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Meet Mr. Product: The Art of the Advertising Character Paperback – Bargain Price, February 1, 2003


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Paperback, Bargain Price, February 1, 2003
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811835898
  • ASIN: B0009EG4UM
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,492,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Warren Dotz and Masud Husain invite you to Meet Mr. Product"
--Vanity Fair

"Engaging"
--Forbes

"A great place to get ideas"
--Fast Company

"Lively and clear" "Every one of the peppy, bizarre, ever-confident crew comes across with the impact of blazing neon light"
--NPR --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Warren Dotz is a pop culture historian, collector, and author of five books on American advertising, including What a Character! An authority on product-label art, his commentary has appeared in Advertising Age, Brandweek, and the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Berkeley, California. Masud Husain is a graphic designer and principal of Studio West Design in San Francisco.

More About the Author

WARREN DOTZ is an author of award-winning, graphic design books published by American and foreign imprints such as Random House, Chronicle Books, Insight Editions and Graphic Sha Japan.

A theme common to his publications is the "Art of Commerce," particularly package label and promotional illustration. As a pop culture historian with a special interest in brand spokes-characters, his commentary has also appeared in notable publications such as Advertising Age, Brandweek and the New York Times Magazine. Artifacts from Warren's collections have been displayed in exhibitions in San Francisco and Japan and many of his books can be found in museum gift shops such as The Museum of Modern Art and Centre Pompidou, Paris. Warren lives and works in San Francisco and New York City.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on May 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Fans of Americana and pop culture are in for a treat when they get this book. In this admittedly small (but almost an inch thick) book there are five hundred+ ad characters (actually more like seven hundred if multiples are included). Divided into eight chapters, Food, Drinks, Kids' stuff, Dining, Technology, Autos, Home and finally Personal and Leisure, they are all in color, captioned and dated. All the well-known characters are included but also many who had a regional existence, like Mr Clean-Up, the 1946 St. Louis Chamber of Commerce antilitter campaigner, or Waddle's Duckling, a 1959 icon from the Portland, Oregon restaurant.

Warren Dotz writes a short intro and explains how companies realised that these characters would bring huge concerns down to human scale, especially if they became half human and half product and always with that smiling face. A useful companion book is 'What a Character', also by the author and it shows many 'Mr Product' icons as three-dimensional figurines, thus reinforcing customer brand loyalty further.

Visually the book is a delight to look at, thanks to the design by the author and Masud Husain. Handling this kind of material is a challenge because of all the different shapes and colors but here many of the characters are whole page or four to a page and a nice touch is to show them in the context of an ad, brochure cover or a packet front. I don't think the book could look any better.

BTW: I think the paper could have been just a bit thinner for ease of handling and an index would have been useful. Oh, and I was disappointed that Mad magazine wraparound cover painting (by Norman Mingo) of issue thirty-five (October 1957) was not reproduced somewhere, it was most likely the only time that dozens of copyright ad characters where used on a magazine cover.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Lundin on July 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Tons of product logos here, with the bulk of them from the 30s to the 70s. These are reproduced very well, and each of them is dated and carries a two-line description of their purpose and company origin. There are a few pages of introductory front matter that summarize the history of product logos, but the meat of the book is taken up by the graphics, with anywhere from one to four logos per page. I didn't know there were so many anthropomorphic logos, among them Mr. Coffee Nerves, Mr. Dee-Lish, Mr. TV Tube, Phillips Screw Man, Johnny-One-Note, Miss My-T-Fine, Miss Fluffy Rice and Mr. Weatherball. Many of them you'll recognize, and some of them you won't, but all of them will delight you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Erickson on June 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
A fascinating foray into the sometimes clever, sometimes idiotic, occasionally just plain bizarre (Mr. TV Tube? Dunkie Donut-Head? Phillips Screw Man??) world of advertising characters. Anybody obsessed with kitschy pop culture, especially that of the 50's and 60's, will want this one. You get all the cartoon mascots you've ever seen on "retro" t-shirts at your local Hot Topics, plus hundreds more of varying degrees of obscurity. Indeed there was a period when designers would simply draw a smiley face on a cog and call it "Mr. Cog," and you see a lot of that here, often in hilariously weird contexts - lawn spinkler heads, pistons, the state of Nevada, a sock, all grinning amiably at you as they pitch themselves. You've got your cartoon pigs voraciously devouring pork rinds, your cigarette boxes with showgirl legs, your anthropomorphic donuts, and robots robots robots. A book like this not only takes you through a wide range of illustration styles, it hints at what life was like in those days, those "simpler times" (though it's arguable how much we've really changed). What better window into American psychology in the 20th century than the commercial devices by which we've been beguiled into consuming? Aunt Jemima has stories to tell on you.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AnotherMusicExpert on October 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
The compilers have done a wonderful job; the layouts are absolutely marvelous, a real pleasure to flip through, great retro colors used, and should be an essential addition to the collection of anyone who enjoys 50s & 60s graphics.
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By Buffy on March 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off check the book's dimensions, it's about 5.5 inches by 6 inches. So it's a little small in size but there are a lot of glossy color pages so you definitely get a lot of material. On some pages there are 4 items to a page. Reproduction is good, paper is nice. Overall this was a good value.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Baarbarian on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have found this collection of advertising characters indispensable as reference. A brief history of the subject matter is included and reads well. The lack of an index is perplexing, and given the occupations of its authors the cover design should have been a little more proficient. Otherwise it is well worth a look or two or three.
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