Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. History




College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Hague, Stephen G.

Committee Member 1

Dack, William Mikkel

Committee Member 2

Bryant, Kelly Duke


Great Britain--History--20th century; Racism; Marketing


European History | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies


Contemporary instances of racially charged product imagery are deeply intertwined with history. Products like "Aunt Jemima", "Uncle Ben's Rice", or the indigenous peoples portrayed on "Land O' Lakes" butter affects perception of race, class, and gender. The continued existence of these controversially branded products helps to construct attitudes about these subjects and demonstrates a societal acceptance of these as norms. The British Empire Marketing Board (EMB) represents an important historical example of the production of such racialized values. Between 1926 and 1933, the EMB created and disseminated marketing materials to promote intra-Empire trade. While the EMB was generally considered to have been a marketing failure, it was impactful in its presentation of an idealized vision of the British Empire and its colonial constituents. Namely, the EMB combined a complex medley of social ideas to present an elite white British male and his "nuclear family" as the Empire's ideal subjects. To contextualize and provide conversation about these issues, this thesis examines the EMB's "Buy Empire" posters. The EMB's posters demonstrate that while their images portray efforts to encourage economic and cultural ties within the British Empire, the posters also cultivated attitudes towards class, gender, and particularly race. The appearance of these themes in government-produced propaganda highlights the attempt by the EMB to cement racially charged ideas into the fabric of British society and culture.