When was the golden age of advertising,can it be true that it's now? by Greta Medelyte Level 5 BAGD
The golden age of advertising is said to be the 1960’s1970’s because of the creative revolution though there are many different opinions that it might have been the 50’s or some say that it might be right now when technology has changed the way we see the world, the way we communicate and even the way we handle our daily lives. Others say that advertising is dying just because we are being bombarded by unnecessary commercials on TV and online doesn’t mean that there are none of the good advertising out there. So can we actually determine when the golden age was and why it was at that point and time? For once lets look and analyze at each decades positives and negatives in advertising.
The 1960’s and early 70’s is thought to be the golden age of advertising and as much as we would like to think that it is a creative revolution stimulated by genius creative minds as nothing before we might underestimate the power of circumstances? There is more to advertising than just plain images, in order to understand the power and how effective or different it was in the times there is a crucial importance to understand the times and the history. Was the 1960’s the best time for a creative revolution ? Of course, with the help of President Kennedy and his economy growth plan things improved vastly in U.S.. In early 1963 inflation was stable, corporate profits were at a record high, and the stock market had rebounded, but unemployment was still too high at 5.7 percent.With the corporate sales increasing and new businesses starting off the competition has become dense and advertising was needed more than ever before. The modern days brought revolution in the way people shopped and ate, there were also new forms of entertainment and a loads of new big brands launched off. The circumstances were perfect for advertising to flourish.The media platforms might have been limiting (compared to nowadays) and the ad agencies
provided not only the ads but the spaces for the advertisements bought from the publishers of magazines and newspapers (‘The real mad men’,2011). Only from 1969 George P. Rowell released the first comprehensive guide to media rates, that changed the game for the advertising agencies they started depending on the creative side more than before. Which launched off the platform for great creative minds and copywriters. A huge contribution of 60’s being called the creative revolution was the sexy, brave and outrageous lifestyle conveyed into ads and running alongside within the agencies. The way we perceive the 1960’s as the golden age of advertising might be because of the public figures that came from that age such as George Lois, Roger Sterling and many other advertising giants that hit the world in 1960’s. It might be one of the consequences of having more individualism and more structure in ad agencies.The ownership of idea was clearer than it is right now as Matt Nelson from Tribal DDB claims ‘every member of our team is creative and we believe a good idea can come from anywhere’.That means that there is less ownership over idea because the ideas are shared and changed and developed by many people. ‘The business of advertising wasn’t without it’s principles and principled people’ (‘The real mad men’,2011) such said explains the character and one man drive in those times. Maybe there was more of a personal opinion included more than in the 21st century where there is more of collaboration and compromise not only within the creative team but clients as well. In the 60’s People were looking for heroes, they were looking for people that would tell them what to do so there were people that would happily do that.
There appears to be more than one controversion about the golden age of advertising being 1960’s as the TV series ‘Mad Men’ appear to made the whole nation believe. Some ad giants believe that 1950’s was that golden age because of the absolutely amazing and genius (might not be good but still brilliant) cigarette advertising methods. Tobacco advertising was banned in mid 60’s in UK, beginning of 70’s in US and only early 90’s in whole Europe. As strange as it may seem but the most recognizable and memorable cigarette advert ‘The Marlboro man’ even for the generations to come that were non
existent in that time when the adverts were lunched know ‘Marlboro Man’. The Marlboro man campaign created by Leo Burnett became national in 1955 and increased Marlboro sales up to $5 billion and kept increasing each year until 1964, the company revived the cowboy but this time he was in mythical Marlboro Country by the time TV ads were banned in 1971 (US), Leo Burnett launched a printed version of the campaign and in 1971 Marlboro cigarettes became the no.1 cigarette brand in the world. The cigarette compaign was based around the idea of a free American iconic man, there was power,passion and control reflected in one iconis advertisement, even when the cigarette comercials were band the Marlboro man stayed in peoples mind for decades. Now we have more limitations and that not only includes Tobacco. Some commercials can only be shown after a certain hour, there are considerations to ban ads that are directed to children. Maybe all these limitations tho done for a purpose but limit creativity. Just recently a poster promoting an energy drink called ‘pussy’ was baned. The ad campaign, which used the strapline "The drink's pure, it's your mind that's the problem" alongside the word "pussy" in large type, attracted almost 160 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority and later on was banned. That has happened in early days as well. In 1974, the U.S. Department of justice brought an artistic lawsuit over the campaign ‘Reach out and touch someone’ where they used a wordplay with the word ‘Hello’ and ‘Halo’. Later in the year the adverts got even more provocative and disturbing when added a mother that has just received a call from her dead son.
Considering the amount of media that we have right now and the technological development me might be living in the golden age of advertising right now. Though it might seem that there are more restrictions and the ad world is run more through the client needs rather than the creativity and still there are viral and worldwide adds that are being released every day. The advertising agencies have developed in the most interesting and unexpected ways. starting from the roles of workers and ending in approaches or methods that are being used. MATT NELSON a member on DDB (well known advertising agency) says that ‘at Tribal DDB, every member of our team is creative and we believe a good idea can come from anywhere. Everyone’s a little bit of a strategist, account manager, new business person yet each of us has our own specialized role based on an area of expertise. We work together, not in silos.’ Which just proves the point raised before that the clarity and ownership (in 1960’s) of idea has disappeared within the agency (21st cent), nevertheless there are still some companies that are known because of their art directors and yet no one like Leo Burnett or George Lois. Not only the structure in the agencies have changed but ranks and age perception as well when in 1960’s there were a lot of possibility for young talent to shine and develop nowadays we rarely see it, there is this cursed word called ‘experience’ that everyone is looking for and noone provides. In 1960’s there was youth movement on the go, there were a lot of talented young and motivated people and though there still is young talented people but the way the industry and society perceives yong (mid 20’s) people nowadays is different from what it was in mid 60’s. Not only that but the consumer from 50’s/60’s has changed so much as Dan Wieden said in his interview for ‘2020 vision’ that the new generation of consumers are not going to sit there and except the products and messaging. They want to be part of the action and if the clients are smart they have to understand that they are not the president of communication system that they are one person in communication with millions of people so they have to listen. D.Wieden also raises the question of interaction and how new media is used in advertising, he explains that in order for the idea to work it has to be well delivered through a range of media. The problem with that is that consumers have developed their tastes and there are more of a target audience in the 21’s century, the only doubt about the advertising
being the golden age now is that it’s everywhere and there is a lot of bad annoying advertisement everywhere in the mid 60’s people were bombarded with disturbing TV ads and didn’t appreciate that as well, so even in the so called and believed to be ‘golden age of advertising’ consumers were annoyed with some of the booming adverts as it is now just through many media sources. Although there is a change that is presumed to happen because those annoying bombarding adverts on TV are being more and more proved to be useless and ineffective. Presumably we are looking to a brighter disturbing adfree times as soon as the clients understand the changes and except them or agencies take responsibility for their own creations. Funny enough this type of ‘annoying’ advertising was found in the 60’s as well ‘Times’ wrote that ‘the average american is now exposed to 10,000 TV commercials a year. As the number increases so do admen’s worries about ‘overexposure’.’ Rosser Reeves (an ad man in 1960’s) was the antiChrist of aoying adverts one was created on purposely to annoy people to the point they would get a headache and the ad for Anacin was just that, obviously it worked because the sales increased. So the same problem existed in both eras.
Cocacola has been always known for amazing advertising through centuries let’s take a look how much better or maybe not the ad’s of the 50’s/ 60's/ 70’s and 21st century are and have been and try to figure out when was the golden age of advertising thought this brand's advertising companies . In the 1950’s Asa Candler (the time president of CocaCola company) had an idea to promote coca cola as the drink for a break and refreshments that applied really well for the target audience who were mainly everyone who were working to rebuild the economy. ‘Work refreshed’ was the slogan for that company and at times it was received successfully. They delivered the message well through a range of different contexts.In the 60’s the times were overtaken by the vorries of the Vietnam war and Free love period in which Coke contained the same message as in the 60’s though they included some jingles “Things go better with Coke’. There were a lot of celebrities involved in the campaign and it worked out on Coke’s favour and they celebrated another decade of success. In the late 1969, Coke came up with the slogan "The Real Thing." To go along
with this slogan was a 1971 ad featuring a diverse group of young people. The ad is recognized by many people. It was filmed on an Italian hillside, and all of the people are singing a familiar songs: "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony/I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company."This ad held the ideals that Coke ads from years before have held. It had a world appeal, and it associated Coke with friendship.In 2013 Coka Cola once again hit the world with a paowerful compaign, simple concept as sharing they turned into a massive obsession trough social media and real life experiance proving that now more than ever the consumers involement in the action is crutial. ‘Share a Coke’ campaign included the logo on the cans/bottles changed into popular name, shaking up the world to share the bottle with the person that the name is on. From the very launch of the campaign the acceptance was more than successful. The one thing that Coke has never forgotten was the world appeal and the awareness of of events in the world, that makes all of their advertising campaigns successful leaving us again with the same question. When was the golden age, or maybe it never passed?
In 1960’s the cocacola company developed a new campaign and not only the campaign was new but the advertising company as well, after 50 years of collaboration with A’Darcy the cocacola company changed to McCannErickson. The new campaign was developed and 1960’s became “Things Go Better with Coke”. For this campaign, there was a number and quality of ads produced, and the number of top music stars involved. this time the cocacola not only delivered the message through a range of different contexts but every possible media for those times involving radio, TV, print and music production. Again big hit for the company that even in those days used the best of what they had.
The upcoming generation might call the 21st century the golden age of advertising while we think it was the 5070’s. There is no way to determine on which era was better in advertising because they were all different technologically, economically and politically. There apparently seems a consistency of ‘bad’ advertising through all the decades, the problem of repetitive and disruptive advertising has existed in any age of advertising, even more in the 21’s century because advertising has become more available than ever but seemingly there is a change comin this way as Dan Wieden predicts, he also predicts the return of great advertising which as is happening right now. There has been many theories stating that different times of period was the ‘golden age’ of advertising many of which were to believed to be the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s but many advertisers believe the ‘golden age’ to be NOW. It is left for us to be the judges of when the golden age really was or is.As a consideration I am going to quote ‘Midnight in Paris’ ‘Nostalgia is denial denial of the painful present... the name for this denial is golden age thinking the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.’
Julian Sivulka (2012). Soap, sex and cigarettes, a cultural history of American advertising. 2nd ed. Wadsworth: Michael Rosenberg. 235236.
Stephane Pincas & Marc Loiseau (2006). A history of advertising. Hohenzollernring: Mundocom. 85131.
George Lois (2012). Damn Good Advice. New York: Phaidon Press Inc.. 30.
Andrew Cracknell (2011). The real mad men. London: Quercus. 1632.
Matt Neslon. (2012). FORGET "MAD MEN"NOW IS THE GOLDEN ERA FOR
ADVERTISING. Available: http://www.fastcompany.com/1825591/forgetmadmennowgoldeneraadvertising. Last accessed 2013 05 05.
freetvaust. (2012). 2020 Vision: A Creative Perspective with Dan Wieden. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgfqys_pkAo. Last accessed 2013 05 12.
Coca Cola. (). The 1970's: More Years of Epic Advertising. Available: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring08/Cantwell/20thcent/70.html. Last accessed 2012 05 04.
Philip Tetley Jones. (2013). The golden age of advertising. It’s now..Available: http://tetleyjones.co.nz/copywriting/thegoldenageofadvertisingitsnow/. Last accessed 2013 05 01.
. (). US History. Available: http://elcoushistory.tripod.com/economics1960.html. Last accessed 2013 05 14.