HAT OM - History of Advertising Trust: Wartime Guard Books.

During the Second World War, the British government commissioned a range of advertising campaigns to be circulated in newspapers and other publications, promoting various schemes, initiatives, and public information notices. This series of eleven guard book volumes contains clippings from the advertising campaigns commissioned by the government between 1939 and 1951. The campaigns, published under the official imprint of various departments, reveal the ways in which wartime and post-war initiatives were communicated to the British public, and provide a valuable insight into the government's understanding of – and attempts to appeal to – the concerns of its citizens.

In certain cases, numerous versions of the same advertising campaign have been included, allowing readers observe to the evolution of their tone and emphasis over time.

Notable examples of campaigns included in this series include:

Wartime campaigns and initiatives

  • Recruitment adverts for the armed forces.
  • Blackout safety advice and other Civil Defence notices, including the "Firebomb Fritz" campaign.
  • Campaigns created by the National Savings Committee, including the War Loans and Warship Week schemes, to promote public investment in the war effort.
  • The "Squanderbug" campaign, intended to promote wartime savings over excessive household consumption.
  • The Ministry of Information's "Silent Column", "Careless Talk", and "What do I do if..." campaigns.
  • Announcements relating to the rationing of food and other commodities.
  • The Ministry of Food's "Food Facts" campaign, a weekly series of recipes and cooking tips for rationed produce.
  • Adverts promoting the consumption of food staples, including characters such as "Potato Pete" and "Carroty George", and information on marketing campaigns and local Food Advice Centres.
  • Health education campaigns, including a series of adverts aimed at tackling the spread of venereal disease.
  • Campaigns to promote the billeting and reception of evacuated children.
  • Fuel economy and other campaigns against waste.
  • Campaigns promoting the salvage of scrap metals and other resources.
  • Advertisements promoting the contribution of the British Commonwealth towards the war effort.

Post-war campaigns and initiatives

  • The National Health Service, National Insurance, and National Savings programmes.
  • Recruitment for the nursing profession and international relief work.
  • Post-war national productivity reports.
  • The nationalisation of the railways and other public utilities.
  • Road safety campaigns and the Highway Code.
  • Festival of Britain.
  • Registration for the 1950 General Election.

This series of wartime advertisements has been made fully text-searchable, alongside the collections of The National Archives, through the Explore Content and Advanced Search pages. In addition, thumbnail previews of each of the advertisements can also be filtered and browsed (according to Date, Theme, Government Department and Civil Defence Region) using our dedicated Advertising Gallery.

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