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Twenty Ads That Shook the World: The Century's Most Groundbreaking Advertising and How It Changed Us All Paperback – December 26, 2001
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James B. Twitchell's celebration of the greatest 20 hits of the U.S. advertising industry shows how a thoughtful consideration of ads can add up to a fascinating social history. From Lydia Pinkham's patent medicines (said to cure all serious "Female Complaints") to Nike shoes worn by Michael Jordan, Twitchell gives us a quickie history of the ads that hit home and transformed our culture--the ones that "really had the beef," as he puts it. Some of the feats are amazing. The dazzling "Diamonds are forever" campaign managed to take not particularly rare rocks and transform them into sacred amulets practically everyone buys and never sells (which would depress their value). The ads brilliantly used honeymoon scenes by famous artists and swoony copy to woo women, while devoting a corner of each ad to fact-packed boxes reassuring men that diamonds were sound investments priced according to scientific principles. The jujitsu-psychology techniques of the VW Bug and Avis "We Try Harder" get their due, as does the "Does She... or Doesn't She?" ad that convinced women they could color their graying hair with Clairol's new one-step technology. The racy innuendo appealed to people fearing loss of appeal; the presence of young daughters in the pictures neutralized the floozy image dyeing used to have, and the line "Only her hairdresser knows for sure" soothed the salons that were about to lose their business once women figured out they could use Clairol at home.
There are all kinds of cool stories in this breezy book: how Anacin's $8,200 TV spot depicting a hammer in the headache sufferer's head earned $36 million; how Coke remade Santa literally in its own artist's image; how LBJ beat Goldwater partly because of a single 30-second ad featuring a girl resembling the murder victim in Frankenstein plucking and counting daisy petals while an announcer counts down to a nuclear blast that reminded voters of Goldwater's speeches about nuking Vietnam and made them forget the war was LBJ's fault in the first place. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
If Twitchell doesn't prove his thesis that these 20 advertisements became part of the lingua franca and changed the way we look at the world, his lavishly illustrated, breezily entertaining survey does score some solid points. The jolly old Santa Claus known from countless images did not spring from folklore, according to Twitchell, but was invented in the 1920s by the Coca-Cola Co. in its annual Christmas ads (pre-Coke Santas were severe-looking and sometimes wore multicolored suits). Ads for Pears's soap, aimed at Victorian England's upper classes, borrowed an artifact of high cultureAa portrait painted by John Everett Millais called "A Child's World"Athus forever blurring the boundary between art and advertising. De Beers Mines' half-century-long campaign helped make diamonds an instrument of romantic love. Twitchell, whose books on advertising include Adcult USA and Carnival Culture, serves up colorful slices of American advertising history, from a P.T. Barnum circus poster (1879) to turn-of-the-last-century patent medicine ads (peddling nonpatented potions heavily laced with alcohol, opium or cocaine) and Lyndon Johnson's 1964 attack ad against Barry Goldwater, "the most compressed and noxious political ad ever made," which featured a little girl's face disappearing into an atomic mushroom cloud and never mentioned Goldwater at all. Still, it's hard to see how Apple's 1984 commercial, or Michael Jordan's Nike spots, or ads for the VW bug, Absolut vodka or Marlboros did much to change the perceptual universe. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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