WurliTzer Mass Media Advertising

Wurltizer, like all manufacturers, regularly advertised in trade journals, but was unique in the industry by advertising in mass media publications. Based on the information available, Wurlitzer's campaign started out in a random fashion before taking form with specific themes.

Wurlitzer's first advertisements directed to the public, in financial publications such as Fortune and Forbes , appear to be aimed at enhancing the image of Wurlitzer in financial circles along with their major suppliers (such as Catalin plastics).

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For Victory, Invest in War Bonds
8 Ads, May 1943 - December 1943

During the period of 1943-1945, while Wurlitzer was producing war material instead of jukeboxes and pianos/organs, the campaign was restricted to the mainstream publications of Better Homes & Gardens and Look. The first group of eight ads, run from May 1943 - December 1943 primarily emphasized buying war bonds and had a general theme of 'mom and apple pie ... and think of Wurlitzer' and had titles such as "The Pursuit of Happiness", "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Music Heard 'round the World".

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Music From the Heart of America
9 Ads, February 1944 - January 1946

The "For Victory, Invest in War Bonds" campaign came together in February 1944 with "Over There", the first of a 9 part series of ads called "Music from the Heart of America" which was based on published songs. This campaign was appropriately started with "And We Won't Come Home 'Til It's Over, Over There" concluded in January of 1946 with "America the Beautiful".The artwork and copy in these ads featured distinctly patriotic themes generally centered around popular song titles, such as "Manhatten Serenade", "Home on the Range", "Star Dust" and "Down By The Old Mill Stream" by Stan(ley) Ekman. These ads also emphasized Wurlitzer's contribution to the war effort as well as urging the public to buy war bonds. Most of had a small likeness of a Model 950 Jukebox and a piano and reminded the public that Wurlitzer would once again be bringing music to millions after the war ended.

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Musical Fun for Everyone
22 Ads, March 1946 - April 1948

Following the conclusion of the "Music from the Heart of America" campaign, Wurlitzer embarked upon an advertising campaign which would permanently make Wurlitzer a household word. Even today, the name Wurlitzer remains synonymous with Music. In the first model year after the end of World War II (1946) Wurlitzer was intent on maintaining its pre-war domination of the Jukebox industry. Their strategy was to have full scale advertising campaign aimed directly at the public, of course, at the time, this meant magazine advertisements. This campaign was announced to the trade in February 1946 ... as the following article from Coin Machine Journal illustrates:


Close on the heels of Wurlitzer's introduction of the new Model 1015 Phonograph, comes the news that indicates the unprecedented promotional drive that will be placed behind Wurlitzer Factory-Approved Music Merchants. For a history-making move, Wurlitzer inaugurates the first national advertising program ever instituted in the commercial music industry.

Woven around Wurlitzer's 'Sign of the Musical Note', a colorful decalcomania that will identify Wurltizer locations by its appearance on their doors, windows and back bars, the advertising will tell everybody, everywhere to look for this sign and they'll find Wurlitzer Phonograph Music, 'America's Favorite Nickel's Worth of Fun'.

Full color, full page ads are scheduled for the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Look and Liberty with the first insertions during March. Illustrations are by , one of the country's top character illustrators, and there is little doubt that these powerful Wurlitzer ads will attract maximum attention.

As explained by M.G. Hammergren, Wurlitzer Vice-President and Director of Sales, 'This unique national advertising campaign has several aims. It will stimulate business for the Wurlitzer location owner. It will increase the play on his Wurlitzer Phonograph to the joint benefit of himself and the Wurlitzer Factory-Approved Music Merchant who serves him. It will aid the same Music Merchant to get and hold better locations because we believe the location owner will be satisfied with nothing but a Wurlitzer once he sees the effort we are putting forth to publicize his business as a place where people can have fun while listening to Wurlitzer Music. Lastly, depicting the important part that Wurlitzer Phonograph Music plays in the American way of life, we will give the American public a more constructive understanding of the industry as a whole.'

Initial advertising started in March 1946 in Better Homes and Gardens, Saturday Evening Post, Colliers,Liberty and Look. Ads were later taken out in other mass media publications such as Life and Colliers as well as the lessor read magazines of Farm Journal, American Weekly , True Confessions and True Story. These advertisements all featured colored artwork by Albert Dorne and a Logo showing a musical note playing a trumpet which quickly became referred to as Johnny-One-Note. This campaign featured the Model 1015 "Bubbler" in 14 different ads running from February 1946 to , one ad for the Model 1080 "Lyre" and concluded in 1947-48 with 6 different ads for the Model 1100.

Although Albert Dorne did not share the public stature of Norman Rockwell, his artwork did emanate a certain sense of warmth/comfort and nostalgia which make the ads quite pleasing to view & collect. He would later go into business with Norman Rockwell, forming the worlds largest correspondence art school. In conjunction with this advertising, an extensive POP (Point-Of-Purchase) program followed where the Johnny-One-Note Logo was prominently displayed in establishments featuring Wurlitzer Music. These promotional items included drink coasters, swizzle sticks, table tents, posters, window decals, menus, neckties and various other items. The most significant factor of this campaign is that Wurlitzer lost sight of who its customers were. The general public did not buy jukeboxes ... distributors and operators did. This campaign was a financial failure, but did permanently make both the Model 1015 "Bubbler" and Wurlitzer synonymous with "Jukeboxes"...a reputation which has endured since.

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