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That was one of the best ideas that anybody ever had.
Why don't you describe it?
One of the problems with returning officers was that they
may have left at age twenty--these people had left maybe having just
graduating from school, but with very little experience, and they
came back majors, lieutenant colonels, having carried large
responsibilities in the military, but having no experience in
civilian business life.
Larson dreamt up this idea of hiring one hundred of, hopefully,
the best to make them merchandising representatives. Namely, they
represented Life in the big distribution chains of the United States,
really selling the idea of Life advertised products to the big
retailers in food, housing, appliances, so on and so on. Pretty
soon, the stores all started sprouting signs saying “Advertised in
Life.” This, of course, had an enormous impact on the advertisers
and the advertisers all felt that if the stores liked the “Advertised
in Life” signs, that was indicative of the strength of Life. So it
It also was a perfect way of introducing these people who'd had
no knowledge of business into the whole business system and they all
got promoted and became salesmen and managers and, indeed, twenty
years later, the company was being run by an awful lot of people
who'd gone into that program.
Let's talk about the change of the guard that took place in 1946
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