Retrotisements

Vintage (and some not-so-vintage) advertisements from print, TV, and radio.

Retrotisements — Marlboro Cigarettes

Retrotisements — Marlboro Cigarettes

Retrotisements
Yeah, I know that most of the old ads I post have to do with cigarettes. For some reason I have always been fascinated by cigarette advertising. I guess part of it is that these types of ads might have been some of the first to market a lifestyle as much as a product. I mean sure, they all talked about the "flavor" and even the reduced tar levels — ignoring the point that they had any tar at all — but what it really boiled down to was that these companies had to find a way to make a smoke inhalation device seem appealing. Watching them find ways to rise to the challenge has always interested me. Oreos pretty much sell themselves after all. Same with beer and cars. But flammable paper tubes that allow you to suck on hot smoke? Now that takes marketing acumen. Marlboro is of course synony
Retrotisements – Telephone technology

Retrotisements – Telephone technology

Advertising, Retrotisements
With the release of the much-ballyhooed iPhone just around the corner, I thought I'd take a look at a few other telephone innovations of the past. Satellite phone service While satellite phone service is no big deal now - and has in fact been eclipsed by cell phones in terms of sheer usage - this 1960 ad from Douglas (pre-McDonnell) recalls a time when the technology was very much new and exciting (the first American satellite, Explorer I, had only been launched in late January 1958). Picturephone   Other than jet-powered cars, few things scream "FUTURE!" like videophones. This 1968 ad from Western Electric (the manufacturing arm of AT&T) promised to bring the future to the present through the introduction of the Picturephone, but for a variety of reasons it flopped...
Retrotisement – Career Club Shirts

Retrotisement – Career Club Shirts

Advertising, Retrotisements
I'm willing to accept that 'fashionable' is a relative term, one whose definition changes almost daily. So I can see how his ugly-ass belt -- as well as her entire outfit -- might have been considered pretty hip back in the day. But you will never convince me that this grotesque farce of a 'dance' was ever popular, let alone socially acceptable. This was published in 1967 -- the dawn of the Psychedelic Era in the United States, as well as the height of Motown's popularity. As this ad shows, never has the disconnect between advertising executives and the youth culture of America been thrown so sharply into focus. (Yes, I do know that the Skate was in fact a real dance. But man oh man, was it ever white bread. Guess that's what you look like when you spend most of your adolesc...
Retrotisement – 1967 Magnavox TV

Retrotisement – 1967 Magnavox TV

Advertising, Retrotisements
You can have your fancy-pants plasma HDTVs -- for my money ($339.50 to be precise) there is nothing better than this Magnavox beauty. It's everything a TV should be - large, wooden, and... well, large and wooden. And classy? Mister (or miss), this friggin' set oozes class. It comes with its own flower arrangement and tambour doors. I have no idea what tambour doors are, but I want them. Perfect for kicking back on a Saturday afternoon and watching that local yacht team. Oh yeah, there's also a small one available for all you Neanderthal football fans. You get a tray.
Retrotisement – Skippy Peanut Butter

Retrotisement – Skippy Peanut Butter

Advertising, Retrotisements
It's no understatement to say that I love old commercials. So much so that I plunked down 10 bucks just to own some of them. And I especially love commercials of the 1950s, most of which display a cheerful lack of cynicism so often found today. In a lot of cases, we get treated to some really great animation or stop-motion photography. There are, however, some real odd entries in the canon of classic advertising. Like, say, this circa 1958 ad for Skippy Peanut Butter. The commercial starts off with a brief history lesson (the true sign of a rip-roaring ad) - "Fifty to sixty years ago, people were introduced to peanut butter for the first time." (Incidentally, it turns out that George Washington Carver did not actually invent peanut butter.) These "people," i...
Retrotisement – NFL Deluxe Electronic Football

Retrotisement – NFL Deluxe Electronic Football

Advertising, Retrotisements
Hot on the heels of the wildly popular Mattel Football handheld game, Tudor Games released NFL DELUXE Electronic Football in 1980. Toy companies are certainly no stranger to hyperbole, but I think even by their standards this ad strains the limits of credibility. I have to hand it to any kid who could play this and envision themselves in the Super Bowl. Speaking of which - people, Super Bowl is two words, not one. No one ever writes about the Rosebowl or the Meineke Car Carebowl. Sorry, that's just a major pet peeve of mine. Anyway, I am curious about one thing - if this is the DELUXE version of NFL Electronic Football, what does the regular version look like? A circuit board with the NFL logo on it? Well thanks to Google, now I know. It looks like this. Oh yes, a huge improvement. ...
Retrotisement – Triumph cigarettes

Retrotisement – Triumph cigarettes

Retrotisements
I say any time you can incorporate your company's name with an advertising slogan, that's a stroke of genius. So what exactly is the "UMPH!" in Triumph cigarettes? Carbon monoxide? Formaldehyde? Whatever it is, it's AWESOME! And let's give it up for our ciggy spokespeople, who are totally rocking the earth tones here. Tweed Jacket seems torn between the realizations that his nicotine-stained fingernails now match his pants, and the much cooler fact that he can totally flip people off with his strategically placed cigarette. Meanwhile, Pleated Skirt is poised to satisfy her craving by sinking her teeth right into Tweed Jacket's jugular, thus obtaining for herself some of that sweet, sweet Umph!
Video Game Daze: Coleco Tabletop Pac-Man

Video Game Daze: Coleco Tabletop Pac-Man

Advertising, Games & Toys, Retrotisements
Growing up, I was never very much into arcades. When it came to whiling away the precious days and weeks of my youth, I preferred to play video games at home. And in the early '80s there were plenty of platforms to choose from. One of the most interesting was the series of tabletop arcade games produced by Coleco. Coleco's strategy for miniaturizing video games apparently involved three crucial elements - A satin jacket, oversized navigator-style sunglasses and some jiggly hands. Being only 7 years old in 1982, I lacked the jacket and sunglasses. Therefore I had to wait until my birthday to receive my own tabletop arcade game. I ended up with Pac-Man, the undisputed king of video games in the 1980s (until he was dethroned in a bloodless coup by a seemingly harmless Italian plumber)....
The Best $9.99 I’ve Ever Spent (Part 1)

The Best $9.99 I’ve Ever Spent (Part 1)

Advertising, Retrotisements
A few years ago I stumbled across a product I never thought I'd see -- a two-DVD set of nothing but old TV commercials. Now, to most people this probably sounds like the dumbest concept in the history of ever. But to me, finding this was better than finding 10 bucks behind the sofa. In a testament to my bizarre notion of what is entertaining, I think I've watched it at least 5 or 6 times already. I don't know if this could really qualify as nostalgia for me, since the bulk of these commercials originally aired years before I was born, so it's not as if I'm using these to return me to my childhood. The set is priced at $9.99 for a reason. The video quality of a lot of these commercials is marginal, which is understandable. A 30 or 40-year old Hamm's Beer commercial doesn't exactly warran...