The City That Sold America

Directed by: Ky Dickens

USA, 67 minutes

Grayslake Campus
Friday, September 6
6:15 pm
Saturday, September 7
4:00 pm

At the threshold of the 20th Century, a melting pot of adventurous immigrants, creative mavericks, and freedom-seeking African Americans shaped consumerism as we now know it. The new documentary The City That Sold America reveals, with intriguing insights and wistful nostalgia, the confluence of creative talent, business savvy, grit and determination in the heartland that changed the country and our relationship with popular culture.

For the first time, the film explores how Chicago introduced ground-breaking, behavior-changing ideas like fast food chains, orange juice, soap operas, African-American beauty products, late night talk shows, toothpaste, and Kleenex. The City That Sold America uncovers the origins of beloved icons like Tony the Tiger, the Jolly Green Giant, Charlie Tuna, the Budweiser’s Clydesdales, and the Pillsbury Dough Boy – all of whom have made lasting impressions upon generations of Americans. As print and broadcast media evolved, Chicago’s centralized location and Midwestern approach helped expand the reach of advertisers, giving rise to the enduring practices of product placement, spokespeople, market research, and conscious branding.

The tastemakers, influencers, and ad makers featured in the film were forerunners of a new frontier. With access to a wealth of rare archives, The City That Sold America brings audiences behind-the-scenes stories from Chicago’s advertising revolution and the untold tales of the creatives whose ingenuity and industry had the rest of the nation swooning to their rhythm.

Festivals & Awards:

Chicago International Film Festival
DOC NYC