What are Advertising Dolls?:
Advertising dolls are dolls that are tied to a product--a soup, a cereal, a cookie or a gas company. The traditional purpose of the dolls was to advertise the product; sometimes, the doll was sold inexpensively for a small "premium" along with mailed-in proofs of purchase or box tops. This is not to be confused with licensed-product dolls which are licensed character from a movie or TV show (although the dolls very often are characters associated with advertising campaigns--think Campbell Soup Dolls or the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
Dates of Production of Advertising Dolls:
Advertising dolls are a unique product of the 20th Century. They started to become commonplace around the turn of the century and they picked up steam with the introduction of inexpensive plastic dolls. They are still made today although traditional advertising dolls used as a premium for buying a product are less common.
Materials That Advertising Dolls are made of:
Most of the first advertising dolls were simple printed cloth dolls and cloth continued to be a popular product for advertising dolls well into the second-half of the 20th Century. However, when inexpensive plastic dolls became available, they became the advertising doll material of choice. From inexpensive plastic dolls sold a gas station premiums to little plastic Mr. Peanut dolls, hundreds of versions of plastic and vinyl advertising dolls have been made. There have also been composition advertising dolls (Campbell Kids, Buddy Lee) and wood ones as well (early Mr. Peanut by Schoenhut).
Sizes and Characteristics of Advertising Dolls:
Many advertising dolls sold as premiums tended to be quite small--so they were easier and cheaper to mail to children who sent for them! Advertising dolls used as parts of store displays can be quite large but are much rarer.
Some Companies That Have Used Advertising Dolls:
The list is endless but some companies and brands not already mentioned above include Sunbeam appliances, Mountain Dew, Quaker Oats, Kellogs, Uneeda, Gerber baby food, Revlon cosmetics, Campbell Soup, Eskimo Pie, Coca Cola, General Mills and many others.
Pricing of Advertising Dolls:
Advertising dolls are generally not very expensive...you can put together a colorful and varied collection of advertising dolls with hundreds examples available for under $50. Some dolls, especially early composition, cloth in mint condiiton, and early wood dolls will cost you far more, as well some of the very popular advertising fashion dolls from the 1950s (Miss Revlon, Toni, Miss Curity). These dolls are valued, in mint condition, sometimes in the hundreds of dollars.