Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Hey Hey What Day is It" The Art of the Ad

How many times have you seen that gangling, uncoordinated camel ask that silly question and laughed out loud when you knew the answer that would be coming? It doesn't become old and that is the genius of good market communication. What does that really mean? It means to persuade, encourage, manipulate and tempt an audience of viewers. The venues have changed, the techniques might have changed, but basically, since the ancient Egyptians carved notices on steel and stone we have been bringing attention to a product line or announcement to our fellow man.

The emergence of the the Ad market in America in the 1800s aided the industries manufacturing soaps, pears, and other goods. Cigarettes and tobacco, canned goods and all goods that now were being created in
Standardized sizes and quantities unheard of before. Newspaper, catalogs, magazines and giveaways were part of the campaign to gift the customer for his purchase.. Colonial America only did local ads for goods on hand and at that time a select few, but here, at this time, begins the political ads and requests for military sign up.

This charming little girl is a card 7 x 5 inches, when turned over
has beautiful  lettering and pictures to advertise, l lb packages of Lion Coffee by the Woolson Spice co. Toledo, Ohio. It also cautions you that this will only be available during July and August.

In 1882 the first electric advertising sign was lit in Times Square,
New York City.

The "Give-Aways" came in every form, but always advertising something or someone. In rural and farm areas, the then free, Sears  and Montgomery Ward Catalogues brought the world commerce to tempt with everything from buttons to building kits for houses. Alas, Montgomery Ward is no longer with us!
When you stop to think about it,, the ad market touches every part of our life. Today we are bombarded daily with ads appearing, whether we want them or not, from every media. The internet now ranks above Newspaper ads, and Television entertains us every 15 minutes with up to 6-7 ads per segment. The ads today are quite different than they were when Edward Bernays, who is considered the founder of the modern
Madison Avenue brought his brand of sophistication to the ad market. Today, in may cases, poor taste reigns. Do we really want to know about some inadequacies of the modern male? Do we need to discuss the same issues for our female friends? There are too many more to count here that might be annoying to some. There was an air of elegance in earlier times, that is missing today, but I am told this is progress and some are designed specifically to annoy. Hmmph--well how many of you turn those off?  Of course I love Geico's little green man with the English accent--he shows good taste! He is a gentleman!

The Hoods Co of Lowell, Mass sent this little girl out to advertise their Sarsparilla. The date is 1897 and printed on the back you will get the Astronomical Events for the United States in that year.

Lucy Strike     Kodak     Pond's extract, Hotels,
Piedmont Cigarettes, Wrigley's, Horlicks Malted Milk, shoe ads, cherterfield  and Fatima cigarettes.Don't forget the beer makers who advertised on beautiful trays. Coca Cola did the same. These are just a few , and most are no longer with us.

Growing larger, Dept Stores in major cities also began major campaigns to entice the city buyers. In New York City it was Macy's and Wannamaker, Marshall Field's in Chicago and in Philadelphia it was also Wannamaker. The 1920s were busy and affluent times.
Store ads were designed to bring  those outside the city to come inside and enjoy the same product lines being enjoyed by the city dweller.  Radio was now a new medium to introduce the lucky few who owned one to the marketplace.

1920-30's plastic shoe stretcher  "Fenton last  Saks Fifth Avenue". Given when you purchased a pair of shoes.

These wonderful 6 inch rulers were  given to clients by thankful salespersons, they were designed to fit nicely in a man's shirt pocket. I have many of these and have tried to research the names and companies. Most of the time I am 60 years too late.

In the 1930's food stores, match covers , and  hotels were giving away needle cases or small sewing kits.This is an example from the Jewel stores
The 1960's brought a shift and Madison Ave's styles changed from mass marketing to Target marketing, their term for this was "Creative Revolution". By today's standards I guess we were still pretty tame in our attemps to reach the purse strings.  The value of advertising cannot be measured, we all need it, we all respond to it and I can only wonder what the next step will be.  Mr.Dude and I have collected advertising for some years, mostly in paper or tin form.

This is a large back bar Tray and when you turn it over this is the ad. It was probably given to the owner for selling their beer. The tray dates from the late 1890's.

I hope that you will find advertising as interesting as we do.  It has been fun over the years, and it brings our history alive! Have fun!


  1. I understand your reaction to today's advertising and totally agree. It's a sign of the times and I don't like it at all. You have stirred up so many memories and I do like that. What a wonderful piece, thank you!!

  2. Very fun post - love the old advertisements and I have a lot of them around here - including a hand colored photograph of my grandmother as a toddler. She won a contest and her image was used to advertise soap.

    1. I love that Kathleen--would love to see that picture. . I had a difficult time choosing what to show, the colors and lithography on the old paper pieces are wonderful! Thank you for sharing that.

    2. Here are the blog posts I wrote about Grandmother's photo:



  3. Sandy....you have such a way with words and always bring new thoughts about old stuff! Thanks for taking time to share with us.