Advertising in America, by Emma Brandt


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1. Advertising in America: A Mini- Exhibit Emma Brandt, December 2011 2. Harper’s Weekly Advertising Page, 1860This dense, text-filled page of ads is typical of…
  • 1. Advertising in America: A Mini- Exhibit Emma Brandt, December 2011
  • 2. Harper’s Weekly Advertising Page, 1860This dense, text-filled page of ads is typical of pre-1900 advertising, which tended tobe informational rather than relational. Claims that did more than list the product’scharacteristics were looked on with suspicion, as they were associated with thedubious “patent-medicine” industry. Advertisements tended to stick to emphaticallyworded facts and basic information on where to buy the products advertised.
  • 3. Malta-Vita Advertisement, 1900The family breakfast scene depicted here showcases the use of pictures in full-page ads, anew development at the turn of the century. The copy addresses the reader, offering putativelymedical reasons to buy the product while offering a “72 Dainty Dishes” recipe book—premiums, mail-in gifts, and other product add-ons were popular at the time. While advertisersstill felt they had to include lots of reasons for customers to buy the product, they werebeginning to take a more aesthetic sensibility towards advertising.
  • 4. Lucky Strike Advertisement, 1915The powerful office scene photographically depicted in this 1915 ad places emphasison the modernity of the cigarettes it promotes. Similarly, the copy uses slangybusiness talk to convince the reader that Lucky Strike possesses up-to-the-minutebusiness sense. As advertisers moved into the early decades of the 20th century, theybegan to realize that a focus on the product’s “brand personality” instead of objectivefeatures could help differentiate them from nearly identical competititors.
  • 5. Kellogg’s Advertisement, 1934Playing on women’s anxieties both about being “modern” and about properly feeding theirchildren, this 1934 scene playfully casts the child in the position of authority. Taking awarm, mildly scolding tone, it subtly slips in consumer education about the new concept ofeating mass-produced, branded cereal for breakfast—all out of the mouths of babes. Whileadvertising had always, by necessity, been one of the biggest advocates for“modernity”, images of children and families were especially powerful during the GreatDepression.
  • 6. Lux Advertisement, 1940Beautiful, glamorous film star Rita Hayworth appears in this ad in a sexuallysuggestive but still-just-demure pose, showing off her radiant skin. This skinand beauty, the ad suggests, can be achieved by using Lux Soap--lessobvious is the implicit threat that men may not pay attention if you don’t. Ads ofthis period encouraged consumers to be distinctive through buying products.
  • 7. Chrysler Advertisement, 1951The dramatically posed scientists in this Chrysler ad exemplify what early 50sadvertising was all about—facts, logic, and good solid American innovation. Ads ofthis period often took a “hard sell” tactic, juxtaposing pictures with surprisingly densecopy that was later to be mocked by the innovators of advertising’s CreativeRevolution. The stereotypical “man in the gray flannel suit” viewed advertising as anoble art whose purpose was to give consumers as much information as possible.
  • 8. Volkswagen Advertisement, 1959The shocking juxtaposition of the tiny, stark Volkswagen car with the blank space ofthe rest of the page, combined with the seemingly self-deprecating copy, was whatmade Bill Bernbach, leader of advertising’s Creative Revolution famous. The style ofadvertising that predominated in the 1960s attempted to mirror counterculturalsentiments by using surprisingly uncoventional images and jokes, as well assometimes taking potshots at advertising itself.
  • 9. Pepsi Advertisement, 1965Close-up photography, “naturally” beautiful young women, a sense of sunnyoptimism—welcome to the advertising of the 60s, which sought to make “hippie”culture marketable to a broad audience. By borrowing from psychedelic art styles andtypefaces and appealing to “youthful” values like joy and energy, advertisers likePepsi implied that their products would make their customers not only cool, butyoung.
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