Selling ‘Solid Sunshine’ – The Art of the Empire Marketing Board

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Britain attempted to direct its trade towards the Empire through an advertising campaign led by the Empire Marketing Board. The posters were great but ultimately unsuccessful.

Christmas Puddings EMB

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..

Poster designed by Edward Barnard Lintott.

Poster designed by Edward Barnard Lintott.

 

The Buy British Campaign of 1931 was the National Government’s attempt to tackle a balance of payments crisis without initially resorting to tariff protection. The operation was managed by the Empire Marketing Board

By Singapore pineapples in tins. EMB

Bananas EMB

Southern Rhodesian Tobacco, advert for the Empire Marketing Board illustrated by John Nash, 1929

Southern Rhodesian Tobacco, advert for the Empire Marketing Board illustrated by John Nash, 1929

 

Empire Marketing Board poster

Empire Marketing Board poster 1926-1933

South African Orange Orchards

 

 

Cyprus Cigarettes

 

Charles Pears in 1931 for the Empire Marketing Board

Charles Pears in 1931 for the Empire Marketing Board

Poster Ft Union Of South Africa & UK Map 1928

Gerald Spencer Pryse (1882-1956) | SORTING MANGANESE ORE

Empire Marketing Board poster c.1930 Margaret Clarke

Empire Marketing Board poster c.1930 Margaret Clarke

 

Prosperity from the Empire c.1930.

Prosperity from the Empire c.1930.

 

Motor Manufacturing Clive Gardiner c.1930

Motor Manufacturing Clive Gardiner c.1930.

 

A Blast Furnace Clive Gardiner c.1930

A Blast Furnace Clive Gardiner c.1930

 

Making Electrical Machinery Clive Gardiner c.1930

Making Electrical Machinery Clive Gardiner c.1930

 

Our Share (in black) of Total Imports Mann 1930

Our Share (in black) of Total Imports Mann 1930

 

Buy From Home c. 1930 Frank Newbould

Buy From Home c. 1930 Frank Newbould

 

Shipping Lanes Between Empire Countries D.M. Batty c.1930.

Shipping Lanes Between Empire Countries D.M. Batty c.1930.