Patriotic and war theme was used in advertising of product and services for many years. In this process, product buying of the Allied nations was entirely the key factor and extended to differentiate the Allies’ approach to war in comparison to that of the enemy. It was a tactic to create an emotional connection with the audience through the consumption of advertised products and services (clampin, 2014).


This report concludes that the war theme is one of the many successful ideas of successful advertisement campaigns. War days are the days of emotional feelings. Everyone become more patriotic and advertisers use that state of mind to promote their product and services. Using patriotic and war theme is just a tactic to create an emotional appeal within targeted audience. It also concludes that advertisement is a way to communicate and by using different themes and types many messages can be delivered to the people. Advertisements can maintain the culture and beliefs of a nation. That’s why have been using during wars to create connection, awareness, and sustainability.


Arthur, P. H. (1945). Market research as a practical help in reconversion problems. Journal of Marketing. 9(4), 342-349.
Clampin, D. (2014). Commercial advertising as propaganda in world war one. The British Library. Retrieved from https://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/commercial-advertising-as-propaganda [Accessed 7 Aug. 2018].
George, S. L., Ronald, A. F. (1994). Brands, brand management, and the brand manager system: a critical-historical evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research. 31(2), 173-190.
Ronald, S. F., Barbara, S. (2013). Selling the war? System-justifying effects of commercial advertising on civilian casualty tolerance. Political Psychology. 34(3), 351-367.
Sofia, S. (2017). The impact of visual communication: the relationship between visual messages with places and objects of everyday life over time. e-Journal of Science & Technology. 12(2), 77-97.

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