The City That Sold America

The City That Sold America

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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 Chicago’s creative talent, business savvy, grit, and determination that changed the country and our relationship with popular culture. For the first time, the film explores how Chicago introduced groundbreaking, 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.

Filmmaker Biography

Mary Warlick is an award-winning documentarian and President of A&C Film Distribution LLC., an independent film company specializing in documentaries, content for television, and web broadcast.

Ms. Warlick was Executive Producer of Art & Copy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and was awarded an Emmy in 2012. She co-produced The Real Mad Men and Women of Madison Avenue, a television special that premiered on WNET-PBS in June 2013 and was awarded an Emmy for cultural programming. The documentary was also awarded the Clarion Award, presented to women in communications. She also produced When Desire Meets Opportunity, a 17-minute documentary about the diversity initiatives in advertising.

Before launching her film career, Ms. Warlick was Chief Executive Officer of The One Club, and produced the prestigious One Show awards for advertising held every year at Lincoln Center in New York. She curated exhibitions on advertising for the New York Public Library and other venues across the country. Ms. Warlick edited Advertising’s Ten Best of the Decade, 1980-1990. In 2012, she was named one of Advertising Age‘s Most Influential Women in Advertising.


  • Bologna Performing Arts Center/Delta State University, Cleveland, MS. Tuesday 10/22/2019
  • Arts Council of Central Louisiana, Alexandria, LA. Wednesday 10/23/2019
  • North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Ruston, LA. Thursday 10/24/2019
  • City of Hapeville, Hapeville, GA. Saturday 10/26/2019
  • Townsend Center/University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA. Monday 10/28/2019
  • Wallace State Community College, Hanceville, AL. Tuesday 10/29/2019