Gimme Five! 2015 Christmas ads

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Christmas has officially begun – John Lewis has released it’s latest Christmas ad!

As expected, it’s a tear jerker. It was produced in conjunction with Age UK and features a lonely old man on the moon and a little girl spying him through a telescope from earth… a story accompanied by a beautiful rendition of Oasis’ Half the World Away performed by Aurora.

We’ve made a playlist of our 5 favourite new 2015 Christmas ads… enjoy!

Bookmarks: Advertising from the Mad Men Era

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"Advertising from the Mad Man Era" with martini and cigarette in a mid-century modern glass ashtray

In this week’s Bookmarks post we’ve been taking a look at  Mid-century Ads: Advertising from the Mad Men Era by Steven Heller & Jim Heimann … and it certainly has been a long look – this book’s a leviathan!

the two volumes of "Advertising from the Mad Man Era"

It’s a twin volume, magnum opus of mid 20th century American ads covering many of the well known, not so well known, long extinct and still going strong corporations and brands. It takes us on a journey from quite literal ads heavy on copy & pictorialism to the modernist approaches incorporating abstraction, satire and visual simplicity.

book spines of "Advertising from the Mad Man Era"

The volumes are divided into decades – the 1950s and the 1960s.

inside front cover of "Advertising from the Mad Man Era"

The inside covers have an illustrated time line of advertising landmarks, followed by an introductory overview of the decade – then page after page after page of fabulous examples of advertising from the era.

contents page of "Advertising from the Mad Man Era"

Advertising in the mid-century modern era was all about feeding the populace ideas of success and affluence…

vintage advert with a poem entitled "Crossing"

 …how to achieve it, how to achieve the outward appearance of having it and, most of all, how to go about spending the fruits of it!

1950s airline advert for 880

The United States’ national GDP rose from £100 billion in 1940 to a staggering £500 billion in 1960.

1950s advert for Braniff Airways to Rio

The advertising industry grew rapidly in direct correlation to this ever-increasing disposable income.

1950s airline advert for TWA

As well as mass expansion in air travel, the 1950s were also a period of big, fast cars – affordable to more people than ever before.

1950s advert for Chevrolet

Cinema was at its height, new electrical goods were being invented or improved, convenience food products being developed and new fashions appearing.

1950s advert for Olivetti Lettera typewriters

With the ongoing prosperity and conspicuous consumption, interior decoration was a popular pastime and useful way of expressing one’s taste, showing off and “keeping up with the Jones'”. Weren’t we all transfixed by the interior design of the sets of the Stirling Cooper office, Don & Megan’s Manhattan love nest?

1950s advert for Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola was a staple of the US troops and its popularity soared post-war. Lots more women were going out to work – and every secretary needed her Olivetti typewriter! The development & growth of such products into huge brands led to the possibility of a distinct form of promotion – the snappy picture & tag-line creations often referred to “Big Idea” advertising – the “Marlboro Man” series being a classic example.

1950s advert for the film Barbarella

The Mad Men era was an innocent, in some ways more uncomplicated time – pre-Post-Feminism and political correctness.

1950s advert for Marlboro cigarettes

Most 21st century Americans would wince at using babies to flog cigarettes!

1950s advert for Gulf Oil

And no oil company today would have the nerve to use a whale to advertise oil!

1950s advert for Budweiser beer

The industry inevitably absorbed the social changes of the wider world – it began to recognise the strength of the “Black dollar”…

1950s advert for Cameo Stockings

…and with the expanding female workforce, the female dollar too.

1950s advert for Catalina Swimsuits

Other outside influences seemed to pass the advertising world by – there’s not much sign civil rights movement, student protests or the Vietnam War!

1960/70s advert with Twiggy modelling a maxi dress

The advertising hotbeds of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles &  San Francisco held onto a more idealistic view of the world, but their output still reflects many aspects of mid 20th century society.

1950s advert for fashion fabrics

There’s a really interesting 3-minute slideshow on the BBC website where Tashen America‘s executive editor, Jim Heimann describes the images and the role they played in shaping modern culture.

1950s advert for Colombia hi fi

There’s lots of great artwork, graphics, typography & photography to feast your eyes upon in the two volumes – over 600 pages in total!

1950s advert for blood

So treat yourself to a copy – or even better, put it on your birthday or Christmas pressie list. Then settle yourself into a comfy chair and wallow in all the mid century wonderfulness!!!

Mid-century Ads: Advertising from the Mad Men Era is available from Amazon and Hive

[Many thanks to Taschen for this review copy]