"In reconsidering the metrosexual, we must first distinguish between the metrosexual’s imagined and actual properties. Like hipsterism, metrosexuality is an insult more readily slung than substantiated. According to canon, David Beckham is the ur-metro. Although Beckham initially goes unmentioned in the word’s first printing (in 1994), the word’s progenitor, Mark Simpson, introduced American readers to metrosexuality through the British football star in 2002, when he called Beckham a "screaming, shrieking, flaming, freaking metrosexual…famous for wearing sarongs and pink nail polish and panties…and posing naked and oiled up on the cover of Esquire.
" " - Johannah King-Slutzky for The Awl on the 'Metrosexual' situation a decade later
In the 1920's, the Ku Klux Klan operated a resort for Christian white supremacists called Kool Koast Kamp near Rockport, TX
. For just a dollar a day per family, they offered swimming and "big game fishing" in "deep blue surf," educational activities and "watermelon parties." All under the protection of a "fiery cross" and "an officer of the law, the same Christian sentiment." (Brochure pages 1
) [more inside]
Ten vintage advertisements
that definitely wouldn't fly today.
Most people know that Venice has long been threatened by chronic flooding, but in recent years the Queen of the Adriatic has faced a rising tide of a different sort: advertising
From the Doge's Palace
to St. Mark's Square
to the bittersweet Bridge of Sighs
-- named for the grief its splendid views once inspired in crossing death row prisoners -- immense billboards lit late into the night
now mar the city's most treasured places.
Allegedly built to cover the cost of restoration work in the face of government cutbacks, the ads have brought in around $600,000 per year since 2008 -- a fraction of the shortfall -- and show no sign of going away any time soon. Their presence prompted a consortium of the world's leading cultural experts led by the Venice in Peril Fund
to air an open letter
demanding the city government put a stop to the placards that "hit you in the eye and ruin your experience of one of the most beautiful creations of humankind." Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, for one, was not moved, saying last year "If people want to see the building they should go home and look at a picture of it in a book."
Most of the prints in the exhibit "Beauty, Virtue and Vice: Images of Women in Nineteenth-Century American Prints
" were designed simply to please the eye, but they are also useful to historians who would like to understand how nineteenth-century Americans thought about the world in which they lived. Although prints are often works of imagination (even when they are grounded in fact), they still have much to tell us about the time and place in which they were created. [more inside]
Network Awesome has compiled a short history of some of Jim Henson's early muppet work
, including his infamously dark Wilson's Coffee commercials: (on YouTube) 1
and the IBM Muppet Show
. (Who among us hasn't woken up in the morning and wanted to eat their coffee machine? (Previously) (Via) [more inside]
is an awesome fake advertising campaign for the Smithsonian. Created as a portfolio project by two students
, the ads have gone viral and the Smithsonian is none too pleased
Vincent Lexington Harper compiled the world's largest collection of digitally restored pinups from the 1920s and 30s in the Old Orient Museum
. [more inside]
From the BBC blog of documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis
: Experiments in the Laboratory of Consumerism 1959-67
: "I have quite a lot of film from the archives that was shot in the Madison Avenue agencies in the mid 1960s, and I thought I would put some sections up. It is great because it shows some of the major advertising men and women of the time, many of whom are the real-life models for characters in Mad Men."
Includes a 9-minute video interview with the late Herta Herzog
. [more inside]
A lot of old advertising, like the copy here, reads like literate AOL kids. They spell and capitalize and punctuate, but they're still hype machines stuck on exclamation marks and shouting and… boldface and underlines. Today, the fashion is for much shorter ad copy. If sound came along today, we'd come up with a catchphrase and call it a day. "Hear the difference." In 1929, if you didn’t have at least five catchphrases, some capitalized buzzwords, and several exclamation marks, you just weren't with it. [more inside]
"During World War I, the [US] Army lost 7 million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because they were ailing from STDs. Once Penicillin kicked in in the mid-1940s, such infections were treatable. But as a matter of national security, the military started distributing condoms and aggressively marketing prophylactics to the troops in the early 20th century
." [more inside]
The Footnotes of Mad Men
explores and discusses the historic events, themes, and cultural mores of the show.
"What if America wasn't America?" That was the question posed by a series of ads broadcast in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ads which depicted a dystopian America bereft of liberty: Library
. Together with more positive ads like Remember Freedom
and I Am an American
, they encouraged frightened viewers to cherish their freedoms and defend against division and prejudice in the face of terrorism (seven years previously
). The campaign was the work of the Ad Council
, a non-profit agency that employs the creative muscle of volunteer advertisers to raise awareness for social issues of national importance. Founded during WWII as the War Advertising Council, the organization has been behind some of the most memorable public service campaigns in American history
, including Rosie the Riveter
, Smokey the Bear
, McGruff the Crime Dog
, and the Crash Test Dummies
. And the Council is still at it today, producing striking, funny, and above all effective
PSAs on everything from student invention
to global warming
to arts education
to community service
Additional resources: A-to-Z index of Ad Council campaigns
- Campaigns organized by category
- Award-winning campaigns
- PSA Central
: A free download directory of TV, radio, and print PSAs (registration req'd)
- An exhaustive history of the Ad Council [46-page PDF]
- YouTube channel
- Vimeo channel
- Twitter feed
"Do you love me? Will you answer this all absorbing question the next time we meet? Will you utter that winsome "Yes" fraught with all the golden dreams of heavenly realms, or will you pronounce the dread "No" and consign my soul to darkness and despair?" Advertising for Love
, a collection of funny, strange, poignant and bizarre personal ads from nineteenth-century American newspapers.
A glance will show / Why Phoebe Snow / Prefers this route / To Buffalo.
And Phoebe's right / No route is quite / As short as Road / of Anthracite.
In 1908 the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad began work on the New Jersey Cut-Off
to make its New York to Buffalo mainline (the Road of Anthracite so liked
by Phoebe Snow
) even shorter and faster. It was to have no grade crossings, and was to be as straight and level as possible — through hilly terrain. The 28-mile Lackawanna Cut-Off
, as it is now known, was built over three years, cost $11 million, and was an engineering marvel
of massive reinforced concrete bridges, enormous cuts, and the largest railroad embankment in the world. All of this has been abandoned
for years, though there are plans afoot to restore the Cut-Off for commuter rail
. [more inside]
The evolution of the US presidential campaign ad, 1952 to 1996... 1952: Eisenhower-Nixon
(We Like Ike
, The Man from Abilene
) vs Stevenson-Sparkman
(I Love the Gov [apologies for the intro]
, Ike... Bob..., Vote Stevenson/The Music Man
, (Remember the Farmer, Back to the Days of '31
). Bonus: Newsreels dealing with the campaigns
(Eisenhower Answers America: The Cost of Living [excerpt]
, Corruption (california spot)
) vs Stevenson-Kefauver
(How's that again, General?
, The Man from Libertyville [same annoying intro], Ad-lee, Ad-lie
). Bonus: Election Day newsreel
, including a santa Claus arriving in a flying saucer; Eisenhower, Suez, and hungary in 1956
. [more inside]
From about 1875 to the 1940s, cigarette cards
spurred tobacco sales. Sets offer a glimpse into the popculture of the times, spanning newsmakers
, cinema celebrities
, and sports stars
; cute illustrated subjects, like "frisky"
and children with rosy cheeks
; handy info like air raid precautions
, first aid
, and amusing tricks
; and neat stuff like famous escapes
, exotic races
, and figures of speech
. Browse more fun sets
of vintage images.
Cigar Box Labels
are among the finest works of commercial art ever produced. Package designs proliferated during the 1800s, thanks to the development of the stone lithography
technique. "Each label could involve a dozen highly skilled specialists,
, take a month to create, and cost upwards of $6000.00 (in 1900 dollars) to produce." Images range
, offering a glimpse into the changing popular fascinations of the 19th and 20th centuries.
of Atlantic City Boardwalk from R.C. Maxwell. Photographs taken to give client's an idea of the traffic that would see their billboards, provide a record of the people who have thronged to the boardwalk since the early 1900's.
So my mum-in-law was visiting Dover Castle
last week, when she spotted this 1940s replica postcard
which she sent to me. It talks about how the stalwarts of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force
(WAAF) supposedly took "bile beans
" for things like nervous debility and "female complaints." This term always sounds (at least to me) so quaint and condescending; a search on it led me to the quackery of patent medicine
, one of the prime purveyors of which was Lydia E. Pinkham
(“Only a woman can understand a woman's ills.”). I'd feel smug and advanced about how far we've
come if only it weren't for the resurgence of the term on herbal remedies sites
. We may have come a long way baby
, but we've still got some work to do in women's medicine, at home and abroad
Apple Computer 1984 Newsweek Advertising Insert
:: a complete scan of Apple's 16-page advertising insert in Newsweek
magazine, introducing the new and revolutionary Macintosh computer.
"What a blessing it is that sanitary protection
is now worn internally". Adverts from women's magazines of the 1920s, 30s and 40s
. Also: Persil
ads and a smattering of ads of yesteryear [Sensitive content here]
Dentsu Advertising Museum.
Japanese advertising 1603-1926.
'The Edo Era (1603—1867), during which a full-fledged feudal system was established by the Tokugawa shogunate, was also an era in which the culture of townspeople flourished. That Japan had already developed distinctive advertising techniques of its own as early as the Edo Era might come as a surprise to you. But ample evidence of these remain for us today to follow a historical trail, in the form of nishiki-e (a multicolored woodblock print), hikifuda (handbills) and signboards. A witness of the times, as well as a chronicle of advertising creative work in Japan, these relics represent a valuable record of both the evolution of corporations and the history of common people's lives.'
'Dentsu Advertising Museum presents selected advertising artifacts and works of art from the Yoshida Hideo Memorial Foundation collection, in order to give you a taste of the historical background to Japanese advertising techniques.'
The Open Video Project
offers nearly 2,000 videos from various sources and collections, including such gems as 34 reels from the 1930s and 40s in the Digital Himalaya Project
, a series of classic television commercials
, and, from the Library of Congress, some shorts from the early 1900s, including the popular 2 a.m. in the Subway
and A Ballroom Tragedy
("Vaudeville" is a good search term for finding more like this). Also, especially for MeFi, Johnny Learns His Manners
The first 50 years of Fiat advertising images.
Fiat has been a pioneer in the development and management of its corporate image through advertising. Famous artists as Dudovich, Codognato, Casorati and De Chirico have created beautiful posters and designs for this Italian giant of which 100 from the 1899 to 1950 period have been selected for their online historial archive. The oldest being this fantastic “Fabbrica Italiana Di Automobili
” poster from 1899.
Palmer Cox created
the famous Brownie characters
, and a successful series of children's books detailing their adventures
. These are the characters that George Eastman chose for promoting the Brownie line of Kodak cameras