Tag: Wal-Mart

What’s so funny about insurance?

What’s so funny about insurance?

Advertising
It used to be that insurance commercials were created to convey one thing above all else — a feeling of total security and warm fuzziness that Company X was going to be there for you after your house blew up or your car got flattened by a rampaging elephant. Ad campaigns from agencies like Nationwide, State Farm, and Allstate were full of sensible people making sensible decisions. The slogans drove this theme home even more succinctly: Nationwide was on your side, you were in good hands with Allstate, and so on. But somewhere along the way things changed and insurance companies decided to start getting a bit cutesy with their ads. The Aflac Duck (voiced by the unlikely pitchman Gilbert Gottfried) debuted nationally in 1999, while local companies such as Chicago-based Eagle Insuranc
Now with 15% more words!

Now with 15% more words!

Advertising
By now you've probably seen the ad campaign for Pepsi's so-called "Throwback" soda.  The main selling point is that it's made with real sugar, which of course only serves to point out that their usual product is not (it is of course made with high fructose corn syrup, which is evil, but that's for another time).  (Incidentally, you can also find "Throwback" Mountain Dew and "Heritage" Dr. Pepper for a limited time.) So PepsiCo now finds itself in the awkward position of trying to sell their limited-edition product by making their flagship product seem less desirable or outright inferior by comparison.  After all, any sane person watching an ad touting Throwback Pepsi as being made with real sugar might ask themselves, "So what's in the Pepsi I drink now?  And is it any good?"  It's a bo
The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

Ephemera, History
One of the really cool things about the internet is that now everyone who can get there can get access to a treasure trove of historical documents and photographs that were previously the domain of hardened researchers or supergeeks.  All you need is some time to spare and the desire to take a look at our country's not-so-distant past, and some great stuff is there for the asking.  Case in point, the Library of Congress WPA poster gallery I highlighted a few years ago. This time we're going to look at something even cooler - highlights from a LoC collection of photographs from the 1930s and '40s... in color!  While the subject matter isn't necessarily scintillating on all these, the opportunity to see life as it really looked back then is a rare treat indeed.  Something about seeing a s
View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 7 of 7

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 7 of 7

Ephemera
That's right, kids, our look back at Ye Olde New Jersey is finally at an end! And since one of the main purposes of this little photo essay was to show just how much the state has changed over the last 50 years, perhaps few slides illustrate it like this one -- Broad Street in Newark. The cars (and buses), the people, the buildings -- they all seem so different to me. That big red sign on the left? Why that's none other than F.W. Woolworth, known to you and me as the now-defunct Woolworth's. Woolworth's was the first great five-and-dime chain store, and was a precursor to discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Check out the sweet signage on the lower left. Who uses eyeglass frames like that to advertise a business anymore? Don't bother looking it up -- no one does. This ...
Two Guys, We Hardly Knew Ye

Two Guys, We Hardly Knew Ye

Ephemera
I never pass up an opportunity to purchase a reminder of my childhood. Toys, books, music, you name it. I got just such an opportunity a few years ago at a flea market in Dover, New Jersey. I was just about to leave this one particularly interesting booth empty-handed when I spotted a bag of these beauties: I don't smoke, so purchasing a bag of matchbooks probably seems like a silly idea. But you see, that's how nostalgia works. And besides, it was like a dollar for the whole bunch. Back in the day (up until the early '80s), the name Two Guys was synonymous in the Northeast with discount stores. It was sort of the Wal-Mart of its day, minus the shady business practices. A typical family outing to Two Guys could yield everything to new records (the vinyl kind) to a window ...