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Marketing Industry: A Resource Guide

Brands and Advertisements

Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. Vintage Coca-Cola sign in Cedarville, California. 2013. The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

A brand is the public representation of a company, or a company's product or service. Brands are often marketed to consumers in the form of advertising campaigns, but can also include perceptions that are beyond the company's control. News stories, workplace culture, CEOs, and customer reviews can all impact a brand's image. Public relations, a related field that sometimes falls under the umbrella of marketing services, work along with advertising and marketing efforts to increase a brand's value. Not all brands are trademarked, which is the legal protection for a company's identifiers, such as logos, colors, or design that are used in conjunction with a company's products or services.

The sources on this page provide resources for researching brands, including collections at the Library of Congress and brand directories. To find out who the marketing agency is for a particular brand, see the agencies page in this guide. For additional trade and brand name resources, see the Trade & Brand Names page in our Doing Company Research guide.

Directories and Lists of Brands

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

The following external websites are additional resources for finding lists of brands and brand information. 


If a brand is trademarked, searching trademark databases can provide some history, including dates and the person or company who registered the trademark. 

Advertisement Collections

While marketing and branding efforts are comprised of more than advertisements alone, visual promotions provide evidence of the marketing strategy. The following websites are archives of advertisements. 

Collections at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has a variety of materials that document marketing efforts in the form of commercials, advertisements, pamphlets and other ephemera. Below are some of the collections that may be of interest to those researching marketing. Additional sources can be found by searching the Library of Congress website. For more special collections on business topics at the Library of Congress, see our guide, Business and Labor History: Primary Sources at the Library of Congress.