Eastman's Untold Legacy: Kodak Advertisments

Advertising was a key part of George Eastman's success.  The ads are being preserved at The George Eastman House in a climate controlled vault.   George Eastman used advertising to turn Kodak into Rochester's number one employer.  The company not only targeted Americans, but consumers world wide.  "George Eastman we consider a great marketing genius," said Kathy Connor, Curator of The George Eastman House & Legacy Collection.  "He really wanted to reach out to the normal everyday person."   The advertisements date back to 1888.  There are over 100,000 that were glued into a binder.  In the beginning, the ads were simple with the slogan You Press the ButtonWe Do the Rest.   "That kind of marketing and that kind of word of mouth helped really to spread the word of the Kodak products and put Rochester and George Eastman on the photographic map," said Connor. 

Over the years a well known icon often referred to as "The Kodak Girl" began to appear in magazine and poster advertising. Eastman never put himself in an ad and used subtle messages geared toward a specific audience.  It was common for The Kodak Company to use snapshots of families, holidays and travel to target emotions. "There were certain kinds of campaigns that they used throughout Kodak history just to get people taking pictures," said Connor. 

For 40 years Kodak dominated advertising in New York City.  You couldn't miss Kodak's Coloromas at Grand Central Station.  The Eastman House has a much smaller example of what one looked like.  The 60 foot pictures were back lit to enhance detail.  The images were so spectacular that children would take field trips to Grand Central Station every time the picture changed.   Over 1500 Kodak commercials are being preserved at Duke University.  

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