Monday, October 4, 2010

the first 20,000 years of advertising

I was sorry to miss Ad Week hoopla in New York but was honored by an invitation to go down to Durham and talk advertising to students at Duke. The class I infiltrated is one of the most popular on campus, taught by Professor George Grody, who teaches kids by treating them like mentees, using skills he developed as a longtime exec at Procter and Gamble. As evidenced by off-the-chart scores in the appalling but indispensable Rate My Professor his approach seems to be working.

The class (with its own foursquare location, of course) was an impressive gathering of savvy, articulate students who made me feel better about our industry's future. Here's a little presentation I gave on advertising, past and present. In researching it, I discovered a fun fact: Shakespeare started out as a copywriter writing jingles for his father's glove shop. In those days, guys sent gloves to ladies they were courting and tucked a personal message inside. John Shakespeare's shop was distinguished by having an in-house writer who would, free of charge, ghost a message. One of them survives: "The gift is small. The will is all. Alexander Aspinall." Copywriters, take heart. That banner copy could be just the beginning.


fairuse said...

I love the old posters. Be nice to see more artistic posters in this era, they seem sanitized these days. Different times, different art. My brother is an artist but I am a drafter on the sliding scale of art skills.

Liked the presentation. Bet the students did too.

Tech Q: some images didn't scale in slideshow? - bummer.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Agree with you Fairuse. Amazing to compare the artistry of ye olde posters with those of today, none of which I imagine will be hanging in the Louvre, as Lautrec's ads for Moulin Rouge do.

Sorry about the images fail. For some reason I'm having a hard time getting the mpg's to register. Worked fine in the real world, though. Will keep trying.