John H. Dowd

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John H. Dowd (1922–2004) was a Hershey Chocolate Company brand manager, best known for negotiating the agreement that placed Reese's Pieces to tie in with Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Military career[edit]

During World War II, Jack served in a unit charged with conducting 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[edit]

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

Hershey career[edit]

In 1966, Jack joined Hershey Chocolate Company as Brands Manager and advanced his way to Vice President of New Business Development. He introduced the concepts of Brands Management and Marketing Plans and later participated in the initiation of the first consumer advertising program in the company's history, all while directing the development and introduction of dozens of new products.[citation needed] In 1982, Jack negotiated a contract for Reese's Pieces to tie in with Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,[2] the first promotion in the company's history for which he was featured 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[edit]

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.