The Lost Art of Advertising

More Bombs In Ads

Advertising as much as anything desires to trigger a chemical reaction in you. In the add on the left, it’s testosterone — get mad, get even.

On the right, emotions flood your body as Lady Liberty appeals to you with patriotism, money, war and even sensuality.


I Want You, With A Finger

Did you know that the famous American I Want You? poster was inspired by (um, a ripoff of) a British recruiting poster from the same Great War? The story behind the original is interesting. It depicts Lord Kitchener, British Secretary of War. Standing 6’2″ and a veteran of the hard-fought Boer War, Kitchener points his gloved finger pointing at the reader. The Direct Address: Britons. (Desired response: Oh, they’re talking to me). Then the Image of Kitchener, with no attribution; he was recognizable throughout the country) with “Wants you”. The quotes are in odd spots; in today’s usage, they would have gone before the image so it read Lord Kitchener Wants You. “Join Your Country’s Army” and God Save the King. It was a hugely successful recruitment drive, with hundreds of thousands of young men joining his Country’s Army.

I think Pres. Trump would like himself in this poster. In fact, I think he has this entire illustration painted on his bathroom mirror, except for the part where his face goes.

  1. This WWI British Recruiting poster is the ur-Finger Pointing recruiting poster of them all, including the U.S. one with Uncle Sam.
  2. JM Flagg inserted his own grizzly visage into Uncle Sam, which he ripped off of the British original from a few years’ earlier.
  3. Missing the golf glove; otherwise, a nice mashup of the British & American versions.
Kitchner WWI Wants You war recruiting posterFlagg Uncle Same I Want You PosterTrump I Want You

Remember The Maine!

It’s long been alleged that the US blew up its own ship, the Maine, in Havana Harbor as a pretext for starting the Spanish-American War. The war posters soon followed, rallying Americans around the flag in a trumped-up display of liberty. The parallels are similar to the mysteries of the attack in the Gulf of Oman this week. Now the military has to respond with measures “to defend our troops”, who the Executive Office put in harm’s way in the first place. As the dogs of war emerge, the national call on the patriotism-strings in our hearts will follow. Here are some classic war posters.

Happy Bike To Work Day! Did you ride the ride or was it “Yeah… No, I’m not going to do that.” Bike ads were once one of advertising’s largest categories. Can you name the book where valiant knights on bikes came to the rescue? Hint: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain.