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World Market Centers (1972)

Post Asylum

Sound | c. 1972

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  •  Construction on a new merchandising center in Dallas 
  •  World Market business concept 
  •  Stores across 17 cities and four states 
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  • About the video
  • Bill Stokes Associates Bill Stokes Associates
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Produced by the Dallas-based Bill Stokes Associates, this 1970s marketing film gives a brief introduction to World Market Centers, its pyramid sales model, and a planned merchandising center in Dallas. Formed in Oklahoma in 1970, the company quickly expanded to New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. Unlike a traditional retail outlet, World Market Centers sold dealership contracts. Potential dealers first purchased merchandise from a particular range of products. They then received a dealer kit and 50 coded cards to give out to authorized buyers. When these buyers purchased merchandise at a World Market Centers department store, the dealer received a commission. The company’s business model soon came under fire, with local governments charging that dealership contracts were unregistered securities in violation of state law. Oklahoma eventually sought to declare World Market Centers insolvent, arguing that the company’s liabilities exceeded its assets. In September 1972, Dallas County indicted five Texas officers with World Market Centers on charges of selling unlicensed and unregistered stocks in the form of dealership contracts. The company filed for bankruptcy in a Texas federal court later that year.
Formed in 1965, Bill Stokes Associates (later to be known as The Stokes Group) was a Dallas-based production company that made industrial and promotional films for a range of clients spanning from Mary Kay Cosmetics to the United States Navy. In 1966, Bill Stokes Associates provided sound stage and production services for the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. Bill Stokes has been honored by the Dallas Producers Association with a Film Pioneer Award.