Jul 8, 2008

Madison Avenue History

“The Real Men and Women of Madison Avenue” at the Science, Industry and Business Library is an exhibition sponsored by the One Club, the advertising’s nonprofit arm that, according to Mary Warlick, the chief executive of the One Club and co-curator of the exhibition: “Wanted to capture the people who were at the top of their game and really did change advertising.”

The exhibition spans 80 years of iconic images and slogans, looking at the lives and the work of the copywriters, art directors and creative directors who have successfully helped shape American consumption and culture.

They do have most of the "classics" but also some gems from the past that we do not see so often, like this 1986 ad for the Episcopal Church...

Church Ad

Agency: Tom and Fallon McElligot

Isn't it great?

But going back to history, I have always sustained that through advertising you can tell a lot about a country's psychology.

In that sense, the same goes for the history of advertising. When seeing ads from the past, is easy to realize how our habits, manners and values have changed. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worst.

But as with our own pictures, where most of the time we couldn't believe we were wearing that or using that hair style, old advertising becomes the photo album of us as a society.

If you want to see some more old ads, check also these ones and this postings as well as these TV commercials.

And if you want to attend the event, “The Real Men and Women of Madison Avenue and Their Impact on American Culture” is at the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library, 188 Madison Avenue, at 34th Street, (212) 592-7000, through Sept. 26.

Or read more about it at the NYT.

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