Keds Display Ideas. 1940

It seems like someone is always trying to sell us something. With the internet and companies tracking our every click, we are subjected to targeted ads everytime we open a digital device. Websites we visit are covered with display ads.  There’s nothing subtle about it.

Stores have always known that to sell a product, the consumer has to notice it. Store windows have been designed to draw people into stores, and once in the store, displays are set up to attract attention. It’s true today, and it was true in 1940,when the footwear manager of sales at Keds sent out a portfolio of suggested ways to promote Keds in windows and in the stores that sold them.

As you will see, there was a central theme that stores were being encouraged to emphasize. Can you spot what the theme is?

All the displays were built around several counter display cards like the two seen above. I’ll guess that the cards were a part of the display package that included my display booklet. The above display was titled Gardening and Leisure.

Vacation and Camp features a counter card with hikers. I wonder where they got that little tent.

Keds are also great for leisure hours, but who in their right mind thought doing laundry in a wringer washer was part of leisure? It’s obvious that Mr. Adman never did a load of washing in one of those monsters.

The booklet also had suggestions for the Kedettes line of shoes. Kedettes was still made of canvas, but were a step dressier than sneakers. Here’s the consumer is reminded that Kedettes go well with one’s playtogs, like that playsuit.

There was even a display suggestion for the piece goods department.  I really wish these photo were in color. I’ve seen these shoes in vintage magazine ads and they are so bright and colorful.

There were also suggestions on how to pair Kedettes with hosiery. Somehow I can’t quite picture these comfortable shoes paired up with a girdle and stockings, but then I’m looking at this through modern eyes and a more casual mode of dress.

So, if you were so busy admiring the photos that you forgot to think about the common theme, it is washable, here spelled out in washing powder. So that explains the washing machine in the leisure display, and the tub of cotton suds and tiny washboard.  I can’t imagine putting these shoes in a washing machine, as was implied, as a gentle hand wash is all I’d dare expose my Kedettes to!

Added 1941 ad:


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Shoes

19 responses to “Keds Display Ideas. 1940

  1. Great post, Lizzie, thank you! Hadn’t heard of Kedettes and there are several styles I’d love to wear right now.


  2. OMG those are so cute!


  3. This is approximately the job I wish I had. Not selling the shoes, I want all the shoes. And the tiny wringer washer.
    I would have loved to make the models.
    And yes, I really wish I could have time traveled to come to the present to buy the scale model tent display to take back to my 1960s Barbies. They would have loved it.


  4. jacq staubs

    Creative Merchandising / Visual Merchandising 101! Perfect example Always loved KEDS/wore them for years / favorite beach -Summer shoe. store. Remember going out in search for them in 81/2 -found them in a discount store. An American staple and tradition. LOVE the display art.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jacq

    Love the display art. Love the KEDS

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful that the Keds brand has survived all these years.❤️
    My fav Keds are no longer made, and how I wish Keds Co. would enable us to vote online for a reissue of an old favourite!
    Enjoying your informative posts enormously!


  7. Patricia

    I think it is unanimous. This post needs to go to Keds, Inc. We want those shoes!


  8. Love this post! I’m obsessed with vintage ads, and these displays were awesome!


  9. I do remember my mother washing my regular Keds and loving the transformation from scuffed to pristine (that of course didn’t last long). And where did you find this advertising treasure?


  10. Oh my gosh. The Kedettes are adorable. Sort of like the suburban American version of espadrilles. Thanks for another great post.


  11. I have wanted Kedettes for years! Love this!


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