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John H. Dowd

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John H. Dowd Jr., "Jack", (1922–2004) was a Hershey Chocolate Company brand manager who negotiated the marketing agreement that placed Reese's Pieces in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He later worked as an advertising executive,

Military career

During World War II, Dowd served in a unit that conducted patrols behind enemy lines. He was awarded a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He was later transferred to Military Intelligence and discharged as a First Lieutenant.[1]


After graduating from the University of Connecticut he was accepted at the Harvard School of Business at which he received his MBA in 1948.[1]

Early career

After graduation, he spent a few years at Standard Brands before moving on to an 18-year career with advertising agencies in Boston and New York. Dowd directed the advertising for various products from margarine and meat spreads to chemicals and concrete.[citation needed]

Hershey career

In 1966, Dowd joined Hershey Chocolate Company as Brands Manager and advanced to Vice President of New Business Development. He introduced brand management and marketing[dubious ] and later participated in the company's first consumer advertising program, while directing the development and introduction of dozens of new products.[citation needed] In 1982, Jack negotiated a contract for Reese's Pieces to appear in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,[2] the first promotion in the company's history, as reported in People Magazine[3] and named "Consumer Products Man of the Year" by Sales and Marketing magazine. His story was included in the book Emperors of Chocolate and in the February 1999 issue of Readers Digest.[1] In 1999 he was inducted into the University of Connecticut School of Business Hall of Fame.[4]

Board and civic service

Dowd served as Chairman of the Board of the Association of National Advertisers as well as on the Board of the Advertising Council. His civic activities included service on the Board of the Harrisburg area Red Cross and then as Interim Executive Director.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c "John H. "Jack" Dowd Jr. Obituary". 2004-04-17. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  2. ^ "HERSHEY COMMUNITY ARCHIVES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM" (PDF). 1991-12-04. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  3. ^ "Life Is Sweet for Jack Dowd as Spielberg's Hit Film Has E.T. Lovers Picking Up the (Reese's) Pieces". 1982-07-26. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  4. ^ "Members of the Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
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John H. Dowd
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