In his latest book, "Boomer Brands: Iconic Brands that Shaped our Childhood," Biltmore Lake author Barry Silverstein takes his readers on a nostalgic journey through time, sharing the stories of the brands Baby Boomers have come to know and love.
Silverstein, author of other notable non-fiction works like Branding 123 and Let’s Make Money, Honey, steps away from his usual business-oriented approach to engage his readers in a series of insider stories that are as entertaining as they are informative.
“Like most Boomers, I have fond memories of Saturday morning television while growing up,” Silverstein recalled. “The shows were special, but so were the brands advertised.”
As television sets rapidly began making their way into households across America in the late 1940s and early 1950s, marketing professionals were setting their sights on an entirely new demographic, shifting their focus toward children.
According to Silverstein, the shows were essentially advertising vehicles for the brands’ latest products, part of an ingenious marketing strategy based on the understanding that kids did in fact have a powerful and uncanny ability to influence their parents.
To this day, television is cited as the most important advertising medium ever created.
While the book begins by discussing the emergence of television and the importance of its rise to mainstream prominence, subsequent chapters are divided into brand categories, where Silverstein covers over 50 products ranging from cereals and toys to Howard Johnson and rock ‘n’ roll.
“I want [readers] to look back at the brands that they remember but learn something new about them, and also understand how those brands that shaped their childhood continue to influence their adult lives,” Silverstein said. “You know, a lot of the purchase decisions and a lot of the brands we look at today — those decisions are made on the basis of brands that we loved as kids.”
A lifelong veteran of the advertising business, Silverstein is no stranger to consumer behavior. His experiences have allowed him to bring a fresh perspective to the table, offering an insider view from someone on the front lines of the industry. However, because the brands he discusses had already been well-established by the time he launched his career, Silverstein found himself spending countless hours gathering fragments of information in an attempt to piece together each story and effectively capture a behind-the-scenes look at the brands Boomers have cherished for over half a century.
After more than a year’s worth of writing and research, the book was officially released last Friday. Copies are currently available for purchase at Malaprop’s located at 55 Haywood St. in Asheville.
“A couple of folks who made comments about it said they thought it was a great walk down memory lane. That’s exactly what I want it to be,” Silverstein said. “I just want boomers to really enjoy it - sit back, relax and have some fun reminiscing about the brands that they knew and loved, and talk to each other about it. I think that would be a fun thing to do.”
So far Boomer Brands has been met with positive reception, receiving favorable reviews from critics. Assuming his readership base continues to flourish, fans of Silverstein’s work can rest easy knowing the possibility of another book is already on the horizon.
“I actually had some other ideas about a possibility to follow up on this book but I haven’t really fleshed them out yet,” Silverstein said. “So you never know; there might be another Boomer Brands book in the future.”