Shopping News, 1938 to 1941

By Tim Yap Fuan


Shopping News, a magazine targeted at women of means or with access to means, was first published on Friday, January 7, 1938 by Millington Limited, an advertising agency in Singapore started by Frank Millington in Shanghai, China. The branch in Singapore was likely established in 1937 and Millington himself paid a visit in December of that year. Millington Ltd was one of the original founders of the Association of Advertising Agents of Malaya (predecessor of the Association of Advertising & Marketing in Singapore) which was formed in May 1948. The other two founders were Master’s Ltd and Mr C. F. Young.

In the pages of Shopping News were advertisements of all kinds: beauty, grocery, household, electrical, lifestyle, services — you name it.

Beauty, a perennial quest

Shopping News-toys advert

Shopping News-Fridge advert

Shopping News-paint advert

You might even spot a few household brands that are still flourishing today.

Shopping News-Chevrolet advert

Shopping News-Bata advert

The same shoe designs are still being made today!

Shopping News-Cold_storage advert

Bacon is still popular, but it won’t be the only product in a Cold Storage advertisement these days


Much like the women magazines of today, Shopping News published articles on a variety of trending female topics including cooking, beauty, health, love and marriage, mothering, just to name a few. Some issues sported the header: “The Women‘s Newspaper that Men Like to Read” and it’s easy to see why.

Juicy tips of all kinds that appeal to both gender

Shopping News was published once every two weeks and distributed free to over 3,000 women. A total of 104 issues were published, the last on December 22, 1941 some weeks before the Japanese invader captured Singapore in February 1941.

It’s interesting to note that while the advertisement styles have changed, the core message is similar and some of the products have stayed the same over the years. Similarly for articles, the topics of interest remained pretty much the same even though the styles of writing may have changed. We spotted an advert with cute copy and we couldn’t help but chuckle. Every issue is on average 20 pages long, making it very easy (and did we mention fun) to read.

Shopping News-funny advert

Tongue-in-cheek advertising


All book images are taken from the magazine, Shopping News.

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