International Journal of

Business & Management Studies

ISSN 2694-1430 (Print), ISSN 2694-1449 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijbms
Marketing’s Debt to World War I


World War I was a global conflict produced blood filled trenches, battlefields of dead, and mangled soldiers. Some may feel that this war has little to do with the field of marketing. However, marketing played a key role in the war. Despite the important role of marketing in the war, scholars have not fully explored the impact of promotion and propaganda on the war effort.

Marketing efforts related to World War I may not have had the impact as the millions of soldiers who took active part in the conflict. It did however play an important role in the filling the ranks of the armed forces of the nations involved in the war. The United States, and other nations, during the war developed increasingly more sophisticated marketing, public relations, and propaganda campaigns in order to culturally mobilize the home front, and to recruit additional fresh troops into the conflict in those nations which did not engage in conscription. Efforts to market World War I helped develop marketing tactics used today to brand and publicize products and services.

A key figure in the efforts to market World War I to the American public was George Creel. Creel was the head of the Committee on Public Information. Creel was a successful promoter and champion of many of the reform causes of the early part of the 20th Century. Creel’s marketing efforts impact on America’s role in World War I was indeed significant.

The topic of this paper is the impact of World War I on the development of marketing related tools and techniques. Many of the techniques and tools developed during the Great War are still used today to sell products, in the United States and in the rest of the world presently. Much of this paper will focus on the efforts of George Creel and the Committee on Public Information efforts to promote World War I, and how this organization impacted the development of marketing during its short existence.