Magazine article USA TODAY

Searching for a "Pair to Remember": A Well-Known Shoe Company Has Set out to Find Fresh Faces of Kids-And, Apparently, Canines-To Be Part of Its Latest Ad Campaign. Sound Familiar?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Searching for a "Pair to Remember": A Well-Known Shoe Company Has Set out to Find Fresh Faces of Kids-And, Apparently, Canines-To Be Part of Its Latest Ad Campaign. Sound Familiar?

Article excerpt

AFTER 100 YEARS of being represented by a cartoon boy and his dog, the Buster Brown shoe brand set out looking for a new face or, more accurately, five new faces. (Actually, 10 if you count the dogs, and why wouldn't you?) The "Pair to Remember" contest, whose winners soon will appear on the company's shoe boxes, drew more than 1,000 entries. Buster Brown has long been a marketing pioneer, and its latest campaign is no exception, as the images printed here clearly show.

Buster Brown shoes debuted at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. In the decades that followed, the company used character appearances, radio and television sponsorships, gifts with purchases, and myriad other ideas to build loyalty among generations of consumers:

1904: The 25-year-old Brown Shoe Company buys the licensing right to Buster Brown (and his dog Tige) for $200.

1910: The company publishes Buster Brown's Jokes and Jingles, a booklet children receive with the purchase of shoes.

1911: Buster Brown stars in the company's first national ads published in The Saturday Evening Post.

1913: With the introduction of movie theaters throughout the country, Brown Shoe adds short films to the opening receptions.

1917: Buster Brown is given a new, more lifelike look. Thus is created the classic logo of a winking Buster and a grinning Tige.

1925: Universal Studios releases the "Buster Brown Comedies," a series of silent movies.

1926: The Buster Brown Radio Club hits the airwaves, broadcasting a one-hour program twice a week. …

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