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Barry Silverstein
Boomer Brands

Those Saturday morning TV shows entertained Boomer kids, but they were also vehicles for brand advertising. Chances are that’s how Boomers first got to know cereal, soft drink, and snack food brands. The “Boomer Brands” they knew and loved then, they remember to this day. This unique book is a stroll down memory lane, reminiscing about the beloved brands Boomers first met in the 50s and 60s. Brand maven Barry Silverstein shares “Boomer Brand Cameos” of over fifty of the brands Boomers grew up with: Disney, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Good Humor, Howard Johnson, Hush Puppies, MAD, Ovaltine, Twinkies, WIFFLE Ball and many more. Most of these brands began during the Boomer era and are still around. Plus, Boomers will gain rare insight into how these iconic brands shaped their childhood and have a lasting impact on their life. Boomer Brands is meant to be read by Boomers, shared with Boomers, and savored for the memories!

The Buzz About Boomer Brands

When was the last time you had your memory tickled over a long-forgotten but prized product that shaped your childhood? You’ll find a lot of those “Oh, yeah, I remember” moments in Barry Silverstein’s wonderful wander down Memory Lane. “Try it, you’ll like it.”
- Ron Schon, Retired Advertising Agency Executive and OLLI Instructor, “The History of Advertising”

 Boomer Brands is a delightful book filled with fun facts about our favorite childhood brands and memories. If you're over 50, you're sure to enjoy this nostalgic, entertaining and informative stroll down Memory Lane. 
- Nancy Collamer, Career/Retirement Coach and Author, Second-Act Careers

If you remember watching Saturday morning TV while slurping down a bowl of Frosted Flakes, or perhaps begged your parents to visit Disneyland after watching Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night, you’ll want to read Boomer Brands. This enjoyable, easy read is chock full of fun facts about what made the brands we grew up with iconic.
- Anne Holmes, “Boomer in Chief,” National Association of Baby Boomer Women

Barry Silverstein offers a fun walk down Memory Lane for boomers, describing what made some of their favorite childhood brands so treasured then and now.
- Richard Eisenberg, Managing Editor,


Silverstein (Let’s Make Money, Honey), a business writer and former marketing and brand management consultant, explores the way in which brands “tunneled their way” into the consciousness of the Baby Boomer generation. In 14 breezy but highly informative chapters, Silverstein covers various product categories that were popular during the Boomer childhood years, from breakfast cereals of the 1950s to early “green” products arising from the environmental movement in the ’60s. Silverstein’s observations are rooted in his argument that “the advertising industry pushed brand management to new heights” by making a “real emotional connection” between consumers and products. He explains how Frosted Flakes, for example, used cartoon characters to develop children’s affection for the product (which was “generally accepted to be the forerunner of the sugary cereal brands”). He also explores how the powdered breakfast drink Tang used the popularity of NASA to pitch itself as “a space-age drink” after astronauts drank it in space. Perhaps the most interesting section is a year-by-year list of the various consumer developments from 1946 to 1964, the peak of the baby boom: 1949, for example, saw the introduction of Clearasil, Dunkin’ Donuts, and the television remote control. Silverstein’s slim book is a delightful journey through a time that saw “the birth of the modern brand.” (BookLife)
Foreword Reviews

Boomer Brands is a sunny, nostalgic showcase of some of the beloved toys, foods, television shows, and consumer goods that formed such a huge part of that generation’s youthful memories.

A former brand marketer, Barry Silverstein decodes how advertisers shrewdly analyzed the postwar “demographic earthquake of kids” and saturated the influential new medium of television to promote their products. The book provides a memory-filled history of how items were developed and strategically marketed, including the reasons why boomers have such a strong emotional attachment to their favorite brands.

Punchy historical overviews introduce each subject chapter, followed by lists of representative brands, lists of reference sources, and a sprinkling of illustrated one-page biographies of specific brands. Silverstein’s jocular, conversational prose is further enlivened with his own fond remembrances of favorite candies, dining at Howard Johnson’s restaurants, and playing wiffle ball. He engagingly punctuates each chapter with a question back to readers about their own brand preferences. It’s a repetitive but effective style for a book specifically designed for a baby boomer audience.

The book is intriguing as it explores how other aspects of boomer culture can be construed as brands. A chapter about rock-and-roll labels, artists, and subgenres examines how closely they were imprinted on boomers’ youthful identities, alongside convincing arguments that the diverse political movements and environmentalism of the 1960s and ’70s can be considered philosophical brands embedded in the idealistic consciousness of the huge boomer demographic.

A boomer himself, Silverstein has reverent affection for some of his favorite childhood brands (he is still in love with all things Disney), though he also is cognizant that many of his beloved junk food treats were merely “salt-infested snacks” and “nutritionally bankrupt wonders.” Other criticisms are laced through with a light hand, and the book is described (one might say branded) as a fun and nostalgic “stroll down memory lane” by a self-proclaimed brand maven.

However, Boomer Brands can also be read as a short history of hard-sell marketing to youngsters. Silverstein only touches on the darker side of brand marketing on impressionable young minds, but certainly we are well aware today that advertisers could initially flood children’s programming with an enticing commercial barrage for fizzy drinks, sugary snacks, toys, personal care products, and other consumer goods. While some of these brands might have been welcomed by indulgent or harried parents, it’s hard not to look back with hindsight at how the seeds of hyperconsumerism, obesity, later-in-life diabetes, cancer, and other physical and mental health dangers were planted through unregulated advertising directed at vulnerable boomer children.

Boomer Brands is an informative and lighthearted peek back at the way Madison Avenue created a huge and enduring market for many iconic consumer products and social trends.

Reviewed by Rachel Jagareski 
December 6, 2018

Midwest Book Review

Small Press Bookwatch/Reviewer's Choice, Jan. 2019

Synopsis: Those Saturday morning TV shows that entertained the childhood of the Boomer generation were not just for their entertainment, they were also vehicles for brand advertising. Those television commercials and 'product placements' were how Boomers first got to know cereal, soft drink, and snack food brands. The "Boomer Brands" they knew and loved then, members of the Baby Boomer generation still remember to this very day.

"Boomer Brands: Iconic Brands That Shaped Our Childhood" by freelance writer and retired direct marketing/brand marketing professional, Barry Silverstein is unique book that essential takes a stroll down memory lane, reminiscing about the beloved brands Boomers first met in the 50s and 60s.

Brand maven Barry Silverstein shares "Boomer Brand Cameos" of over fifty of the brands Boomers grew up with including: Disney, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Good Humor, Howard Johnson, Hush Puppies, MAD, Ovaltine, Twinkies, WIFFLE Ball and many more. Most of these brands began during the Boomer era and are still around.

Additionally, "Boomer Brands" provides rare insights into how these iconic brands shaped Boomer childhood and had a lasting impact on their lives.

"Boomer Brands" is meant be read by Boomers, shared with Boomers, and savored for the memories!

Critique: A unique, entertaining, nostalgic, and impressively informative read from first page to last, "Boomer Brands: Iconic Brands That Shaped Our Childhood" is an extraordinary and very highly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Boomer Brands" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.95).

Readers' Favorite

5 Stars - Reviewed by Keith Julius for Readers' Favorite:

For a delightful look at the products and mores that shaped the lives of the boomer generation, you can't do much better than Boomer Brands by Barry Silverstein. For those of us who grew up in the fifties and sixties, these were the things that "tunneled their way into your consciousness when you were a kid." There are over a dozen chapters, each dealing with a different facet of the boomer experience. View Tube explores the wonders of television. Bowled Over examines our love of breakfast cereals. Reelin' and Rockin' deals, not surprisingly, with the music that shaped a generation. Each chapter presents a brief background of the subject, followed by spotlights shone on "Cameo" brands the author chose to describe in further detail.

Boomer Brands is a quick read, and Barry Silverstein provides some marvelous anecdotes concerning his subject matter. Each chapter contains online references to those inspired or interested enough to search out further information. Because, let's face it, the book can't cover everything. Entire volumes have been written concerning Barbie dolls, which receive only a brief mention here. And considering the current interest in superhero movies – a sure sign that my brothers and I weren't the only comic book fanatics out there in the 60's – I was surprised this medium received barely a mention, and then was grouped with toys and games. And no mention of the Jonny Quest cartoons seems a slight that cries out to be corrected. But these are minor issues, and anyone searching for fault can find them. So don't look. Just savor what you find here. If you're looking for some pleasant nostalgia, a fond look at a simpler time, and a good book to curl up with for a few hours, then you've found just that in Boomer Brands. I highly recommend it.