The Empire Marketing Board was formed in May 1926 by the Colonial Secretary Leo Amery to promote inter-Empire trade and to persuade consumers to ‘Buy Empire’.
The board had three principal aims: to support scientific research, promotion of economic analysis, and garner publicity for Empire trade. Scientific research took up a large proportion of the EMB’s work and budget. It also had its own EMB film unit led by John Grierson, often considered the father of modern documentary film, which produced around 100 films with such names as ‘Solid Sunshine’ (which promoted New Zealand butter), ‘Song of Ceylon’, ‘Wheatfields of the Empire’, ‘Industrial Britain’ and ‘One Family’.
Colonial governments were perhaps understandably reluctant to join the EMB, however, and the organisation was wound up in September 1933. Partly as a result of both government cuts (it always had been a relatively small budget) and when the 1932 Empire Economic Conference in Ottawa agreed to implement ‘Imperial Preference’, by 1 October 1933 the EMB was no more..