Motherly Mediums: Advertising Nitey Nite Sleepers
The Perry Knitting Company decided to create something to bring families together during the post-war season. The Nitey-Nite clothing line was designed for children as sleepwear. This product was a booming success for the company over the years. The way they captured families and mothers throughout the Perry community and surrounding area was because of their genius marketing tactics. The company decided to use mothers and families as a tool to coax their buyers. During and after the war time, families were broken apart and fatherless. The Perry Knitting Company used this to their advantage to bring the community of mothers together to get them involved in something. In 1954, they began to introduce mothers into the production of the Niteys. They took on a committee of mothers to help direct the company as to how the Niteys were designed and styled. Their criticism and opinions helped grow the Nitey-Nite clothing line with introductions to how mothers really want their children’s sleepwear to look and feel.
Not only did the Perry Knitting Company use mothers to help their clothing line production, but they also used them to grab attention in newspapers and advertisements. Mentioned in the Perry Knitting Company News, the PK made a shout out to mothers using this photo to the right. The newspaper states, “What mother could refuse to buy her children Nitey Nites after looking at these mannequins?” This tactic is used to call out to mothers and almost guilt them into buying their product. Not to mention that the caption also goes on to explain desirable characteristics of the Niteys. The newspaper states that the mannequins are “wearing that beautiful and entirely new Nitey Nite, made from the new air-conditioned printed fabric, that has a dainty and cool looking appearance.” The PK chooses to describe their product only using desirable terms to make the product look and sound more appealing, which makes it sound like the best of the best. The Perry Knitting Company, assuming that a mother should only want the best for their child, uses emotion, responsibility, and word play as a method of persuading its mother figure audiences. The Perry Knitting Company uses this to their advantage, as the mother’s responsibility in the household and family importance rises due to the ending of the war.
The PK even went as far as taking their clothing line to an artistic level. The company came out with Nitey-Nite lullabies to accompany their Nitey-Nite sleepwear, Nitey-Nite dolls, and one of their employees wrote a poem about the Niteys. To start, the PK went even farther with their production and turned their sleepwear into music. The children of Perry and all over the nation could now fall asleep in their cozy Niteys while also enjoying a lullaby. Some song titles featured in the 1952 record were "All Through the Night", "Sleep, Baby, Sleep", "Cradle Song", and "Brahms' Lullaby". I am sure mothers were very inclined to purchase a lullaby record to go along with their child's Nitey-Nites. There also was a poem written about the Nitey-Nite sleepwear line by one of the PK female workers themselves. Patricia Cox wrote a lovely poem that simultaneously encourages mothers to purchase Niteys while also guaranteeing their satisfaction. This poem was featured in the Perry Knitting Company News in April 1955. The Perry Knitting Company also introduced Nitey-Nite Dolls to their production line in 1949. The motherly responsibility could now also be practiced by the child with their doll, just as their mothers choose to care for their children with Nitey-Nite products. The dolls were made in an effort to replace their advertising efforts with the mannequins they used to display their clothing. The dolls could be purchased with matching Nitey-Nite sleepwear sets for the child and the doll. Each of these allowed the company to display the Niteys in different forms and turn their sleepwear into a versatile product.
The Perry Knitting Company holds a strong value on their advertising. In addition to their heavy target on mothers, the PK also favored using special marketing tactics to gain customers. Whether it was through a strongly written news article dedicated to Nitey Nite's patterns and fabric colors, or a catchy slogan about a “cloth with a million windows,” the PK found a way to keep its products in the public eye. One of its most interesting and unique ways the Perry Knitting Company advertised their clothing line was through photo contests, open houses, advertisements with famous companies, and a story about the Nitey’s being worn world-wide. Most of their advertisements encompassed a way of making the Perry Knitting Company community feel a sense of togetherness during the recovering years after the war.
The Perry Knitting Company starting using new marketing tactics to grab at customers in 1948. One in particular was meant to draw attention to their product, get them publicity, and to get people talking. The Perry Knitting Company held a photo contest featuring the town of Perry's children and them modeling their sleepwear products. The goal was to capture the company's slogan for their sleepwear apparel; "Time for Nitey Nite". The PKC knew that town gossip spreads fast and that people all around the area would be talking about their photo contest. Their prizes were not hard to resist either. The first place prize winner was awarded $1000, second place $500, third place $300, and fourth place was tied with two $200 winners. Their goal for this contest was to boost promotional efforts of their product and boost their sales. Note that also the advertisement refers to the "proud parents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors," as a way to encourage this to be a community effort and something to be proud of. During the postwar time period, this photo contest served as a feeling of togetherness and hope for the members of the Perry community.
Another warm-welcoming sense of community and togetherness is hosting an open house. The Perry Knitting Company opened its doors to the public in May of 1953. The goal was to have members of the community welcomed into their mill and see how their beloved products are made. The open house gives the community a chance to walk through their doors and admire their unique displays modeling their products and view all of the mill’s machinery. The PK used this to gain attention from the community members and also possibly gain some new customers, all while bringing the community together. Their other objective was to interest people in working at the Perry Knitting Company, which potentially helped families in need of work - especially during the years after the war since some families were now.
Another interesting take on advertising the Perry Knitting Company used to gain praise and customers was how the Niteys were being worn world-wide. One news article in particular was meant to grab everyone’s attention with the fact that their Niteys are being worn all around the world. It goes to show that their business is not just local anymore and that families all around the world are enjoying their sleepwear. The article was also accompanied with a photo captioning "German children love 'em", however, the photo is too blurry to make anything out of it. The article can help change people’s opinions about the Niteys and show them just how good their business is. Not to mention that this was a huge deal for a small town knitting company in Perry, NY. Another news article includes a heart-warming take on advertising. The article tells of a foreign girl from Germany watching members of the girls’ bowling team with their PKC balloons and Nitey Nite dolls. The girls from the team noticed the little girl’s admiration and gave the girl one of their Nitey Nite dolls. The girl doesn’t speak English, but they knew she was thinking in her head, “Thanks for the Nitey Nite Doll”. This humble article was meant to make the dolls seem desirable to every child, regardless of where they are from or what language they speak. Here, we also get the sense of "togetherness" and hope for the young people during the postwar period.
The Perry Knitting Company caught themselves gaining some traction with big businesses in the late 1950s. They used this newspaper to advertise and highlight their successes, showing the community how big they have become. Most of this article boasts about the fact that their precious patters and fabrics are displayed through these famous companies in colored photos, which was a big deal back then. Kodak, for one, took photos of the Niteys in color and displayed them in New York City’s Grand Central Station and at the Rochester City Airport. This was a huge deal for a small town company. In addition, they were also featured in B Altman’s Christmas catalogue that featured their famous red colored Nitey. Macy’s also gave the Nitey Nite clothing line a full-page advertisement in color in the New York Times. The company then continues to brag in their article saying that they are glad everyone is running out and buying their children Nitey Nites, knowing that they are the best product. Click on the photo to read the full article.