WWII Home Volunteers – How Patriotism Sells

WWII Consumer Pledge

Everyone was expected to mobilize for the war effort during the Second World War, even Richfield housewives. It was a patriotic duty that struck at the heart of America – and an irresistible opportunity for advertisers. Any way for a company to associate its products with government war propaganda was an opportunity to make money. Richfield was no exception. Advertisers would slap a “Buy War Bonds!” stamp on their ads and suddenly you could buy underwear from Richfield Dry Goods or have your hair cut at Zastrow’s Barber and Beauty Shop in support of America. The ads were subtle, often hard to distinguish from government sponsored bond ads, but the product placements at the bottom always give them away.

The pledge card above is from an 1942 Minneapolis Gas Lights Co. advertisement. Half a newspaper column is devoted to convincing homemakers that conserving food and energy and wasting nothing was what they needed to do for the war. Women were encouraged to sign the above pledge and become “Home Volunteers”. Come in Today!, the ad exclaimed, and sign this pledge… 

How can you save energy and food? Well, the answer is simple – buy a Gas Refrigerator and a Gas Range Stove powered by none other than your friendly and patriotic Minneapolis Gas Light Company.

Learn more about Richfield during the war at Minnesota Homefront – Open through March 15th.


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