Tag Archives: marketing

March 1980 – Dungeons and Dragons

Nowadays, midst of such travesties as Twilight and Harry Potter we’re used to seeing hints of the mystic but there was a day, not so long ago when all we had was Dungeons and Dragons. Not even the advanced edition, just the vanilla offering from TSR complete with kobolds with only half a hit-die. If you’ve ever rolled a natural 2o then you remember these halcyon days.

From Classic Ads – Books

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Filed under Books

Smart Set, Stories from Life – December 1927

Yesterday we looked at The Literary Digest from 1911 in all its affluent glory. Today we look at Smart Set Magazine from the 20s. The two audiences couldn’t possibly more different. Smart Set is just the sort of magazine that one of our 20s Flappers would sit down to read between flaps. Most of the content is vacuous romance drivel and the ads seem to focus fairly firm on makeup.

Usually I don’t bother with the covers since they’re not really advertising but this one struck me very firmly about the eyeballs. She makes quite a fitting icon for the times.

From Classic Ads – Misc

The majority of ads were for makeup and various accessories related to it. On the back of the front cover we find Norida powder cases. Who would have thought such a thing existed and deserved such a prominent spot in the zine?

From Classic Ads – Misc

There are a few familiar names. Irene Rich (yes, THAT Irene Rich) uses Maybelline. Never heard of that Maybelline stuff but Irene Rich… WOW!

From Classic Ads – Misc

Tangee Beauty Aids offered a wide range of women’s make-up goop stuff. You can tell how attuned I am to this particular line of marketing.

From Classic Ads – Misc

And Kissproof seems fairly suggestive of potential not-really-related-to-makeup activities though the woman in the picture looks like she might just be wielding a knife.

From Classic Ads – Misc

When our flapper friends weren’t making themselves up for a night out, they were having a smoke behind the barn. They’re better because they’re toasted! We haven’t yet gotten to the Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco era.

From Classic Ads – Misc

I do notice too that retailers are practically jumping out of their skins to hand out credit to customers. Send only $1! Take a year to pay whether you want fine jewelry…

From Classic Ads – Misc

…or a Buxkin Velour Mandell Fur coat!

From Classic Ads – Clothing

Lastly, we know that any Flapper worth her salt can dance up a small storm. Since you can’t dance without music, we bring you the Mello-Phonic Console Phonograph. You’ll have to draw lots though to see who gets stuck with the job of winding it up.

From Classic Ads – Music Equipment

If you prefer your grinding without the winding, check out the All-Electric Radio. This beasty would cost you the equivalent of $700 back in the day.

From Classic Ads – Music Equipment

Oh, but wait. I found this last little advert just hanging tenaciously on by a thread. Even flappers, it seems, suffered at times from irregularity. Luckily though there’s Feen-a-Mint.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

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Filed under Food and Drink, technology

The Literary Digest – December 30, 1911

Yesterday when we visited Popular Science in the 1970s, we found our magazine’s audience to be handy and practical people. Today we visit the Literary Digest over a century ago and the readers of this little publication have a lot of money to spread around. So let’s see what the richest or the rich were doing with their money in 1911. Cover price for this mag: 10 cents. That’s a modest $2.30 adjusted for inflation.

The cruise industry was alive and well. You could take a 78-day cruise for $325.

From Classic Ads – Travel

Not feeling like cruising? How about the train or perhaps a trip to Cube, “A winter paradise”

From Classic Ads – Travel

For those days when you’re not feeling up to traveling, there are plenty of miracle medicines to save the day including Sanatogen. 15,000 physicians approve, after all.

From Classic Ads – Misc

How did our affluent readers make all their money? Manhattan real estate and 5% Municipal bonds, of course!

From Classic Ads – Misc
From Classic Ads – Misc

This was a time much different than today. When’s the last time you bought a book that advertised its weight let alone one that was 13 pounds?

From Classic Ads – Books

When they weren’t investing or reading their really heavy books there was much luxurious food! This Cream of Wheat ad today would get someone firebut I post it here as a relic of an archaic value system that made this sort of thing not only acceptable but a good advertising tool.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

Prefer your cereal cold rather than warm? Post Toasties…

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

…go well with a bit of sugar.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

And the immortal Chiclet has been around literally forever.  For sale at the “better sort of stores” the ad croons.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

Lastly, the rich wouldn’t be the rich without a car or four.  The Cadillac auto is a car for “discriminating motorists, those to whom price is only a minor consideration.”

From Classic Ads – Automotive

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Filed under Automobiles, Books, Food and Drink, travel

Popular Science – June 1971

Greetings!  Today’s blast from the past comes to us courtesy of Popular Science in the early 70s.  It’s interesting to me to see what the ads in a publication say about the people who read it.  In this case, it’s clear that the subscribers are all of the male gender. Very male. Almost impossibly male. And they like to smoke and drink beer and drive stuff. And do things! Manly things!

As a general rule, I don’t post ads for cigarettes but this one really struck my eye. For the man who likes to smoke and doesn’t mind an 8-step process to put his smokes together I give you Laredo filter blend. It comes with a handy plastic cigarette-making machine and the pricing works out to about $.20 per pack. That’s about $1 in today’s money adjusted for inflation.

From Classic Ads – Misc

What continues to strike me about Jeep ads even from ages ago is that they haven’t changed one iota. Not a bit. This one is blasted 40 years old and it reads like an ad from today. It’s a vehicle with guts and with the same ad guys it had in the 70s.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

PopSci was also rife with ads for career improvement. Apparently readers fancied themselves clever enough to move up in the world but they just lacked the training. La Salle Extension university offers everything from a High School diploma to diesel mechanics all from the comfort of your home. I’m amused that they have -one- class in computer programming and it’s just ‘basic training.’ The gals get a separate set of options all the way to the right. No female diesel mechanics in these days, I guess. They could be accountants or dental assistants or secretaries.

From Classic Ads – Misc

Not looking to be an accountant or clean teeth? How about the Cleveland Institute of Electronics? Tell off your boss today! Learn how in handy comic-book form!

From Classic Ads – Misc

Circuits not your cup of tea? Well heck. Just join the Army. There’s just no satisfying some people!

From Classic Ads – Misc

Switching gears dramatically, the car ads of course made themselves known as they always do. Those readers who already have a job will need a way to get there. Why not try the Ford Pinto? It boasts 25 mpg and a 75 HP motor. Based on the ad text it’s really trying to compete with the VW bug to which it compares itself and based on the ad photo a half-eaten apple is better than a bug any day.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Forget the Pinto though, you should hear what they’re saying about the Chevy Vega!

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Feeling like a car is too much responsibility? How about the Yamaha 650 XS-1B?

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Is even a motorcycle too much responsibility? Prefer to motor manfully over the snow or sand dunes rather than the city streets? Try the Honda All-Terrain Cycle. Sure it looks like something Bozo the Clown would ride but that’s OK. It takes on those sand dunes like a champ and doesn’t require a driver’s license in the event you somehow got enough DUIs to lose it back in 1971.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

And when you’re done finding a job and driving around all day has left you thirsty, kick back and relax with a Schlitz. Because nothing tastes more like Schlitz than a Schlitz.

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

And remember when you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer.  And you’re probably tan, and on a fishing boat.

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Filed under alcoholic, Automobiles, Drinks

Starlog Magazine – February 1983 or a Nerdgasm of 30 years Past

My general rule for ads is to never bother with any ads younger than I am. As the years pass this becomes a sad and increasingly restrictive rule. Today, however, we revisit the year 1983 and Starlog magazine, a publication devoted to computers, video games and scifi. Let’s skip over the silliness of David Hassellhoff and the Knight 2000, Jon Pertwee’s return to Doctor Who and other random drivel so that we can focus on the best part: The Adverts!

I don’t know about you but I’d give… practically nothing for a Admiral Ackbar full-face latex mask. It’s surprising to me that the instructions specify that customers should send cash in the mail. Also, one wonders how many of these remain Mint-In-Box even today waiting for some lucky kid to crack them open and wear them around the yard… before getting beaten up by a few neighborhood bullies with poor appreciation for nerdy pursuits like “recreating your favorite character’s most adventurous moments” as the text says.

From Classic Ads – Misc

And, just in case the mask didn’t get your ass beat for you, you can order a “Warrior’s Battle Outfit.” These guys really have it in for their customers. The text suggests that “you can wear your Battle Warrior outfit to school, parties or anywhere! It’s fun to dress in space fashion. The whole family can dress in Warrior’s Battle outfits.” Again, anywhere that you want to get your ass thoroughly beaten with your own “Warrior’s Battlepac”

From Classic Ads – Misc

And no 80’s magazine ad would be complete without mention of the Atari game system.
Get ready for the space battle of your life with the award-winning Astro Chase!” Enjoy those “fast-fighting thrills and brilliant graphics!”

From Classic Ads – Misc

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Filed under Entertainment

Sports Illustrated – September 27, 1954

Greetings! As a possibly permanent change of pace, I’ve decided to take a single issue of a periodical of the dim and misty past and have at it all in one go. Today’s lucky target of nostalgia is the September 27th 1954 edition of Sports Illustrated. That was the first year for this noble magazine veteran and this was lucky issue #7. Let’s dive in and look at the interesting part, the adverts, and ignore all that pesky content about sports!

It’s easy in today’s bare-headed culture to forget that 50 years ago hats were pretty damn important and a part of every smart-looking young man’s wardrobe. This smart green Black Forest hat has a band as wide as a weasel’s face. No doubt that was the height of fashion at the time. These suckers top out at $20 in 1954. Accounting for inflation that’s a $150 hat! That’s one salty weasel-band hat!

From Classic Ads – Clothing

This ad admonishes us to ask for genuine G.E. tubes the next time we have our televisions repaired. Do they even HAVE TV repairmen anymore? Regardless, if they do then I hope they use G.E. tubes. They really put a wallop in your tired TV picture. When’s the last time you walloped something?

From Classic Ads – Communications

These people are obviously of the monied class so of course they arrived at this fancy dinner in a Cadillac. You’d have to have a lot of money to drive a car the size of a commercial fishing vessel. Bubba-Gump’s shrimpin’ boat was smaller than this car. Her jewels by Van Cleef and Arpela. Wrap by Anthony Biotta. Car by Cadillac. All 22 feet of it.

From Classic Ads – Automotive

Old Spice – For Men. As if you had to make THAT clear. Any woman who would consider wearing Old Spice probably drives a shrimpin’ boat and gives not a whit of a care about how she smells.

From Classic Ads – Personal Grooming

Ending on a supremely manly note, Early Times is every ounce a Man’s Whisky. These people know about horses so they must know about good whisky, right? Though one must admit that with that rather pallid yellow color one can’t help but wonder if the whisky doesn’t start out as a byproduct of the horse…

From Classic Ads – Food And Drink

And that’s what advertising was like in 1954. Anybody wanting a 1954 copy of SI can have it at cost now that I’m done with it.

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Filed under alcoholic, Automobiles, Clothing

1965 RCA Color Television – Jack Benny and Johnny Carson

Today’s advert isn’t so much about the product as it is the people selling it. As an aficionado of all things archaic, for me Benny was the icon of an a full half-century of entertainment. While never the most politically correct nor a friend to those who appreciated the violin, Benny was telling the same jokes you laugh at today back in the 1920s. To me Carson was always a much dimmer light in the world of entertainment but he’s OK here too.

1965 RCA Color Televisions - Jack Benny, Johnny Carson

1965 RCA Color Televisions - Jack Benny, Johnny Carson

Switching gears a bit, I’d like some feedback and opinions here. There seems to be a fair amount of interest in this blog and for that I thank you. You’re all appreciated and welcomed. I would like to hear your thoughts on the general selection for ads. Anything you want more of or less of? More content and analysis or less blather? Prefer a certain genre of products? I’ve been withholding dozens of automotive ads on the principal that it’s fairly redundant and dull. Is it? Anyway, all thoughts appreciated. Help me steer this thing!

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Filed under technology

Early 70s Fashion Free-for-all

It’s almost too easy to take pot-shots at seventy’s fashions but I’ll do it anyway. Imagine, if you will, a world in which it’s cool to wear all-denim outfits. Is this what you imagined?

1973 Denim Live-Ins

1973 Denim Live-Ins

One one hand, I regret that male fashions have become so drab and plastic. On the other hand, I can’t help but think that if THIS is what male self-expression in the area of fashion looks like then maybe we’re better off being drab?

1973 Sears Shirts

1973 Sears Shirts

And who approved these color choices?

1972 Sears Slacks

1972 Sears Slacks

And the shoes are to die for. Or… well, at least you’ll want to die.

1973 Johnston and Murphy

1973 Johnston and Murphy

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Filed under Clothing

Studyboppers Delight – 1970s Smith-Corona Typewriters

It’s hard to believe that in some of our lifetimes a typewriter was considered a great college study aid. It’s to tiny it can fit easily on the lap of that girl in that little tiny skirt!

1970s Smith-Corona Typewriters

1970s Smith-Corona Typewriters

Truth be told though, I recall with great clarify getting a typewriter as a child. I was determined to retype the entire encyclopedia. To this day I know far too much about Aardvarks, Aardwolves and Acacia. That was 1970-something and when electrics came around it quite an improvement even for us young “studyboppers” as the ad so eloquently calls them.

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Filed under technology

1934 General Electric Refrigerators

The year is 1934 and based on the text of this ad, a refrigerator is a luxury that some people just haven’t quite gotten around to appreciating yet. “Luxurious convenience every day in the year” the ad promises and now you can safely save leftovers. It even has a foot-pedal door opener, automatic interior lighting and semi-automatic defrosting. You can’t beat that!

1934 General Electric Refrigerators

1934 General Electric Refrigerators

I have to say, those women look PRETTY happy. Maybe we should all buy our wives refrigerators!

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Filed under Household