As we speed ahead towards Christmas Day, either from a religious or commercial POV, I sometimes find it hard to slow down and actually enjoy the many events along the way. Too often my mind races ahead, eager to check off that mental to-do list rather than focus on the here-and-now.
With that in mind, I rescued a wonderful Archie Comic issue from a comic shop’s bargain box! Wonderland Comics in Rochester, NY, always has so many scrumptious treasures available.
It’s Laugh #203 from February 1968, which means it was probably on sale around Christmas of 1967. Veronica, Betty and Mr. Lodge are admiring a retailer’s window, which features paper dresses. This was a short-lived fad, popular from ’66 to ’68. Current movie fans may have revisited this craze in the stylish new movie Last Night in Soho. It’s a brilliant movie and highly recommended.
Back when magazines were a big deal, advertising executives called the back cover “Cover 4”. It was usually the most expensive ad page. The thought process was that readers had a 50-50 chance of seeing the front cover or the back cover.
Cover 4 for this issue features a wonderful Christmas Ad. It’s curious to readers today but certainly was “normal” back in the day. Kids loved their bicycles a generation or two ago. Bike ads, and ads for bike related items (tires, brakes, speedometers, etc.).
This ad, from the Stewart-Warner Instrument Division (obviously not named in hopes of creating Christmas “must-haves” for kids) for their Cadet Speedometer. It’s a special speedometer that kids would put on their bikes.
Today, of course, bikers like me just use the Strava app. Yes, there’s now an app that has replaced this product.
This wonderful ad has the Mad Men feel to it. It’s clever and upbeat. It’s not particularly inclusive to consumers who don’t celebrate Christmas, either. The copy [the words in the ad] were thoughtfully written and creatively designed, with an alternating placement, as if two speakers were “talking” (or singing?) to the reader. And back in 1968, it was assumed that kids were going READ the damn ad. It wasn’t about one big graphic image and a logo; instead, it was about romancing the consumer with a conversation.
There’s no focus on product benefits here. This ad isn’t about the joy a bike rider can experience when she’s whooshing down a steep hill at top speed. This ad is all about the product features instead. Continue reading “With Further Ado #177: Speeding into Christmas”