Vintage Holiday Advertising
Vintage Holiday Advertising. looking back at 50 – 70 years ago, vintage commercials are so cute and naive, to be completely happy you need a hoover in the morning, some bottles of pepsi and a pack of “Kent” the ideal Santa – drinking beer and smoking Turkish “Murad”, and we still sigh and say nostalgically old good times. Advertising, the promotion of goods or services through the use of slogans, images, and other attention-getting devices, has existed for thousands of years, but by the late 1990s in the United States it had become ubiquitous, permeating almost every aspect of American life. Advertising and brand logos appeared regularly on T-shirts, baseball caps, key chains, clothing, plastic cups and mugs, garbage cans, bicycle racks, parking meters, the bottom of golf cups, in public restrooms, on mouse pads, in public school hallways, and, for schools fortunate enough to be located near major airports, on school rooftops. The quest for new advertising venues never stopped-advertising has been placed on cows grazing near a highway (in Canada), and on the edible skins of hot dogs.
Still, before the 1920s, advertising was, by current standards, fairly crude. Patent medicines were advertised heavily during the late 1800s, and the dubious claims made by advertisers on behalf of these products tainted the advertising profession. But, by the turn of the century, the
new ‘‘science’’ of psychology was melded with advertising techniques, and within ten years advertising agencies—which had emerged in the late 1800s—and the men who worked for them began to gain some respectability as professionals who practiced the ‘‘science’’ of advertising and who were committed to the truth.
From the 1920s to the 1950s, advertisers and advertising dominated the major national media, both old (newspapers and magazines) and new (radio and television). The first radio advertisement was sent through the airwaves in 1922, and by the 1930s radio and its national
networks—the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) were a firmly entrenched part of American life.
In the 1950s, television quickly became the medium of choice for national advertisers, and about 90 percent of all U.S. households had sets by 1960. After that, audiences became increasingly fragmented for all media and advertising soon became targeted to particular markets. Magazines and radio led the way in niche marketing. In the 1950s, these media were immediately threatened by television’s mass appeal.
Coca-Cola advertising was some of the most memorable in the history of American business. Through the work of artists such as Norman Rockwell and Haddon Sundblom, images of Coca-Cola were
united with other aspects of American life. In fact, it was not until Sundblom, through a Coke advertisement, provided the nation with a depiction of the red-suited, rotund Santa Claus, that such an image (and by relation Coca-Cola) was identified with the American version of Christmas. Coke’s strategic marketing efforts, through magazines, billboards, calendars, and various other product giveaways emblazoned with the name Coca-Cola, made the product a part of American
culture. The success of Coke advertising gave the product an appeal that stretched far beyond its simple function as a beverage to quench the thirst. Coke became identified with things that were American, as much an icon as the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore.