Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You'll be glad tomorrow

Wednesday Advertising Day

Up till now I have concentrated on the cartoon comic strip ads, apart from the Eveready ads by Greig Flessel I have been showcasing.Realistically drawn ads were in the majority in the forties and even in the fifties, they made up almost 50% of the ads. The style used for these ads, was the general 'advertising realism' style, that has it's basis in the more realistic work of Alex Raymond. One of the most influential artists in creating this style was Lou Fine. Fine worked for Will Eisner and Quality comics in the early forties and was admired by everyone for his free flowing energy and lyricism. He took the best of Raymond's Flash Gordon and added comic strip storytelling. After influencing everyone (including Will Eisner and Jack Kirby), he slowly reigned in his style, until it had become almost dull and boring in it's realistic depiction of everyday life and people. This style was uniquely suited for advertising soon he became one of the early stars of comic strip ads. Flessel said in one of his interviews that he didn't see Lou Fine a lot at Johnstone and Cushing, because he joined forces with another artist in the late forties. Because I don't know which ads were done by Johnstone and Cuching in a faux Fine style and which were done by Lou Fine himself, it is hard for me to see which ad is done by which artist. At Johnstone and Cushing artists such as Stan Drake and Leonard Starr worked out their own version of that style and seemed to have been very successful at it. Carl Wexler joined in as well, although it seem to me that he came more from the Milton Caniff side of the spectrum. Others used a bit of both.

Just as with the cartoon ads, these things were done in series. I am starting with another Eveready ad, Greig Flessel's long running series of true adventures with batteries. The Nebisco ad that follows it is done in a similar style (but by another artist) and format. This did not turn into a longrunning series.

Another popular way to use comic strips in advertising, is to have celebrity endorsments in cartoon form. I guess, that way thecelebrities could always say: "It wasn't me, it was only a drawing!" These were particulary popular with the sigarette ads. Here are a couple of third tier celebrities doing their comic strip thing...

But Camels were not the only company doing this. Here is a great Lucille Ball ad for Philip Morris. After that another Philip Morris ad, with possibly the worst slogan ever deviced: "tomorrow you'll be glad you smoked Philip Morris today." Yeah, right.

Finally, another very popular series... Mr. Coffee Nerves. In the late thirties and early forties, some the most famous of these were drawn by Milt Caniff and Noel Sickles. But towards the ens of the forties, other artist had taken over. And as we can see from this ad, it wasn't just parents they were adressing anymore.

Imagin, giving your kids a chemical to calm them down so they won't turn into criminals... aren't you glad we don't do that anymore?

I don't usually refer to other blogs (others are better at it than me and more complete), but I have to make a not of the fact that The Fortress of Fortitude has a couple of Basil Wolverton's Culture Corner strips. I love these but would never buy whole issues of Captain Marvel to get them. Apparently there are about fifty... seems like enough for a nice book to me.

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