Friday, November 30, 2007

Wow II.

The above graphic is from the same 1954 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog that show the canned ladies below.

Here, attention is turned towards Men's Jammies.

Nostalgia is the devil's mirror - the golden, glorious America of the 1950's produced some of the weirdest STUFF in history. Maybe as a Newtonian backlash against the Depression and deprivation of WWII, consumers clamored for the goods...and here, in its bold form, were what Good Men of 1954 would wear to dreamland.

How's a respectable dad supposed to yell at his kids wearing THOSE?!

"I want this room cleaned up in FIVE MINUTES!"

"Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!"

"Honey, these kids won't listen to me!"

"You look like an inmate, dear..."

And their expressions - look at Dude #4. I can just hear him lisp to #3, "I was kinda thinkin' we'd stay up late charades, maybe scare the know...can we?"

The above illustration is rather mysterious. if not unnerving - I believe it's supposed to show how these particular pajamas have reinforced crotches to last "2 1/2 times longer." Longer than...paper towels? Burlap?

Maybe crotch-seam failure was a big deal in 1954. Nevertheless, the importance of the illustration of two hands grabbing the insides of the poor guy's thighs is lost on me - apparently, Jammie Shoppers understood.

"Honey, well look here! Someone FINALLY got wise and added nylon reinforcement! I tell ya' if this forward-thinking keeps up, America will be on the moon by 1970!"

A second look at our Jammie Models makes me wonder if #3 isn't explaining the features of nylon reinforced seams to #4?

Lastly, perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this scan - the "Slack Pajamas" shown in the upper right. For the guy who combs his hair before bed, Slack Pajamas must make total sense.

Oh well. It's late and I have to hit the hay myself - but first, in 50's fashion, I'll style my hair, iron my pajama tops and make sure my seams haven't worn completely through.

More scans to come...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The above scan is from a 1954 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog.

Though the image is rather frightening, it's very real. In fact, back in '54, Sears sold enough to occupy FIFTEEN PAGES!!

These aren't little boutique-mailer pages - they're BIG HONKIN PAGES chock FULL of women bound up, swaddled, stretched, packed and shoved into these devices.

Women actually WORE these things?!

Fashion is nothing short of cruel - put your thumb over their heads and it's not hard to visualize the image as a space vehicle from Star Wars - they're like that biscuit dough that comes packed in a tube; a quick whack on the counter and the dough pops out the side with a kind of "PSsshhhk!" noise.

I bet a sudden seam failure could generate thrust!

Anyway, since there's a plethora of antique ads - real and Photoshopped - going through the Net right now, I thought I'd share some of the more interesting images from my own collection of old publications.

More to come - and if you think these cotton sausages are wild, just wait.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Speckles that Sparkle.

The above graphic is a scan of a pack of Orbitz® chewing gum.

The scan below is a detail.

Here's the deal - and this is straight from the box:

Chewing 2 pieces of Orbit White after eating and drinking helps: • remove stains and whiten teeth based on an 8-week clinical test"

Put aside that you have to eat this stuff 6+/day for 56 DAYS to experience the "help" in removing stains and whiten teeth.

Try to dismiss any mental images of what a "Melon Breeze" is like. (I'm seeing people running in terror under a hail of cantalopes - orange splats on concrete, people hiding under cars, window panes shattering...)

Ignore the quirky dance-move illustration that suggests you play basketball with the trashcan.

Focus on the mysterious two-words "...sparkling speckles."

Not mere speckles - SPARKLING speckles.

Just the other day, I was in the Speckle Aisle at the store, checking the list to make sure I got the right Speckles for the week and I didn't see any Sparkling Speckles. Of course, Orbit White might be buying all of them up - hoarding the precious supply to ensure exclusivity.

Bah...I can't go on. Too much cynicism makes me lose my shimmer.

Nevertheless, take the "sparkle" challenge yourself and look for those odd, mysterious bits of copy that promise so much but mean nothing.

It takes effort to write copy that truly sparkles, but not as much effort as 8 pieces of gum every day for nearly two months.

Or standing outside during a Melon Breeze.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Emperor's old clothes.

I found the graphic above at a's a jar of Video brand strawberry preserves. Don't laugh.

Names are important - in one glance, the name "says" who, what, why, when, how...pretty important stuff for a product to say.

Did "Video" mean electronic jelly? Preserves that were a conduit for moving images?

Or was the name merely the cynical spit of some cigar-chomping wiseguy - "We need sumthin' snappy! Somethin'the kids'n moms that television thing. Video they call it. That's it! We'll name our jam VIDEO!"

Silly now...but that's the thing with fashion. It seems like a good idea at the time. Like naming a jar of preserves after the current wave of tech. Can you imagine "Bluetooth Jam"?

But even spot-on names & products can spawn the marketing dry-heaves...

"Honey, these hamburgers just taste...well, like barf. They need something..."

"Like a lift?"

"Yeah! A lift! These burgers need a LIFT!"

Wonder what would happen if someone tried to introduce such mysterious packaging NOWdays?! Don't bring up "Hamburger Helper" - that box is so full of copy, even a first-grader can discern the threat of eating dredge.

As much as I stand to profit from clients who want to design "new" and "improved" there's always that gnawing knowledge that someone CAN get it right the first time.

Wouldn't have any trouble picking Bayer® off the shelf today...and just as well.

Packaging circa 1955.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Apocalypse has been delayed.

The above graphic is the splashpage for Batter Blaster - squirt-on pancake & waffle batter.

Sweet jiminy on a stove, human genius is alive!

I promise these guys aren't a client...they're not even buddies. They could be pod-people from Planet X but one thing is for sure - BATTER BLASTER MAKES SENSE!


"Oh man...didn't we just finally finish cleaning up from LAST YEAR?!"

No more giant bowls, powder, oil...or chipping dried batter off the floor. Just tip & spray...and flip when toasty brown.

All "Batter Blaster" has to do is taste good and they should have a hit. Blueberry, apple & cinammon, strawberry & bannana...I'm there already and I haven't even seen the stuff in real life!

PS - I called BB to make sure they were fer-real. They are. They're nice, too. From the sounds of things, they're a small company that's working hard to make a go. If you see BB, I hope you give it a try and even more, I hope it lives up to its promise.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A photographer's last day at "Intuitive Surgical, Inc."

The photo above is from an article in a regional "guy" magazine - PRIME - that touts the latest advances in "robotic surgery" at a local hospital.

Do you see the quantum leap in medical technology?

Do you see the improved health & being of the patient?

Do you see the surgeon honing his/her already razor-sharp expertise?


Do you see a doctor with his head in an elephant's arse while the nurse spazzes around an empty gurney...?

Oh. Man.

It's one thing when your latest'n greatest tech is abstract and hard to photograph. It's another when the photographer simply gets everything wrong.

No offense to Prime Magazine - they're doing alittle advertorial using photography supplied by the robotic surgery machine's manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

"Intuitive Surgical,Inc." - seeing how they approve photoshoots, I'd change the word "Intuitive" to something more appropriate.

How about: "Gut-feeling Surgical, Inc."?

That leads to: "Butt-feeling Surgical"!

Oh man...the punchlines are coming fast now...

"At our hospital, it only LOOKS like the surgeons have their heads up their butts."


Bada-bing, bada boom.