Friday 8 January 2016

Borthwick Publications: George Harris and the Marketing Revolution at Rowntree

BIA Rowntree Guardbook T5
Kit Kat advert, 1937

George Harris and the Marketing Revolution at Rowntree

Ralph A. Kaner

Borthwick Paper 125

BIA Rowntree Guardbook B11
Black Magic advert, 1933
  George Harris was a confectionery manufacturer who is generally credited with the renaissance of the York-based Rowntree business during the 1930s. This paper is an account of Harris’s life which begins by tracing his involvement in World War I through to to his marriage in 1923 to Frieda Rowntree.  Enrollment in his new wife’s family business followed and he rose through the company to the Group Board and then Chairman from 1941 to 1952. The volume continues chronologically through landmark launches of classic chocolate brands such as Black Magic (1933), Aero (1935), Kit Kat (1935), Dairy Box (1937) and Smarties (1938).  The development and marketing of these brands by Harris are placed within the context of shifting economic and national circumstances between the two wars.  

The paper’s author is Dr Ralph Kaner who is a former Director of Rowntree & Co. Ltd.  Kaner notes that whilst no formal building or dedications mark George Harris’s contribution to the City of York his transformation of Rowntree and the prosperous growth that took place during his time with the company was extremely important. His achievements as a pioneer of British marketing were undoubtedly influenced by a formative visit to the United States in 1925-26.  Hallmarks of Harris’s approach included a drive for product innovation, quantitative consumer research and creative advertising. A lasting legacy of all these efforts was the success of the high-quality brands that Harris developed and the fact that they remain well-known global brands to this day.

The volume is published by Borthwick Publications and copies are available through our online store priced at £5.00.

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