October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed and manufacturers began scrambling to create innovative ways to promote their products. They put famous American images on tobacco cards, donut boxes, and food cans. Booklets were distributed in which to paste collectible cards. Prominent heroes endorsed every product imaginable, from cars to clothes. One of the most sought celebrity was Amelia Earhart. She was a photogenic American icon who stood for honesty, courage, and adventure. Endorsed by Earhart includes the endorsements she made and the story behind them.
Following her historic flight aboard the Friendship in 1928,
Amelia Earhart became the most sought after celebrity to endorse
products. She represented courage, independence, and the modern
woman despite the fact that she simply crossed the ocean as a
passenger. Her photogenic image and testimonials enhanced sales
from automobiles to magazines to chocolate bars.
Roy Chapin, one of four founders of the Hudson Motor Company, made the
following statement about Amelia in his efforts to promote the company's
new vehicle - the Essex Terraplane. "The choice of Amelia Earhart
as the sponsor for the new car was a stroke of genius in
publicizing. Miss Earhart was the world's leading aviatrix,
daring, of high character, with warm a popular appeal, and was
Amelia's endorsements of products often resulted in a quid pro quo
arrangment with the manufacturer. The company either donated a
monetary sum towards her flying expenses or a product directly related
to the flight. In reciprocation, the company received publicity
and advertising. This included automobiles and her fashion
line. As meager as her flying fund seemed to be, it appears more
than probable that automobile companies allowed Amelia the use of their
cars. Those autos that she did own were almost certainly signed
over to her in trade for her continued endorsement of the maker.
Horlick's Malted Milk is an excellent example of the trade of product
for an endorsement. William Horlick patented his malted milk in
1983. It was the first malted milk drink mixing powder with hot
water. Horlick, a close friend of Admiral Byrd, contributed a
great deal to Byrd's Antartic Expedition. As an appreciative thank
you, Byrd named a mountain range after Horlik, located just southwest of
the South Pole. Horlick also donated $1,000 to Amelia's world
flight at the request of Purdue President Edward C. Elliott.
Amelia took Horlick's malted milk tablets with her on all of her flights
including the Friendship flight. "There were plenty of
other things to eat, but that was all I wanted. Each one of those
little malted milk tablets had a world of nourishment in it." In
1936, Amelia is seen advertising Horlick's product. She poses with
her Electra and a large can of malted milk tablets clearly visible
perched on the plane.
Excerpted from "Endorsed By Earhart" by Barbara H. Schultz. Copyright © 2014 by Barbara H. Schultz. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Barbara H. Schultz
A member of the 99s Museum of Women Pilots, Barbara Schultz is a noted aviation historian and author with four books in print: Pancho: The Biography of Florence Lowe Barnes; Wedell-Williams Air Service; Flying Carpets, Flying Wings: The Biography of Moye W. Stephens; and Endorsed by Earhart: How Amelia Financed her Flying. In addition to her books and AAHS journal articles, she has been a consultant and participant in three aviation documentaries: The Happy Bottom Riding Club, Breaking through the Clouds, and The Katherine Cheung Story. Her projects are well-researched and include many first-person interviews with pioneering pilots. Barbara earned her pilot’s license in 1978, purchased a 1950 Cessna 140A, and married her test pilot husband Phil. They live on their own airport in California’s Antelope Valley and own several classic aircraft.
View full Profile of Barbara H. Schultz