Businesses See the Potential


Logo of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Accessed via Wikipedia Commons. Uploaded April 9, 2008.

To acquire clients and create demand for cellophane, the DuPont Company decided to try two revolutionary marketing strategies: an emphasis on modern packaging as the most important advertising tool and support offered to clients throughout all phases of production and marketing. Soon after it opened the first cellophane plant in Buffalo, DuPont established four branches within their new “Promotions” department solely focused on the production and sale of cellophane: technical research, market research, advertising, and direct mail.[1] The technical research department found solutions for problems connected with the application of cellophane.  The marketing research division sought to identify major markets in which cellophane could succeed. The advertising division then used information collected from these research branches to improve advertising campaigns, while the direct mail branch solicited potential clients who could offer high-volume sales.[2] Through these divisions, DuPont identified manufacturer and consumer needs. DuPont then contacted countless businesses for the chance to showcase what cellophane could do for them using traveling salesmen and wrapping demonstrations.


Advertisement about the refined quality of cellophane-wrapped products, 1929 (Series I, Box 43, Folder 9, ‘Advertising tearsheets – 1929’, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company Advertising Department records (Accession 1803), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807).

The primary focus of their business-oriented marketing strategy was to reveal how a consumer good could sell itself through packaging. Cellophane was sold as a blank canvas where colors, images, and slogans could be used to attract shoppers. This was especially important after the rise of supermarkets in the 1950s where goods lined up on shelves fought for consumers’ attention.[3] DuPont also marketed cellophane as a way to add a touch of “refinement” and an eye-catching sparkle to any packaged item, as well as reduce shipping and storage costs. An ad from the Packaging Machinery Company in Nation’s Business magazine highlighted cellophane’s subtle-yet-powerful qualities: “The use of a [plain] cellophane wrapper, for example, does not change the familiar appearance of your package one bit – but think of how much it adds to the tone!”[4] Through new, seductive cellophane packaging, DuPont argued, businesses could generate greater sales and reduce costs without having to change the actual product itself.[6]



IV. We’re in…Now What?⇒

[1] Box 5, Margaret Dennis report #114, Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation research reports (Accession 1645), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807.

[2] Ibid, page 14.

[3] Cellophane wrappers, Boxes 1-3, Leonard W. Walton collection on printing and packaging (Accession 2430), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807.

[4] Nation’s Business, October 1928, pg. 55

[5] “Why, It’s Wrapped Like an Anniversary Gift : DuPont Cellophane,” DuPont Advertising Department Records,; “It Was the Wrapper that Caught My Eye : DuPont Cellophane,” DuPont Ad Department Records, 1929,

[6] Outlook, June 1948, pg. 3:; “Space saving by cellophane,” 1940, DuPont Product Info Photographs: