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THE CITY THAT SOLD AMERICA: New Documentary Reveals Chicago's True Ad Powerhouse Status, 2 months ago

Enlightening film is a production of A&C Films and The One Club

THE CITY THAT SOLD AMERICA: New Documentary Reveals Chicago's True Ad Powerhouse Status

A new documentary premiering in the Chicago International Film Festival on October 11, 2018 reveals for the first time how Chicago introduced ground-breaking behavior changing ideas like fast food chains, orange juice, soap operas, toothpaste and Kleenex. Chicago advertising created important brands like McDonalds, Kellogg’s and Wrigley’s and originated beloved icons like Tony the Tiger, the Jolly Green Giant, Charlie Tuna and the Budweiser Clydesdales.

THE CITY THAT SOLD AMERICA traces the nationalisation of American commerce, through the early mail order houses of Montgomery Ward and Sears and Roebuck through packaged goods—meat from the stockyards and breakfast cereals from the Midwest including Quaker Oats and Kelloggs. Chicago’s centralised location, the extensive railroad system and Midwestern approach helped expand the reach of advertisers and created a dynamic commercial hub.

The film is a production of A&C Films and The One Club, producers of award-winning ART & COPY. Executive Producer Mary Warlick, two-time, Emmy award winner and Executive Producer on ART & COPY, set out to explore earlier sources of advertising. Warlick states, “Chicago had a rich tradition in advertising, creating brands and icons, presented with a folksy straight-talking style. Chicago pioneered creative advertising in the 20th century long before the Mad Men era.”

Directed by Chicago native Ky Dickens, THE CITY THAT SOLD AMERICA reveals through in depth interviews, the untold story of key individuals who changed American consumerism. Dickens states," Many trends that define modern-day entertainment and consumer culture were trail-blazed in Chicago. The city is an incredible melting pot of innovators, artists, tastemakers, and thinkers. Directing this film was a perfect merger for me.” 

THE CITY THAT SOLD AMERICA will also be screened at the Kansas International Film Festival and the St. Louis International Film Festival in November, 2018. Major sponsors include FCB, Kellogg’s, State Farm Insurance, DDB Worldwide, Leo Burnett Company, Mars and SC Johnson Company. 

The 54th Chicago International Film Festival runs Oct. 10-21, 2018 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., and features more than 150 films.

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Creative Agency

Associate Producer: Alexis Jaworski, Katie Bryon

Production Company

Executive Producer: Mary Warlick

Director: Ky Dickens

Producer: Amy McIntyre

Production Service

DOP: Tom Clayton


Editor: Michael Barry

Post Production / VFX

Motion Graphics: C.J. Arellano


Original Score: Storefront Music