A Kodak Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

31 January 2018

Cultural Studies

Eastman Kodak were one of the most recognisable brands managed by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency’s during the 40 years that JWT managed their account, from 1930-1972. JWT were responsible for making the Kodak brand a household name and behind some of Kodak’s most iconic advertising campaigns. The Kodak collections in Adam Matthew Digital’s forthcoming resource, J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America, give a unique insight into JWT’s advertising strategies and show why JWT were one of the most successful agencies of the 20th century.

The documents in the Eastman Kodak Account File demonstrate JWT’s strategy for a successful advertising campaign, from the original pitch to the client to the finished advert; they show the detailed market research JWT carried out to understand the psychology of their consumers and how they could influence them.

One of JWT’s winning tactics for the Kodak account was to leverage the emotions of the customer – they had to be persuaded that you needed to capture every, everyday moment on film or those precious memories would be lost. They used the sentimental angle to reinforce the message that a special moment not preserved in a Kodak photograph might not really be that special after all!

Another key marketing tactic was brand recognition and JWT worked hard to build a loyal consumer base who would buy into Kodak’s core values and quality products again and again. The Kodak ‘yellow’ was a key element of their brand and can be seen throughout most of their adverts.

JWT were behind winning Kodak slogans that are be familiar today and are not far removed from ads and taglines used to sell modern cameras on smartphones. Whilst the technology may have advanced, the message behind a successful camera marketing campaign has changed very little; photographs help us capture, save and share the things that are important to us and as JWT and Kodak tell us, ‘every moment matters’!

For more information, including free trial access and price enquiries, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America publishes Spring, 2018.

Full access restricted to authenticated academic institutions which have purchased a licence.

All images © Eastman Kodak and J. Walter Thompson. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

About the Author

Ellie Davey Corrigan

I am a Development Editor at Adam Matthew, having joined the team in 2015. My academic background lies in Classical History and Languages but as an editor in academic publishing I have worked across a variety of subjects from Business, Marketing and Gender Studies to International Relations. I am enjoying getting back to my historical roots working on a wide range of new projects at Adam Matthew.