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Posts Tagged ‘advertising

“What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons”*…

 

The title of this post is one of the 365 fashion quotes paired with 365 fashion ads dating from the 1900s to the 1990s (the above quote went with a 1966 ad for Eye-catchers Panty Hose that was targeted towards teens) in Fashion Ads of the 20th Centuryby Jim Heimann and Alison A. Nieder.

Because ads are created with wads of money, meticulous planning, and highly creative talent, the ads that color these pages make for a gorgeous, provocative book, and the accompanied quotes are clever, humorous, and revealing.

But beyond the surface of beauty and frivolity, this collection of ads also gives us a glimpse of our changing cultural norms throughout the last century. For instance, up until the 1970s, the term girl was used frequently for woman, especially when referring to women as amusement for men, such as, “From morn, ‘til night, at work, at play, be a dream girl too, the Formfit way” (from a Formfit bra ad of 1942). And although not nearly as often, boys was used in place of men when referring to a gang of mischievous young lads out for a good time.

In the 1930s, the Depression was reflected in ads such as the do-it-yourself Simplicity Patterns ad above, while by the 1980s we started seeing independent-looking women in business suits, or a suit-like dress with very wide padded shoulders. (Of course these more feminist-minded ads were overshadowed by sensual, nearly naked women in other ads). One of the biggest changes between pre-and post-1970s were the incredible number of ads that included both women and men who were sexually charged, wearing very little, if any clothes at all.

Of course the differences in ads between the decades pale in comparison to the big similarity: sex, sex, sex. As the old saying goes, “Sex sells,” and that is pronounced over and over again as you flip through Fashion. Even though this isn’t new news, it’s fascinating when you witness the craft behind ads in such a visual compilation as this book…

Read more about Fashion Ads of the 20th Century– which functions as either a coffee table book or an “undated calendar”/day book– at Wink Books… an invaluable site that celebrates “remarkable books that belong on paper.”

* Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in Mad Men

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As we contemplate our costumes, we might spare a pining thought for Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca); it was on this date in 1327, after he’d given up his vocation as a priest, that he first set eyes on “Laura” in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon– an encounter that awoke in him a passion that spawned the 366 poems in Il Canzoniere (“Song Book”).

Considered by many to have been “the Father of Humanism,” and reputed to have coined the term “Renaissance,” Petrarch was most famous in his time for his paeans to his idealized lover (who was, many scholars believe, Laura de Noves, the wife of Hugues de Sade).  But Petrarch’s more fundamental and lasting contribution to culture came via Pietro Bembo who created the model for the modern Italian language in the 16th century largely based on the works of Petrarch (and to a lesser degree, those of Dante and Boccaccio).

Laura de Noves died on this date in 1348.

Lura de Noves

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Petrarch

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Written by LW

April 6, 2014 at 1:01 am

The Ghosts of Advertisements Past…

 

This old advertisement for Harold Lloyd’s 1922 classic silent comedy, GRANDMA’S BOY, was rediscovered in February 2012 when the building next to it, built in 1923, was torn down. Sadly, this building was also scheduled to be demolished, and indeed it was just a couple of weeks later, taking the advert with it. Source: C. Browne, http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolbrowne/6937438297/. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence.

“Ghost Signs” are advertisements painted on the sides of buildings (before the advent of billboards), then obscured by subsequent construction/redecoration (or simply left to weather nearly away), only lately to be uncovered/rediscovered.   Once a vital part both of America’s young consumer economy and of its visual landscape, they are beginning again to attract attention, as at The Basement Geographer (via which, the image above), and in the Ghost Signs and Faded Signage pools on Flickr and in the Wikimedia Commons.  (C.f. also, the UK website Ghost Signs.)

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As we dream in technicolor, we might send fertile birthday wishes to Jonathan Chapman; he was born on this date in 1774.  A pioneering nurseryman, he introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois… earning him the nickname by which he is much better known:  Johnny Appleseed.

 source

 

Written by LW

September 26, 2012 at 1:01 am

Elephants in the Room…

 

There are about 2,286 delegates and 2,125 “alternate” delegates from across the United States gathered in Tampa, Florida, to formalize the nomination of the Republican Party’s candidates for the 2012 presidential election. They’ve been joined by about 15,000 journalists and media operatives from around the globe, each attempting to scrutinise every nuance of the proceedings, from back-room buzz to the dozens of speeches promoting the planks of the Republican platform and demonising those of the Democratic’s.

How to make sense of it all?  Visual.ly helps:

 click image above or here for larger version

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As we brace for the deluge of red, white, and blue balloons, we might recall that it was on this date in 1922 that the first broadcast commercial aired, on AT&T’s radio station WEAF in New York.  (It wasn’t until the 60s that political advertising, on radio but especially television began meaningfully to grow; that d=said, there’s no end to that growth in sight…)

Announcer Helen Hahn in the WEAF studio, New York, 1922.

source

 

Written by LW

August 28, 2012 at 1:01 am

Greasepaint and Brine…

The legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David once stated that “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.”

I beg to differ.

What the world needs– nay, rightfully deserves– are 1950s advertising photos of clowns eating pickle products.

More, at Armagideon Time’s “Greasepaint and Brine.”

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As we tickle our tastebuds, we might recall that it was on this date in 1057, at the Battle of Lumphanan, that King Macbeth of Scotland was slain by Malcolm Canmore– whose father, King Duncan I, was murdered by Macbeth 17 years earlier.

(Shakespeare’s MacBeth is based on Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which in turn borrows from Boece’s 1527 Scotorum Historiae– which was crafted to flatter Duncan, an ancestor of Boece’s patron, King James V of Scotland.  Accounts now considered more historically-accurate– and fairer to MacBeth–  can be found in the novels of Dorothy Dunnett and Nigel Tranter… though of course the Bard’s tale is still the rippingest.)

Imagined 19th century portrait of Macbeth

source

Written by LW

August 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

The baddest ad…

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority publishes an annual list of the broadcast commercials that generated the most complaints.  The Guardian recounts this year’s “winners”…  but reminds readers that none of them came close to achieving the opprobrium earned by the most complained-about ad of all time, this 2005 KFC spot:

And while we’re on the subject…  “one in eight American workers has been employed by McDonalds,” and 25 other interesting fast food facts.

[TotH to Next Draft]

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As we supersize that, we might note the proprietary of the fact that this is the feast date of St. Justin Martyr… (the patron saint of apologists and speakers).

 source

Written by LW

June 1, 2012 at 1:01 am

The Quest for Verisimilitude…

Brandalism:  Any advertisement in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It belongs to you. It’s yours to take, rearrange and re-use. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.”
— Banksy (Wall and Piece)

The good folks at Behance pondered the ways that familiar logos might be revised better to reflect their subject’s essence…

More at “Honest Logos.”

As we wonder if it can be printed on a tee shirt, we might recall that it was on this date in 1864 that the first instance of mass unsolicited electronic commercial communication occurred.  As The Economist recounts: “several British politicians were disturbed by a knock at the door and the delivery of a telegram—a most unusual occurrence at such a late hour.  Had war broken out?  Had the queen been taken ill?  They ripped open the envelopes and were surprised to find a message relating not to some national calamity, but to dentistry. Messrs Gabriel, of 27 Harley Street, advised that their dental practice would be open from 10am to 5pm until October. Infuriated, some of the recipients of this unsolicited message wrote to the Times. ‘I have never had any dealings with Messrs Gabriel,’ thundered one of them, ‘and beg to know by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is simply the medium of advertisement?’  The Times helpfully reprinted the offending telegram, providing its senders with further free publicity.  This was, notes Matthew Sweet, a historian, the first example of what is known today as ‘spam’.”

Written by LW

May 10, 2011 at 1:01 am

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