Electricity may be something we take for granted today, but not so long ago, a home filled with electric appliances was the exception to the rule.
Just 60 years ago, a basic electric appliance was still new enough to be considered a modern marvel of technology and a sign of prosperity and progress. To that end, OPPD went out into the community to market the new electric products available and demonstrate how much easier life could be with them.
The “go all-electric” campaign promoted electric living as a “clean, smart, safe, efficient, economical, dependable and modern lifestyle,” and was designed to appeal to customers’ desire to be part of the “in crowd.” One ad from the 1950s campaigns read: “Go Modern – Go Electric.”
OPPD spread the word through print ads, bus signs and billboards that featured bouncy, breezy and charmingly corny pitches. Many of the old ads targeted women of the households, emphasizing how much easier their lives would be with electric conveniences. Products that made the biggest stir with customers were the microwave oven and garage door opener.
Early promotional efforts also included a weekly dramatic radio show, “Favorite Story,” on KOIL as well as tours of model electric homes, appliance demonstrations, and cooking classes at OPPD’s all-electric kitchens.
The utility brought sophisticated lighting schemes and other more advanced electrical applications to trade and industry exhibitions. The OPPD House of Light drew 24,000 visitors during the 1949 Midwest Home Show.
But it wasn’t just electrification OPPD was touting, it was also the appliances that used it. OPPD worked with appliance distributors, dealers and contractors to help sell appliances, with the utility even displaying the latest lines in its Electric Shop showroom.