GilletteCo History

The history of the Gillette Company in Boston; its products and people.

Archive for February 2010

Sports Marketing: The Beginning

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New England Patriots Wide Receiver Wes Welker and the Archivist (that's me) at United Way event 49th floor of the Prudential Tower; Sept 2007

I am going to write about sports marketing. But first I wanted to show my favorite Gillette picture. That’s me with number 83 of the New England Patriots, Wes Welker. He is a great sport in so many ways. At this event he showed it by posing with everyone, and I mean dozens of people for the Patriot/ Gillette United Way of New England kick-off event in 2007.

July 1910 Newspaper and Magazine Ad. First Sports advertisement ever.

July 1910. One of a series of magazine ads featuring American men as clean and ready for anything, but too busy to go to the barber shop for a shave.

These two ads were a risk. In 1910, Americans did not believe that baseball players were role models. In fact, professional athletes were only one step up from being a bum who rode the rails. Not only this these ads work, but they set up a new marketing strategy that has endured for Gillette and many other companies.

Kennesaw Mountain Landis signing an agreement forGillette's exclusive radio rights in the 1939 World Series.

In 1964 Sporting News published a Silver Anniversary of Gillette’s Cavalcade of Sports issue. It featured pictures of all sorts of sports, here is one of the pages.

Sporting News, 1964 Pictures of Gillette sponsored events.

After World War II Gillette started using the Sunday comics. This is Johnny Mize in 1949.

Dom DiMaggio. The Professor in the 1950s for the Boston Red Sox.

These comics are part of a tradition that started during the War to keep people focused on the Gillette blade when they could only get the Thin Blade do to shortages. After the war the comic went to the Blue Blade which was a higher end and more expensive product.

These Sunday Cavalcade of Sports comics ran until the early 1960s in every Sunday. I have included only a few here, but there are many.

The big truck left Fenway Park yesterday, bringing all the equipment to Florida for Spring Training. Around here, with the sky so gray and the grass still brown, that is the first harbinger of spring. It is a good one.

Frank Malzone also of the Boston Red Sox. I have my loyalties.

1951: Gillette and Major League Baseball sign $6,000,000 Contract

World Series Record Book. Published by Gillette throughout the 1950s.

The 1930s saw the beginning of Gillette on the Radio and that continued for a long time. In the 1950’s Gillette figured out that TV was the way to go and signed for exclusive rights. They were right. The 1950’s also brought along the spokesbird Sharpie who officiated on the radio and television for The Cavalcade of Sports Friday Night Fights and asked “How’re you fixed for blades?” More on Sharpie later. He’s gonna get his own page.

1950 World Series Broadcasts

Jim Rice now a Hall of Famer, did ads for Gillette in 1979 for the World Series Broadcasts.

Don’t forget football. It started way before professional, there was high school and college; rivalries and bowl games.

1940 3 Great Football Classics on New Year's Day

Bowl Game Broadcast Schedule 1950

So here is a short history of the longest Sports Marketing story in advertising. They’re still at it under P&G and mostly, even with the twists and turns, do a fine job. They also taught P&G about sports… anyone hear of the Olay World on Ice before the merger?

Press Release from Gillette and Major League Baseball. Also mentioned is Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA

Naming rights to Gillette Stadium confirmed in 2002. Also NASCAR, NHL, MLS, I hate to leave out the others but the list goes on!

Written by gillettecohistory

February 13, 2010 at 10:54 pm